We’ve created lists of family-friendly things to do with kids in both Cape Town and Joburg, and now it’s Durban’s turn. Whether you’re road tripping down to Durban for a seaside holiday or simply need to get out of the house, we’ve got a long list of fun things you and the kids can do this weekend.
Museums and galleries in Durban
Situated in the old Native Administration Department on Bram Fischer Road is the KwaMuhle Museum, which gives visitors a window into apartheid from the perspective of Durban’s residents. The exhibits were developed to show how Durban has changed as a city and how the different cultures of the area interacted with one another. Entrance to the museum is free.
Find out more: durbanhistorymuseums.org.za; 031 311 2237
Cato Manor Heritage Centre
The exhibits at the Cato Manor Heritage Centre focus on the history of forced removals that took place in the area under apartheid. It’s a sobering display of our past and well worth the visit. Be sure to stop by the award-winning uMkhumbane Museum in Cato Manor. This new exhibition space is the first step in reviving the Cato Manor area and provides more space to display the area’s heritage. Entrance to the Cato Manor Heritage Centre is free.
Find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org; 031 261 3216
Durban Natural Science Museum
You might feel you’ve stepped into a scene from Night at the Museum when you visit this natural science museum. Stand beneath a life-size reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus rex and come face-to-face with an Egyptian mummy. These are just some of the many exciting treasures and wonders tucked away in Durban’s City Hall.
Find out more: 031 311 2242
Hikes and picnic spots in Durban
Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve
Considered a national monument, this nature reserve is one of the largest collections of mangroves in Durban. Located at the mouth of the Umgeni River, this forest is a great place to take a wander along a marked trail and pick out the red, white and black mangroves while spotting some of the reserve’s residents. Keep your eyes peeled for mudskipper fish and fiddler crabs. Entrance to the reserve is free.
Find out more: 083 293 3611
7. Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve
At just under 2km, even inexperienced hikers will think this trail is a cake walk. The reserve is only 26 hectares, but is home to a wetland and over 200 species of birds. Wander through the reserve’s dune and coastal forest before arriving at the beach. While on your walk, be sure to keep an eye out for the 500-year-old stinkwood. If you’d like to go on a guided tour, chat to the front desk at the Breakers Hotel.
Find out more: 031 205 1271
Durban Botanic Gardens
Get back to nature while visiting one the oldest botanical garden on the continent. The gardens are home to over 80 heritage trees that have each surpassed their 100th birthday. You’ll also find one of the world’s rarest plants, Wood’s Cycad, as well as a collection of orchids and a palm grove. It’s also a popular venue for outside concerts, so be sure to keep an eye on the Durban Botanic Gardens website for their next event.
Find out more: durbanbotanicgardens.org.za; 031 322 4021
Indoor activities for kids in Durban
Galleria Ice Rink
Feeling a little hot and bothered? Cool off at the Galleria Ice Rink. You can either spend the whole day skating from 10am until 5pm or join the evening session from 7:30pm until 10:30pm. Head to the website to get all the latest pricing information for entrance and skate hire.
Find out more: theicerink.co.za; 031 904-1156
Kings Park Pool
If it’s raining outside, and you and the kids are still keen for a swim, then head to the Kings Park Pool. Directly opposite the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the pool complex offers swimmers the chance to splash about in an Olympic-sized, heated, indoor pool.
Find out more: 031 312 0404
KZN Science Centre
The KZN Science Centre is a perfect trip for the budding inventor, scientist or innovator. Visit the centre and watch as the kids interact with exhibits and experiments designed to teach and amaze them.
Find out more: kznsc.org; 031 408 1012
Bay of Plenty
As a beach with Blue Flag status, the Bay of Plenty is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon. It’s a popular surf, swimming and volleyball spot for beach bums. It’s also packed full of fish for the taking, but fishing times are restricted to certain parts of the day.
Find out more: 031 332 8302
Moses Mabhida Stadium
There’s no need to wait for the next big sporting event so you can visit the Moses Mabhida Stadium. There are loads of activities to do that aren’t soccer related. Take a ride in the SkyCar and travel to the very top of the stadium’s arch and enjoy panoramic views of Durban. Thrill seekers will enjoy the rush of swinging the length of the pitch on the Big Rush Big Swing. If heights are not your thing, then take a tour of the stadium and get an all-access pass to one of Durban’s most iconic structures. The People’s Park surrounds the stadium and is open to the public for picnics and walks. Entrance to the stadium and the People’s Park is free, but for all other activities check the website for the latest prices.
Find out more: mmstadium.com; 031 582 8242
If the summer holidays and heat are getting to you, then cool off at WavePark. The kids can slip and slide down the park’s Supertube Slides, hit the Pumptrax on a bike, learn how to surf on the Flowrider, or spend an afternoon at the Splashpad. After a packed day at the WavePark, we guarantee they’ll sleep soundly come bedtime. Enjoy a full day of Supertube Slides, Inflatable Park, Bungee, Pumptrax and Splash pad area for R120 pp. If you’re not willing to get your feet wet, it’s just R20 pp.
uShaka Marine World
Get up close and personal with the creatures of the ocean at uShaka Marine World. Take in a dolphin show, wander through the aquarium or go on a shark dive at Sea World, or hop on one of the many slides at Wet ‘n Wild. Entrance fees to the park and its different exhibits change depending on the season, so keep an eye on uShaka’s website for the best deals.
Find out more: ushakamarineworld.co.za; 031 328 8000
Mitchell Park Zoo
The Mitchell Park Zoo is home to tortoises, meerkats, raccoons, crocodiles, flamingos and wallabies. The walk-through aviary is packed with all kinds of feathered friends waiting to be spotted, and the manicured lawns offer the perfect setting for a lunchtime picnic. Entrance for adults is just R10 and kids are R7.
Find out more: 031 303 2275
Umgeni River Bird Park
This bird park in Umgeni is home to 200 different species of birds. Take the kids on a walk around the former quarry and spot some amazing colourful wildlife. Be sure to stick around for the bird show as the park’s educational manager will introduce you to an array of feathery friends. Shows take place from Tuesday to Sunday, between 11am and 2pm. There are shows on Mondays but only during school holidays. The park’s fee includes entrance and the bird show. Expect to pay R55 for adults, R36 for kids between the ages of three and 12, and R30 for pensioners.
Find out more: urbp.co.za; 031 579 4600
PheZulu Safari Park
To get to this scenic park, you’ll need to spend just over 30 minutes in the car from Durban. Head on a guided tour and meet Ramesis, a 90-year-old Nile crocodile, as well as Cleo, a Burmese python. If you’re not a fan of reptiles, then take a tour of Zulu culture by visiting the traditional beehive huts of the Gasa clan and watch a Zulu dancing show. You can also book yourself and the family on a game drive to spot giraffe, wildebeest and impala. Visit the park’s website for the latest prices.
Find out more: phezulusafaripark.co.za; 031 777 1205
KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence
Get up close and personal with the Indian Ocean’s scariest inhabitants: sharks. The KZN Sharks Board provides great detailed presentations on why we need these toothy animals and how important they are to our ecosystem. If you and the kids aren’t squeamish, then stick around for a shark dissection.
Find out more: shark.co.za; 031 566 0400