I recently had the pleasure of staying at the revamped Garden Court Marine Parade, one of Tsogo Sun’s hotels in Durban, for a weekend.
I woke up to a spectacular panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. I lazily watched the sun rise with its rays hitting the ocean as the waves crashed onto the edges of the sand. The hotel has the perfect location – on the doorstep of the Golden Mile beachfront. Popular with business and leisure travellers, the hotel has all the modern comforts and conveniences, including free wifi, a shuttle service, 18-hour room service (try the deep-fried hake with tartar sauce, juicy peri-peri chicken wings and calamari with wasabi mayonnaise and lemon wedges!) and the relaxed Garden Grill where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’d also advise a visit to the roof-top swimming pool with its incredible views.
Out and about
With great beaches, fun markets and lots of places to “play”, Durban has so much to offer every traveller (I was beginning to wish I had more time than just a weekend to do it all). If you’re looking for some real action, head to uShaka Marine World for some snorkelling and shark diving. I thoroughly enjoyed the shark diving – I was a little scared at first, but the cage gave me confidence and I was pretty relaxed watching the sharks swimming all around me. uShaka is known as one of the finest marine theme parks in the world and for good reason. There’s so much on offer and it’s a great place for families. Pop along the pier to Moyo for cocktails and views of the ocean.
If you’re looking for a meal out, there are a number of options in and around Durban. The Grill Jichana (which is Swahili slang for “eating good”) offers the most scrumptious of steak dishes. Situated at the Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani mega-hotel establishment, it’s described as a typical upmarket grillhouse, but the service is outstanding and it boasts a fantastic collection of wines. I enjoyed a tender lamb skewer, which consists of lamb rump pieces with a tandoori spiced yoghurt marinade. The meal ended with five Valrhona chocolate balls served with fresh fruit relish – delectable!
You can’t visit the city without a delicious Durban curry! Another highlight of my weekend was the Jeera Indian restaurant at SunCoast Casino, which offered a decadent buffet of curries. The food was so delicious and spicy that I went for seconds. (Popping into the markets to shop for spices to take back home is another great excursion in the city).
Dance the night away
To burn off some of those calories, make your way to The Chairman, a jazz lounge and bar and one of the best things to have happened on Durban’s urban scene. It’s fantastic place to enjoy a cocktail or two, and some of the best sounds around.
Durban is a fun city: it offers great value for money and has great weather all year-round. I am already planning my next weekend break. Watch this space!