Zulu: eThekwini, from itheku meaning "bay/lagoon", is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. AfterJohannesburg, the Durban Metropolitan Area ranks second among the most populous urban areas in South Africa, almost equal to Cape Town. It is also the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg. It forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism because of the city's warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. The municipality, which includes neighbouring towns, has a population of almost 3.5 million, making the combined municipality one of the biggest cities on the Indian Ocean coast of the African continent. The metropolitan land area of 2,292 square kilometres (885 sq mi) is comparatively larger than other South African cities, resulting in a somewhat lower population density of 1,513/km2 (3,920/sq mi). It has the highest number of dollar millionaires added per year of any South African city with the number rising 200% between 2000 and 2014.
In May 2015, Durban was officially recognized as one of theNew7Wonders Cities together with Vigan, Doha, La Paz, Havana, Beirut, and Kuala Lumpur.
Archaeological evidence from the Drakensberg mountains suggests that the Durban area has been inhabited by communities of hunter-gathererssince 100,000 BC. These people lived throughout the area of present-day KwaZulu-Natal until the expansion of Bantu farmers and pastoralistsfrom the north saw their gradual displacement, incorporation or extermination. Little is known of the history of the first residents, as there is no written history of the area until it was sighted by Portugueseexplorer Vasco da Gama, who sailed parallel to the KwaZulu-Natal coast at Christmastide in 1497 while searching for a route from Europe to India. He named the area "Natal", or Christmas in Portuguese.
First European settlers
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. Accompanying Farewell was an adventurer named Henry Francis Fynn. Fynn was able to befriend the Zulu King Shakaby helping him to recover from a stab wound he suffered in battle. As a token of Shaka's gratitude, he granted Fynn a "30-mile [50 km] strip of coast a hundred miles [160 km] in depth."
During a meeting of 35 European residents in Fynn's territory on 23 June 1835, it was decided to build a capital town and name it "d'Urban" after Sir Benjamin d'Urban, then governor of the Cape Colony.
Republic of Natalia
Main article: Battle of Congella
The Voortrekkers established the Republic of Natalia in 1838, with its capital at Pietermaritzburg.
Piet Retief, leader of the Voortrekkers in Natal, negotiated with the Zulu King, Dingane, in order to obtain land for their farming purposes. After negotiations were concluded, Dingane however reneged and had Retief and his entire entourage murdered. Thereafter the Zulus attacked and killed more than 500 Voortrekkers at Retief's laager. The Voortrekkers retaliated, and broke Dingane's power at the Battle of Blood River.
Continued tension between the Voortrekkers and the Zulus prompted the governor of the Cape Colony to dispatch a force under Captain Charlton Smith to establish British rule in Natal, for fear of losing British control in Port Natal. The force arrived on 4 May 1842 and built a fortification that was later to be The Old Fort. On the night of 23/24 May 1842 the British attacked the Voortrekker camp at Congella. The attack failed, and the British had to withdraw to their camp which was put under siege. A local trader Dick King and his servant Ndongeni were able to escape the blockade and rode toGrahamstown, a distance of 600 km (372.82 mi) in fourteen days to raise reinforcements. The reinforcements arrived in Durban 20 days later; the Voortrekkers retreated, and the siege was lifted.
Fierce conflict with the Zulu population led to the evacuation of Durban, and eventually the Afrikaners accepted British annexation in 1844 under military pressure.
British colonial rule and the Union of South Africa
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 twenty five-year contracts. As a result of the importation of Indian labourers, Durban has the largest Asian community on the African continent, and has the largest Indian population outside of India.
Durban's historic regalia
When the Borough of Durban was proclaimed in 1854, the council had to procure a seal for official documents. The seal was produced in 1855 and was replaced in 1882. The new seal contained a coat of arms without helmet or mantling that combined the coats of arms of Sir Benjamin D'Urban and Sir Benjamin Pine. An application was made to register the coat of arms with the College of Arms in 1906, but this application was rejected on grounds that the design implied that D'Urban and Pine were husband and wife. Nevertheless, the coat of arms appeared on the council's stationery from about 1912. The following year, a helmet and mantling was added to the council's stationery and to the new city seal that was made in 1936. The motto reads "Debile principium melior fortuna sequitur"—"Better fortune follows a humble beginning".
The blazon of the arms registered by the South African Bureau of Heraldry and granted to Durban on 9 February 1979. The coat of arms fell into disuse with the re-organisation of the South African local government structure in 2000. The seal ceased to be used in 1995.
Today, Durban is the busiest container port in Africa. The Golden Mile, developed as a welcoming tourist destination in the 1970s, as well as Durban at large, provide ampletourist attractions, particularly for people on holiday from Gauteng. The Golden Mile was redeveloped in late 2009 in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It was resurfaced and widened between Ushaka Marine World and Moses Mabhida Stadium. Durban's most popular beaches are also located along the Golden Mile. The city is also a gateway to the national parks and historic sites of Zulu Kingdom and the Drakensberg.
Durban and its suburbs are hilly, except for locations in and around the central business district, the harbour and Umhlanga Rocks.
Durban has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with hot and humid summers and pleasantly warm and dry winters, which are snow and frost-free. Durban has an annual rainfall of 1,009 millimetres (39.7 in). The average temperature in summer ranges around 24 °C (75 °F), while in winter the average temperature is 17 °C (63 °F). Sunrise in Durban on summer solstice occurs at 04:45 and sunset at 19:00; on winter solstice, sunrise is at 06:30 and sunset at 17:20. The rainy season is in summer which begins in November, ending in mid-April. Summers are sunny, hot and humid during the day, but are relieved by afternoon or evening thunderstorms. The city is also occasionally affected by tropical storms and cyclones during the cyclone season, which is from 15 November to 30 April. Winters, which are from June to August, are generally warm and sunny.
Geographical distribution of home languages in eThekwini metropole
Durban is ethnically diverse, with a cultural richness of mixed beliefs and traditions. Zulusform the largest single ethnic group. It has a large number of people of British descentand has the most Indians of any city outside India. The influence of Indians in Durban has been significant, bringing with them a variety of cuisine, culture and religion. Social cohesion in South Africas third largest city is fairly strong despite a negative outlook from a few individuals.
The population of the city of Durban increased 10.9% between 2001 and 2011 from 536,644 to 595,061. The number of Black Africans increased while the number of people in all the other racial groups decreased. Black Africans increased from 34.9% to 51.1%. Indian or Asians decreased from 27.3% to 24.0%. Whites decreased from 25.5% to 15.3%. Coloureds decreased from 10.26% to 8.59%. A new racial group, Other, was included in the 2011 census at 0.93%.
The city's demographics indicate that 68% of the population are of working age, and 38% of the people in Durban are under the age of 19 years.
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 centers in South Africa for export-related industry. Durban's subtropical climate, warm marine current and culturally diverse population has drawn in tourists.
Durban remains the third richest city in South Africa. In 2015, a report by AfrAsia Bank and research company New World Wealth listed Durban among the top cities in Africa with the most millionaires. Durban placed 7th with 2700 millionaires.
The city has revitalised its inner areas with the new Durban Point Waterfront development south-east of downtown sporting uShaka Marine World and many new residential and leisure developments. 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) has aided in the economic turnaround. In 2010, Durban was rated as a Gamma-level global city.
Natal cotton field (Durban, South Africa) (c.1885)
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 South African Army's Natal Command was located in Durban for many years. From August 1974 84 Motorised Brigade was based at the Old Fort Road Military Base in Durban. Many of its units were located in Durban. These included the Durban Light Infantry located nearby in their historic buildings within the Greyville Racecourse, the Durban Regiment, 84 Signal Unit SACS, 15 Maintenance Unit, 19 Field Engineer Regiment SAEC, and Natal Field Artillery, all based in the Old Fort Road Military Base. Natal Mounted Rifles, or NMR as it is better known, has their HQ a little further north just across from the Kings Park rugby stadium and the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The Umvoti Mounted Rifles are based across the freeway from the Edgewood campus in the old Highway Command grounds. The Bluff Military Basehouses a number of units including a sickbay and the local JOC. The Air Force has a base at the old Durban International Airport, which is still the home of 15 Squadron, a helicopter unit. The Navy has maintained a small presence on Salisbury Island in the Durban harbour, the base is being renovated and expanded as a home for the Navy's offshore patrol flotilla.
The city's treatment of shack dwellers has been strongly criticised by a report from the United Nations linked Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions and there has also been strong criticism of the city's treatment of street traders, street children and sex workers. Durban is known throughout the world for its strain of marijuana called 'durban poison' which was developed in the late 1970s. It is one of the most common strains sold by car guards and street dealers throughout eThekweni.
The Marine parade pools and beach front on Durban's "golden mile" is a very popular tourist attraction in the city particularly around Christmas and New Years day.
Dining and entertainment areas
Nature and wildlife
King Shaka International Airport services both domestic and international flights, with regularly scheduled services to Dubai, Istanbul, Doha, Addis Ababa, Mauritius, Harare,Lusaka & Maputo, as well as 8 domestic destinations. The airport's position forms part of the Golden Triangle between Johannesburg and Cape Town, which is important for convenient travel and trade between these three big South African cities. The airport opened in May 2010, replacing all operations from Durban International Airport. King Shaka International Airport handled 4.93 million passengers in the 2015/2016 year, up 9 percent from the 2014/2015 year. King Shaka International Airport was constructed at La Mercy, about 36 kilometres (22 mi) north of central Durban. All operations at Durban International have been transferred to King Shaka International as of 1 May 2010; with plans for flights to Singapore,London, Mumbai, Australia, Gaborone, Windhoek, Luanda, Lilongwe & Nairobi.
The Durban International Airport was used by the South African Defence Force during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and as a secondary airport to handle overflow. The airport serves as a major gateway for travellers to KwaZulu-Natal and theDrakensberg.
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 andMaputo, 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 busyport 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 third busiest container port in theSouthern 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.
Durban has a very popular cruise industry. MSC Cruises bases the MSC Sinfonia in Durban from November to April every year. Durban is the most popular cruise hub in Southern Africa. Cruise destinations from Durban on the MSC Sinfoniainclude Mozambique, Mauritius, Madagascar and other domestic destinations such as Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Many other ships cruise through Durban every year including some of the worlds biggest such as the RMS Queen Mary 2which is the biggest ocean liner in the world.
Naval Base Durban on Salisbury Island (now joined to the mainland and part of the Port of Durban), was established as anaval base during the Second World War. It was downgraded in 2002 to a naval station. In 2012 a decision was made to renovate and expand the facilities back up to a full naval base to accommodate the South African Navy's offshore patrolflotilla. In December 2015 it was redesignated Naval Base Durban.
Durban featured the first operating steam railway in South Africa when the Natal Railway Company started operating a line between the Point and the city of Durban in 1860.
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 Newcastle, and a weekly service to and fromCape 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.
A high-speed rail link has been proposed, between Johannesburg and Durban.
The People Mover is a tourist-oriented bus service which runs every 15 minutes and consists of three routes within the central business district and along the beachfront, connecting various attractions.
Several companies run long-distance bus services from Durban to the other cities in South Africa. Buses have a long history in Durban. Most of them run by Indian owners since the early 1930s. Privately owned buses who are not subsidised by the government service the communities timeoulsy. Buses operate in all areas of the eThekwini Municipality. Since 2003 buses have been violently taken out of the routes and bus ranks by taxi operators. This has brought bus operations into disarray. Bus owners have bought into taxi operations using their bus permits to make a living.
Durban was previously served by the Durban trolleybus system from 1935 to 1968; before that, it was served by theDurban tramway network from 1880 to 1949.
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.
Mini bus taxis are the standard form of transport for the majority of the population who cannot afford private cars. 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 had been a mode of transportation since the early 1900s, they have been displaced by other forms of motorised transport, and the 25 or so remaining rickshaws mostly cater to tourists today.
Durban has it all, Beauty, Beaches, Mountains, Game Drives and Value for Money Shopping.
Everybody Loves Durban