Durban (Zulu: eThekwini) is the third most populous city in South Africa, forming part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality (South Africa). It is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal and is famous as the busiest port in Africa. It is also a major centre of tourism due to the city’s warm subtropical climate and beaches. According to the 2007 Community Survey, the city has a population of almost 3.5 million. Durban’s land area of 2,292 square kilometres is comparatively larger than other South African cities, resulting in a somewhat lower population density of 1,513 inhabitants per square kilometre.


1 History
2 Durban today
3 Government and Politics
4 Geography and climate
5 Demographics
6 Economy

6.1 Durban’s economic contribution to the region

7 Tourism
8 Communications and media
9 Sports teams and stadiums
10 Transport

10.1 Air
10.2 Sea
10.3 Rail
10.4 Roads
10.5 Buses
10.6 Taxis
10.7 Rickshaws

11 Educational institutions

11.1 Private schools
11.2 Public schools
11.3 Tertiary institutions

12 References
13 External links


It is thought that the first known inhabitants of the Durban area arrived from the north around 100,000 BC, according to carbon dating of rock art found in caves in the Drakensberg. These people were living in the central plains of KwaZulu-Natal until the expansion of Bantu people from the north sometime during the last millennium.

Little is known of the history of the first residents, as there is no written history of the area before it was first mentioned by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who came to the KwaZulu-Natal coast while searching for a route from Europe to India. He landed on the KwaZulu-Natal coast on Christmas in 1497, and thus named the area “Natal”, or Christmas in Portuguese.

The modern city of Durban dates from 1824, when a party of 25 men under British Lieutenant F. G. Farewell arrived from the Cape Colony and established a settlement on the northern shore of the Bay of Natal, near today’s Farewell Square, Durban|Farewell Square. Accompanying Farewell was an adventurer named Henry Fynn. Fynn was able to befriend the Zulu King Shaka by helping him to recover from a stab wound he suffered in battle. As a token of Shaka’s gratitude, he granted Fynn a “25-mile strip of coast a hundred miles in depth.”

During a meeting of 35 white residents in Fynn’s territory on June 23, 1835, it was decided to build a capital town and name it “d’Urban” after Benjamin d’Urban|Sir Benjamin d’Urban, then governor of the Cape Colony. Voortrekkers established the Republic of Natalia in 1838 just north of Durban, and established a capital at Pietermaritzburg.

Fierce conflict with the Zulu population led to the evacuation of Durban, and eventually the Afrikaners accepted British annexation in 1844 under military pressure. A British governor was appointed to the region and many settlers emigrated from Europe and the Cape Colony. The British established a sugar cane industry in the 1860s. Farm owners had a difficult time attracting Zulu labourers to work on their plantations, so the British brought thousands of indentured labourers from India on five-year contracts. As a result of the importation of Indian labourers, Durban became the largest Asians in South Africa|Asian community in South Africa. Two of Durban’s most noted families the Rotteveels and Fynns still reside there today.

Durban today

Today, Durban is the busiest container port in Africa, the world’s 9th busiest port, and a popular tourist destination. The Golden Mile developed as a welcoming tourist destination in the 1970s, as well as Durban at large, provide ample tourist attractions, particularly for people on holiday from Johannesburg. It lost its international holiday pre-eminence to Cape Town in the 1990s, but remains more popular among domestic tourists. The City still has a large manufacturing economy.

Government and Politics

The mayor of eThekwini is elected for a five year term. Since 1996, the mayor is Obed Mlaba, who was re-elected to his third term in 2006.

Geography and climate

Durban is characterised by a mild sub-tropical climate with warm wet summers and mild moist to dry winters. Frost does not occur in the city. However, due to large altitude variations, some western suburbs get very chilly in the winter. Durban has an annual rainfall of 1,009 millimetres, with daytime maxima peaking from January to March at 28 °C and the minimum is 21 °C, dropping to daytime highs from June to August of 23 °C and the minimum is 11 °C.

The metropolitan area is topographically hilly, with very few flat areas, except in the immediate vicinity of the central business district and the harbour. Hillcrest and Kloof are significantly higher above sea-level, reaching up to 850 metres in the community of Botha’s Hill. Many gorges and ravines are found within the metropolitan area. There is almost no true coastal plain.


Black Africans account for 68.30 percent of the population, followed by Asians or Indians at 19.90 percent, Whites at 8.98 percent and Coloureds at 2.89 percent. 48.9 percent of the population is under the age of 24, while 4.2 percent are over the age of 65. The median age in the city is 25 years old, and for every 100 females, there are 92.5 males. 27.9 percent of city residents are unemployed. 88.6 percent of the unemployed are black, 18.3 percent are Coloureds, 8.2 percent are Asians or Indians, and 4.4 percent are White. (Statistics South Africa Census 2001)

63.04 percent of Durban residents speak Zulu at home, 29.96 percent speak English (roughly representing the Indian and White populations), 3.43 percent speak Xhosa, 1.44 percent speak Afrikaans, 0.7 percent speak Sotho, 0.2 percent speak Ndebele, 0.1 percent speaks Northern Sotho, and 0.93 percent of the population speaks a non-official language at home. 68.0 percent of residents are Christian, 15.5 percent have no religion, 11.3 percent are Hindu, 3.2 percent are Muslim, and 0.1 percent are Jewish. 1.9 percent have other or undetermined beliefs.

10.0 percent of residents aged 20 and over have received no schooling, 13.3 percent have had some primary school, 5.7 percent have completed only primary school, 34.6 percent have had some high school education, 26.8 percent have finished only high school, and 9.6 percent have an education higher than the high school level. Overall, 36.4 percent of residents have completed high school. The median annual income of working adults aged 15-65 is ZAR 20,695. Males have a median annual income of ZAR 24,851 versus ZAR 16,927 for females.


The Durban Metropolitan Area (DMA) has a large and diversified economy with strong manufacturing, tourism, transportation, finance and government sectors. Its coastal location and large port gives it comparative advantage over many other centres in South Africa for export-related industry. Durban’s mild climate, warm marine current and culturally diverse population has also provided a drawcard for tourism to the region.

There has, however, been little growth in the number of jobs provided by DMA’s formal sector over the past 20 years. The manufacturing sector, which is second only to government in the number of jobs provided, has been shedding jobs as firms restructure and become more capital intensive. High rates of crime have become a disincentive to growth in tourism and many other sectors. Despite a dynamic and growing small and micro business sector, the DMA has very high rates of unemployment, reaching over 30% in some areas of the city. There are still few economic opportunities in the former township areas.

The central business district has experienced an economic decline due to crime and grime. Many corporates have relocated due to rampant decentralisation, especially to the Umhlanga area north of the city. This region has become a new central business district near the Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Efforts have recently been made to attract business back to the city, with the new Point development south-east of downtown sporting the new uShaka Marine World and many new residential and leisure developments. It is hoped efforts by the city to clean up the business district, new developments in Point and the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadium north of the CBD (Moses Mabhida Stadium) will aid in the economic turnaround.

Durban’s economic contribution to the region
The Durban Metropolitan Area is the main economic driver in KwaZulu-Natal, contributing over half of the province’s output, employment and income. In national terms, Durban is the second most important economic complex after Gauteng, accounting for 15% of national output, 14% of household income and 11% of national employment. Regional development corridors link Durban northwards to Richards Bay and Maputo, and westward to Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg.


The Golden Mile
Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World
The Victoria Embankment (also known as The Esplanade) is home to many tourist sites.
The Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) – the leading conference centre in Africa for the last 5 years, and rated 4th in the world in 2005.
The Natal Playhouse Theatre Complex
The local history museum
The Maritime Museum
The Tourist Junction
The BAT centre
The Durban Art Gallery
The KZNSA Gallery
The African Art Centre
Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre
Catalina Theatre
Kwasuka Theatre
uShaka Marine World, one of the largest Aquariums in the world.
Sahara Stadium Kingsmead is a major Test cricket|test match and one-day cricket venue.
Kings Park Stadium (Now known as ABSA Stadium) is host to the Internationally renowned Sharks (rugby club)|Sharks Rugby Team.
Botanical Gardens
Umgeni Bird Park
Gateway Theatre of Shopping

Communications and media

Two major English-language daily newspapers are published in Durban, both part of the Independent Newspapers, the national group owned by Irish media magnate Tony O’Reilly. These are the morning editions of “The Mercury” and the afternoon “Daily News”. Like most news media in South Africa, they have seen declining circulations in recent years. Major Zulu language papers comprise “Isolezwe” (Independent Newspapers), “UmAfrika” and “Ilanga”, the latter being seen to be politically aligned to the IFP. Independent Newspapers also publish “Post”, a newspaper aimed largely at the Indian community. A national Sunday paper, the “Sunday Tribune” is also published by Independent Newspapers as is the “Independent on Saturday”.

A variety of free weekly suburban newspapers are published by the Caxton Group and there are numerous “community” newspapers, some of which are short lived and others which have had stable tenure.

A number of lifestyle magazines are published in Durban, some of which have national circulation. A major city initiative is MetroBeat magazine, a colour publication which is sent to some 400,000 households monthly with a readership of over 1.6 million. As a local government publication, it is a unique initiative and rates in the top ten consumer publications in South Africa as far as circulation is concerned.

A major English language radio station, East Coast Radio ([1]), operates out of Durban and is owned by SA media giant Kagiso Media. The national broadcaster, the SABC, has regional offices in Durban and operates two major stations here, the Zulu language “Ukhozi FM” with a huge national listenership of over 5 million, and Radio Lotus, aimed at “Indian” listeners. The other SABC national stations have smaller regional offices here, as does TV for news links and sports broadcasts. There are a number of smaller stations which are independent, having been granted licences by ICASA, the national agency charged with the issue of broadcast licences.

Although advertising agencies and communications companies here are smaller than in Gauteng province, where most national corporate head offices are located, there is a full complement of services on offer to support retail trade and other sectors of the marketplace.

Sports teams and stadiums

Durban is home to two closely related rugby union teams, the Natal Sharks, who compete in the domestic Currie Cup competition, and the Sharks, who compete in the international Super 14 competition. Both teams play out of the 56,000 capacity Kings Park Stadium – currently known also as the ABSA Stadium for sponsorship reasons.

The city is also home to three clubs in the Premier Soccer League—AmaZulu F.C., Thanda Royal Zulu and the Golden Arrows. AmaZulu play most of their home games in their own Princess Magogo Stadium, but will take especially important fixtures to ABSA Stadium. Similarly, the Golden Arrows have their own stadium, King Zwelithini Stadium in the suburb of Umlazi, but play their most important matches in ABSA Stadium. Durban used to be home to a fourth team, Manning Rangers, who won several honours including the league championship.

Durban is also host to the Dolphins, the provincial cricket team. Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener and Barry Richards all come from the Dolphins (although it was formally called Natal). Cricket in Durban is played at Kingsmead Cricket Ground.
Durban is one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and is the host of an A1GP motor race, driven on a street track. It is rumoured that Durban will bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The city is home to Greyville Racecourse, a major Thoroughbred horse racing venue which annually hosts a number of prestigious races including the country’s premier event, the Durban July Handicap, and the premier staying event in South Africa, the Greyville Gold Cup. Another well-equipped Racecourse is located at Clairwood, just south of the city centre and not far from Durban International Airport.

A professional Tennis venue is located at Westridge Park near The Berea, and an Olympic-standard swimming pool is found in the Kings Park Sporting Precinct. In addition to these venues, Durban has facilities for Water Polo, Hockey, and other sports, most notably the outstanding beach front which has played host to numerous water sports events such as the Gunston 500 surfing competition and the related Ocean Action festival. Beach volleyball is regularly played on local beaches and Powerboat racing has taken place in the Harbour. Durban and surrounding areas are also well patronised by Professional and Amateur golfers, with the golf course at Durban Country Club near the CBD being particularly well-known.


Durban International Airport services both domestic and international flights, with regularly-scheduled service to Swaziland, Mozambique, and Mauritius. The airport handled four million passengers in 2005, up over 15 percent from 2004. Plans are at an advanced stage for the construction of a new airport, to be known as King Shaka International Airport, at La Mercy, north of the Central Business District, and 15 kilometres north of Umhlanga Rocks. The airport serves as a major gateway for travellers to KwaZulu-Natal and the Drakensberg.

Durban has a long tradition as a port city. The Port of Durban, which was formerly known as the Port of Natal, is one of the few natural harbours between Port Elizabeth and Maputo, and is also located at the beginning of a particular weather phenomenon which can cause extremely violent seas. These two features made Durban an extremely busy port of call for ship repairs when the port was opened in the 1840s. The Port of Durban is now the busiest port in South Africa, as well as the busiest container port in the Southern Hemisphere.

The modern Port of Durban grew around trade from Johannesburg, as the industrial and mining capital of South Africa is not located on any navigable body of water. Thus, products being shipped from Johannesburg outside of South Africa have to be loaded onto trucks or railways and transported to Durban. The Port of Maputo was unavailable for use until the early 1990s due to civil war and an embargo against South African products. There is now an intense rivalry between Durban and Maputo for shipping business.

Salisbury Island, now joined to the mainland and part of the Port of Durban, was formerly a full navy|naval base until it was downgraded in 2002. It now contains a naval station and other military facilities. The future of the base, however, is uncertain, as there is increasing demand to use Salisbury Island as part of the port facilities.

Durban is well-served by railways due to its role as the largest trans-shipment point for goods from the interior of South Africa. Shosholoza Meyl, the passenger rail service of Spoornet, operates two long-distance passenger rail services from Durban: a daily service to and from Johannesburg via Pietermaritzburg, and a weekly service to and from Cape Town via Kimberley, South Africa|Kimberley and Bloemfontein. These trains terminate at Durban Railway Station.

Metrorail operates a commuter rail service in Durban and the surrounding area. The Metrorail network runs from Durban Station outwards as far as Stanger on the north coast, Kelsoon the south coast, and Cato Ridge inland.

One National Roads in South Africa|national road starts in Durban and one passes through it: N3, the busiest national road in South Africa, which links Durban with Johannesburg; and the N2, which links Durban with East London and Port Elizabeth before ending in Cape Town. The N3 is particularly important as goods are moved by truck from Johannesburg to be shipped out of the Port of Durban. The N3 starts in the Central Business District, and interchanges with the N2 at the Westville Four-Level Interchange, officially known as the E. B. Cloete Interchange, which is informally nicknamed the Spaghetti Junction due to the complicated nature of the interchange. The N2 runs through the entire city from north to south, and is known locally as the “Outer Ring Road”.

Durban also has a system of freeway and dual carriageway M-roads, which connect different parts of the city. The M4 exists in two segments: The northern segment starts as an undivided highway at Ballito—where it separates from the N2—passing through Umdloti, Umhlanga Rocks, becoming a dual carriageway just south of that town, and ending at the northern edge of the Durban CBD. The southern segment of the M4 starts at the southern edge of the CBD, connecting it with Durban International Airport, where it reconnects with the N2. The M7 connects the N2 and the Durban South Industrial Basin with the N3 and Pinetown via Queensburgh. The M19 connects the N2 with Pinetown via Westville. The M13 acts as an alternative to the N3, which is tolled at Mariannhill, as well as feeds traffic through Gillitts, Kloof and Westville.

Remant Alton, which bought the recently privatised eThekwini Municipal Bus Company, operates scheduled bus services throughout the Durban metropolitan area. Remant Alton is barely functional, has lost key individuals, suffered the loss of 56 buses in a fire, and had many of the remainder impounded due to unroadworthiness. This has left Durban with a poorly functioning formal public transport system. Several companies run long-distance bus services from Durban to the other cities in South Africa.

Durban has two kinds of taxis: metered taxis and minibus taxis. Unlike many cities, metered taxis are not allowed to drive around the city to solicit fares and instead must be called and ordered to a specific location.

There are a number of companies which service the Durban and surrounding regions. These taxis can also be called upon for airport transfers, point to point pick ups and shuttles.

Minibus taxis are the standard form of transport for the majority of the population who cannot afford private cars. Although essential, these taxis are often poorly maintained, and are frequently not roadworthy. These taxis make frequent unscheduled stops to pick up passengers, which cause accidents when drivers to the rear are unable to stop in time. With the high demand for transport by the working class of South Africa, minibus taxis are often filled over their legal passenger allowance, making for high casualty rates when minibuses are involved in accidents. Minibuses are generally owned and operated in fleets, and inter-operator violence flares up from time to time, especially as Taxi wars in South Africa|turf wars over lucrative taxi routes occur.

Colourful rickshaws on Durban’s beachfrontDurban is also famous for its iconic Zulu Rickshaw pullers navigating throughout the city. These colourful characters are famous for their giant, vibrant hats and costumes. Although they have been a mode of transportation since the early 1900s, they mostly cater to tourists.

Educational institutions

Private schools
Al-Falaah College
Clifton School
Eden College
Crawford College, La Lucia
Crawford College, North Coast
Deutsche Schule Durban
Durban Girls’ College
Highbury Preparatory School
Hillcrest Christian Academy
Holy Family College
Kearsney College
St Henry’s Marist Brothers’ College
Maris Stella School
Orient Islamic School
St. Mary’s D.S.G.
Thomas More College
Roseway Waldorf School
Star College

Public schools
Atholton Primary School
Avoca Primary School
Avoca Secondary School
Bonela Primary School
Carrington Primary School
Chatsworth High School
Chelsea Preparatory School
Durban Girls’ High School
Durban High School
Durban North College
Effingham Primary School
Effingham Secondary School
Foresthaven Secondary
Gelofte High School
George Campbell School of Technology
Glenwood High School
Hillcrest High School
Isipingo Secondary
John Dube High School
Kloof High School
Kloof Junior Primary School
Kloof Pre Primary School
Kloof Senior Primary School
Mowat Park High School
Mzuvele Secondary School
New Forest High School
Northlands Girls’ High School
Northwood School
NqabakaZulu Comprehensive High School
Open Air School
Parlock Primary School
Pinetown Boys’ High School
Port Natal High School
Ridge Park College
Sastri College
Sibonelo High School
Sivananda Technical College and High School
Virginia Preparatory School
Westville Boys’ High School
Westville Girls’ High School
Wingen Heights Secondary School
Werda High School
Zakhe High School
Zeph Dlomo High School

Tertiary institutions
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban University of Technology


Municipal Demarcation Board
Independent Electoral Commission 2004 election results
FallingRain Map – elevation = 46 m

External links

Official Durban city website
Durban harbour

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