General Facts about Durban

About 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).

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.

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 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.



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


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


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


  • Amanzimtoti
  • Isipingo Beach
  • Umlazi


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

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.


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.

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

The 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 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.
Durban Sports

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.


  • 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
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