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Durban

Delightful Durban is the largest city of the vast and varied KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The city is set on Natal Bay and benefits from year-round warm waters making it one of South Africa's top vacation spots. Durban is also one of Africa's busiest and most important ports. Durban is a sophisticated cosmopolitan city of over three million people, a city where east meets west, a city beneath which beats the pulse of Africa - city known as the home of Africa's best managed, busiest port.

Although much of Durban is characterised by British colonial heritage and beautiful Art Deco architecture, the city is actually an exciting mix of cultures. There is a large Indian community, descendants of indentured labourers who came to work on the Natal sugar estates in the 1850s, and who provide the city with an intoxicating oriental flavour enhanced by their shrines, bazaars and tantalising curry restaurants. There are also the Zulu people, whose proud warrior ancestors inhabited the province before the coming of the European colonial powers. The heritage of the amaZulu is very evident in the region north of the Tugela River, known as Zululand, where the legendary King Shaka once ruled supreme and today is where most of KwaZulu-Natal's best game parks are to be found.

Durban is an exciting city in which to play, shop, experience the nightlife and to relax. It's a city in which business and debate issues, which have far-reaching effects, not only on Africa but way beyond its borders, are discussed. The world-class International Convention Centre Durban has hosted an historic line-up of events including conferences of a global scale. Durban is the gateway not only to the coastal beach resorts of the province, but also to the rolling hills and plains of the Natal Midlands and their backdrop: the majestic, jagged peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains, which border the province in the west and cradle the nearby mountain kingdom of Lesotho.

Durban is a thriving industrial centre, supporting a major seaport, and a year-round holiday destination. Industries include shipbuilding and ship repairing, sugar refining, petroleum refining, fishing, automobile assembly and the manufacture of food products, paint, chemicals, fertilizers, soap, footwear and textiles. Durban's cultural attractions are perhaps its most appealing diversions. There are Zulu cultural villages to visit, township tour and visits to mosques or the beautiful Temple of Understanding, which has an excellent, inexpensive vegetarian restaurant. Durban is in the middle of a vast sugar-growing area that was originally worked by indentured labourers from India, many of whom stayed, started businesses and built homes. There is a vibrant Eastern feel to the city, a huge spice market, decorative mosques, fantastic temples and - best of all - great food. You'll find dozens of good curry restaurants and you just have to try a bunny chow while you're there. It's a half or quarter loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with curry. Eaten with the hands in the street, it's an obligatory Durban experience. There's lots to do in and around Durban City. Many people just park off on the beach, especially on the North Coast, or South Coast, both of which are within an hour's drive of the city, and there are loads of restaurants, some excellent theatre and music, and wild and funky nightlife.

Durban is a thriving industrial centre, supporting a major seaport, and a year-round holiday destination. Industries include shipbuilding and ship repairing, sugar refining, petroleum refining, fishing, automobile assembly and the manufacture of food products, paint, chemicals, fertilizers, soap, footwear and textiles. Durban's cultural attractions are perhaps its most appealing diversions. There are Zulu cultural villages to visit, township tour and visits to mosques or the beautiful Temple of Understanding, which has an excellent, inexpensive vegetarian restaurant. Durban is in the middle of a vast sugar-growing area that was originally worked by indentured labourers from India, many of whom stayed, started businesses and built homes. There is a vibrant Eastern feel to the city, a huge spice market, decorative mosques, fantastic temples and - best of all - great food. You'll find dozens of good curry restaurants and you just have to try a bunny chow while you're there. It's a half or quarter loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with curry. Eaten with the hands in the street, it's an obligatory Durban experience. There's lots to do in and around Durban City. Many people just park off on the beach, especially on the North Coast, or South Coast, both of which are within an hour's drive of the city, and there are loads of restaurants, some excellent theatre and music, and wild and funky nightlife.

Summers in Durban (December to February) are hot and humid, and very sunny. Temperatures frequently rise above 30C / 86F. The winter climate, between June and August, is characterized by mild or even warm temperatures. Indeed, winter temperatures during the day are often in excess of 20C / 68F. Durban is rarely bothered by rain during the winter. The months between autumn and spring are seen by many as the best time to visit Durban and the surrounding area, as temperatures tend to be a little lower than in the summer.

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