People everywhere flock to the city of Durban for its warm Indian Ocean, its long stretches of sun-kissed sand and its palm-lined lively beachfronts. Of course there is much more offered by this beautiful city of rolling green hills, which is why you’ll need to know how to get around during your travels here. With so much to see and do, the following list will prove useful in helping you find your way around the remarkable city. As a general safety rule for all modes of transportation, avoid dark areas and instead keep within safe and populated areas whenever possible.
1. People Mover Bus
The city boasts a ‘People Mover’, offering travellers brightly coloured buses to take them through the city every fifteen minutes. This mode of transport is one of the most popular for commuters in Durban and is a fun way to venture around the city or along the beachfront. The buses are equipped with wheelchair access, and bus-stop wardens will offer assistance to those who require it, route and schedule information, as well as security to waiting passengers. Bus tickets are inexpensive (a full day pass just costing you R16), and are great value for money as the buses are also equipped with air-conditioning units, safety features and quality comfort. For those who want to swap between one route and another, it is permitted to change buses at the transfer station within the ‘90 minute free’ transfer period.
The buses run daily from 05h00-22h00, allowing people all over better freedom and access to the business and entertainment areas of Durban. The City Loop route is a circular course through the main city roads, beginning and ending at the Dr Pixley KaSeme transfer interchange (stopping close to City Hall, the Playhouse Theatre, Tourism Information Centre, Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC Complex, the Victoria street market, and Durban’s Mosque and Cathedral on the way). The Beach Line runs along the northern and southern beaches of the city, beginning at the Suncoast Casino and ending at uShaka Marine World – it runs through the interchange at Dr Pixley KaSeme Street, allowing for passengers to change to the City Loop route if they so wish).
People Mover Bus (Image)
Metred cabs must be booked by telephone from a specific location, and may cost more than local transport, but provide a safe, convenient, and comfortable way in which to travel through the city. These are much more preferable for tourists than minibus taxis, which can be simply hailed from the street, but are typically badly maintained, over-crowded, and at most times dangerous. Instead, keep these reputable cab company numbers handy: Zippy Cabs (031 202 7067), and Mozzie Cabs (031 303 5787; 0860 669 943)
3. Car Hire
There are a couple of car rental places in Durban that can provide you with decent vehicles at reasonable prices, as well as quality cars that will get you around the city safely. Some of the major operators to contact include Avis (086 102 1111), Budget (031 304 9023), Hertz (086 101 6622), and Thrifty (086 100 2111).
4. Bicycle Hire
In Durban, bicycle hire can mostly be organised through your accommodation provider, however, scooters, quad bikes and other similar vehicles can be rented out from Scooter Inn (031 306 8826). This is a great way to enjoy a day out, as well as a fantastic manner in which to explore the green, rolling hills of Durban.
Though these rides don’t last as long as others, they are a wonderful way to discover the Golden Mile. The rickshaw-pullers in Durban are a fascinating sight for tourists, with their glamorously elaborate head-dresses, accessorised with beads and other traditional African regalia. Giving guests a ‘traditional taste of Africa’, rickshaws offer a beautiful way to see the city, making even locals feel like tourists. The ride itself is a three-wheel ‘tuk-tuk type’ that allows you to sit back and relax whilst a puller runs the six kilometres along the Durban Beachfront. It’s an experience like no other; a unique tourist attraction operated by the Zulu population and incorporated into their culture. Along these rickshaw tours, you’ll also be able to spot plenty of colourful locals selling their handmade crafts on the beachfront.
6. Ricksha Bus
This is a fantastically soothing way to explore Durban, with two different tours around the city beginning at 09h00 and 13h00 (each tour lasting 3 hours). The tours are conducted on big, double-decker buses with an open top, as well as toilet facilities available on the bottom portion. Hop aboard one of these awesome rides for a scenic view of various Durban attractions. The prices are relatively low, and it is magnificent value for money. Booking and departure is at the Ricksha bus kiosk at the Old Pavilion Site, Bay of Plenty, North Beach. To arrange a tour for yourself, call 031 322 4209.
7. Shosholoza Meyl
Shosholoza Meyl is a dedicated passenger train, providing different train services for all kinds of economic travellers, journeying throughout South Africa on a weekly basis. Guests of this service are offered convenient, inexpensive, and safe options to travel between all main centres and tourist areas of the country, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, and more. The Tourist Class trains come with two berth coupes, and four berth compartments with bunk beds, as well as communal toilet and shower facilities at the end of the coach.
Those travelling alone will share a four berth with fellow passengers of the same gender. There are also fantastic luxury options available at higher costs. The trains have restaurants on board that offer delicious South African meals and drinks on a cash basis, and snacks can be purchased from the roaming service trolley.