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Durban Fact Files

EthekweniAbout Durban

Durban (Zulu: eThekwini) is the third most populous city in South Africa, forming part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality.

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 had a population of almost 3.5 million. Durban's land area of 2,292 square kilometres (884.9 sq miles) is comparatively larger than other South African cities, resulting in a somewhat lower population density of 1,513 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,918.7/sq mile).

Arial View Of DurbanToday Durban is a busy city.

Being a coastal city, Durban is constantly affected by the warm sea current flowing down its coastline. The coast to the north and south of Durban enjoys beautiful beaches and warm water with high humidity. One of the most powerful currents in the world is the Agulhas Current, which travels southward, down the Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal shoreline.

Surfing is one of the primary activities on the many beaches, where you will find the Surf Lifesavers with several signs demarcating safe swimming areas. Angling and boating are also very popular activities.

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.

History Of Durban
The Portuguese seafarer Vasco da Gama arrived at the bay of the Durban of today, on Christmas Eve, in the year 1497, and called it "Terra do Natal", Christmas Country. Because the Portuguese had already established a good port at Maputo, they were not interested in settling in a bay surrounded by mangrove swamps and dense coastal forests.

Sporadically some pirates and ivory or slave dealers laid anchor, and it was much later, in the year 1824, that a proper settlement started, initially named "Port Natal". Vasco De Gama

It was founded by merchants from the Cape Colony under the leadership of Henry Francis Fynn, who had reached a contractual agreement with the mighty Zulu King Shaka authorising them to establish a trading station. In 1835 the town was named Durban after the Cape Governor of the time, Sir Benjamin D'Urban.

Henry F. FynnIn the beginning the settlement developed very slowly. There was no support or protection by the British government. The life in the little harbour town was characterised by uncertainty. Time and again there were assaults and skirmishes by the Zulus, who - obviously - saw Natal as their tribal homeland and only tolerated the white settlers, because the town was of use to them as a trading station.

In 1837 the Voortrekkers arrived in Natal. A delegation lead by Piet
Henry F. Fynn

Retief negotiated a contract with Zulu King Dingaan granting them the land between Durban and the Tugela river to found a Boer Republic in Natal. Then, shortly afterwards, Dingaan had the entire delegation killed. After several more bloody assaults and attacks, the Voortrekkers defeated the Zulus in the dramatic Battle at the Bloodriver. Subsequently the Afrikaners founded their Republic "Natalia" and laid claim on Durban, which, however, met with strong resistance from the British. They sent troops to Durban, who were defeated in the Battle of Congella in 1842. In the following year the English could secure their dominance in Natal. The Voortrekkers resorted to trekking further north and found a new home in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. In 1844, Natal, together with Durban, was incorporated into the British Cape Colony.

Durban was now set to become one of the most important seaports of the British Empire. Particularly significant was the boom of the sugarcane industry in Natal towards the end of the 19th century. Durban's seaport became the largest sugar terminal in the world.


Durban Today
Today, more than 4 million people live in the metropolitan area of Durban. The city is - after Johannesburg - the second-largest in South Africa. Durban disposes of extensive industrial areas and the biggest seaport in South Africa.

Durban CityDurban is the busiest container port in Africa, 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.

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

Fact File

• Established: 1835

• Estimated Population: 3,468,086 (2007), Density - 1,513/km²
• Area: 2,291.89 km²
• Literacy: 84.6%
• Government: Republic
• Points of interest: Durban Waterfront is host to many events, including the annual and prestigious Mr. Price Pro Surfing Championship; The City Hall, which was completed in 1910; The old station which currently houses Tourist Junction and was built in 1892; Elephant House at 745 Ridge Road, which is the oldest house in Durban having been built in 1850.

Being situated on the south-eastern seaboard of South Africa, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban is adjacent to the Indian Ocean in the east, and is bordered by the Drakensberg Mountains in the west and to the south lies the Atlantic Ocean.

Durban is characterized 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 (39.7 in), with daytime maxima peaking from January to March at around 28 °C (82 °F) and the minimum is about 21 °C (70 °F), dropping to daytime highs from June to August of 23 °C (73 °F) and the minimum is 11 °C (52 °F).

Weather averages for Durban

Durban Weather Chart

(Source: South African Weather Service (Note: These climate records are for the period 1961-1990.) [4] 2008-01-04)

The metropolitan area is topographically hilly, with very few flat areas, except in the immediate vicinity of the central business district and the harbor. The western suburbs of Hillcrest and Kloof are significantly higher above sea-level, reaching up to 850 metres (2,789 ft) 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.

63.04 percent of Durban residents speak Zulu at home, 29.96 percent speak English (roughly representing the Indian, Coloured 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.

Arial View of Durban

The central business district has experienced an economic decline due to crime and grime. Many corporates have relocated, due to rampant de-centralisation, 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 Mabidha 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.

Informal sector

Cops(Police disperse a demonstration against Durban Mayor Obed Mlaba by the Shackdwellers' Movement (Abahlali baseMjondolo)

The inability of the formal sector of the economy to provide sufficient employment opportunities for Durban's growing population, has led to the development of a fast growing informal sector. It is thought that about 16% of the labour force is active in the informal sector. Very few people in the informal sector appear to be involved in manufacturing activities. Most people provide services for low pay (such as domestic work) followed by trading, catering and accommodation. It is expected that future growth will occur in the trading sector. There are some 20,000 street traders in Durban, including a Muthi Trade of regional importance. There have been major clashes between street traders and the police. After one such clash 500 street traders were arrested.

A shack dwellers' movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, that draws most of its membership from this sector, has begun to vigorously contest the city's treatment of the poor and, in particular, its refusal to provide services to shack settlements and the ongoing illegal evictions, in which people are either left homeless or forcibly removed to the urban periphery of the city. A number of its members have laid charges against the police, alleging illegal arrests, assaults, evictions and, in E-Section Umlazi and the Siyanda shack settlement, police killings. Police violence has been prominently covered in the international media and a number of church leaders have publicly sided with the movement in its opposition to the Municipality.

• The Golden Mile

• Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World
• The Victoria Embankment (also known as The Esplanade) is home to many tourist sites.
• The International Convention Centre (ICC) - the leading conference centre in Africa for the last 5 years, and rated 4th in the world in 2005.
• uShaka Marine World, one of the largest Aquariums in the world.
• Sahara Stadium Kingsmead is a major test match and one-day cricket venue.
• Kings Park Stadium (Now known as ABSA Stadium) is host to the Internationally renowned Sharks Rugby Team.
• 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 newsmedia 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, 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.

SharksThe city is also home to three clubs in the Premier Soccer League - AmaZulu, 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 venue, which annually hosts a number of prestigious races, including the country's premier event, the July Handicap, and the premier staying event in South Africa, the 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, about 36 kilometres (22 ml) north of the Central Business District, and 15 kilometers 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 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 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, Kelso on the south coast, and Cato Ridge inland.

One national road starts in Durban and one passes through it: The 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 Highway

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 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.

Tour Busses

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 road-worthy.


Taxis South Africa

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 turf wars over lucrative taxi routes occur.


Durban 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.


Rickshaws durban kwazulu natal south africa

: Asherville • Berea • The Bluff • Cato Manor • Glenwood • Mayville • Morningside, Durban • Overport • Queensburgh • Sydenham • Yellowwood Park

Northern : Chatsworth • Durban North • KwaMashu • Mount Edgecombe • Phoenix • Umdloti • Umhlanga

Western : Botha's Hill • Cowies Hill • Gillitts • Hillcrest • Kloof • New Germany • Pinetown • Westville • Winston Park • Shallcross

Southern : Amanzimtoti • Isipingo Beach • Umlazi

Other : Bellair • Montclair • Reservoir Hills • Rossburgh • Umbilo • Woodhaven • Woodlands

Educational institutions

Private schools

• Al-Falaah College
• Clifton School
• Eden Girls' College, South Africa
• 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
• Arena Park Secondary School
• Atholton Primary School
• Avoca Primary School
• Avoca Secondary School
• Bonela Primary School
• Carrington Primary School
• Chatsworth High School
• Chelsea Preparatory School
• Crystalpiont Secondary School
• Daleview Secondary School
• Durban Girls' High School (DGHS)
• Durban High School (DHS)
• Durban North College
• Effingham Primary School
• Effingham Secondary School
• Foresthaven Secondary
• Gelofte High School
• George Campbell School of Technology
• Glenwood High School
• Greenbury Secondary School
• Greenheights Primary School
• Hillcrest High School
• Isipingo Secondary School[11]
• 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
• Palmcroft Primary School, Phoenix.
• 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
• Stanmore Secondary School
• Virginia Preparatory School[12]
• Westville Boys' High School
• Westville Girls' High School
• Wingen Heights Secondary School
• Werda High School
• Zakhe High School
• Zeph Dlomo High School
• Zwelibanzi High School

Tertiary institutions
• University of KwaZulu-Natal
• Durban University of Technology

Arial View Durban Kwazulu Natal South Africa

- KwaZulu-Natal.co.za - Guide to Accommodation, Shopping Centers, Businesses.