Tourist Activities in Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal Province

While we promise to provide you with an exciting scientific programme, you need to make sure that in your planning to travel to Durban, you extend your stay beyond the days of the conference, to enjoy some truly African experience and hospitality.

The city of Durban is a major metropole, with over 6 million residents, the second largest city in the country, the largest and busiest port on the African continent and southern hemisphere and a major tourist destination. It is steeped in history, with the meeting of people from across colonial divides since the 16th century. The landing of the Portuguese explorer, Vasco Da Gama on Christmas Day in 1497 in the natural harbour, providing the enduring name “Natal”. The land of the Zulu, emerging from the unification of the various groups of indigenous people over the next few centuries laid the foundations for the ongoing land contestation between colonialists and the indigenous people. Durban derives its name from Benjamin D’Urban, an English Governor during British rule. The British sugar barons seeking labourers for their new plantations brought across indentured workers from their other colony India, creating the largest grouping of people of Indian origin outside the Indian sub-continent in Durban.

Clearly a place of history………..but also with interesting tourist paths to travel…..(

A visit to the Valley of a Thousand Hills…..a short, but interesting drive out of the city confines, with beautiful rolling hills. Enjoy walks, lunch and traditional dancing at the small coffee shops and villages along the way. The Valley plays host to some of the most novel approaches to “community oriented primary care” evolved by the public health pioneers, Sidney and Emily Kark, children of Lithuanian refugees, who, in engaging with local communities in the Valley, developed back in the 50’s and 60’s what still remains a public health goal.

On the doorsteps of your hotel (if you’re staying at the beachfront!),  or a few minutes walk outside the city centre are the wonderful Durban beaches. Durban and its surrounding coastline boast seven “Blue Flag” beaches – the internationally awarded status for those beaches meeting safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards. The one on Durban’s beachfront is the uShaka Beach, with others a short drive south of the city at Hibberdene, Ramsgate, Umzumbe, Southgate. If surfing is your idea of fun, then uShaka is the place to be, with greatwaves waiting!

On the other hand, if you prefer scuba diving, Aliwal Shoal is where you want to head for – about 30 minutes south of Durban. (








If you prefer something more touristy and indoors, try the uShaka Marine World   (http://www. The uShaka Marine World is an entertainment venue housing Sea World, Wet ’n ’Wild World and uShaka Beach. It hosts Africa’s biggest marine theme park with the biggest collection of sharks in the southern hemisphere, a seal stadium, a dolphinarium, and the 5th largest aquarium in the world.

The province, KwaZulu-Natal boasts two World Heritage Sites.

Giving yourself a little more time, a three hour drive west will take you to the Drakensberg/uKhahlamba World Heritage Site – our wonderful mountain range, with several options, from day trips to longer visits. There are great day hikes to overnight hikes, from luxury to rustic accommodation options (, trout fishing, horse riding and birdwatching, all in one location!

Three hours north of Durban, takes you to another of our World Heritage Sites, the St. Lucia/iSimangaliso Wetlands ( 

When visiting Lake St. Lucia, you have little choice but to visit our Umfolozi/Hluhluwe Game Park. This historic park was responsible for the saving of the black rhino several decades ago. Today, once again on the verge of extinction through poaching, the Game Park is leading the struggle to save this beast. The park includes elephants, hippo, lions and leopards, among the varied species of buck


So, apart from the promise of a great conference, many more reasons to be in Durban in May 2020!

The following tour operators have created special conference packages for conference participants:

Your hotel will be able to suggest names of other tour operators.

The official local government tourism agency (Durban Tourism ( also organizes short tours. The site also provides useful tourism information – well worth a visit. Similarly, the provincial government tourism agency (KZN Tourism ( provides information about the province. KZN Tourism will have desk at the Conference venue to assist you with your planning.

We are working on cheaper informal tourist options – so stay in contact with the Conference Organisers if you are interested in these!

Museums and Cultural Tour

Durban has a variety of museums capturing its diverse history and culture. We hope to visit some of these during our Museum Tour prior to the start of the conference. This may have great interest for all our participants generally, but certainly our history colleagues! Why not take a virtual tour (, and if there are some which particularly interest you, we can endeavour to include onto our schedule.

In addition to this, the University houses several historical library archives that we can visit. The Killie Campbell Collection ( and the Don Africana ( are examples.