School’s nearly out and if you’re planning a ‘something for everyone’ kind of holiday then look no further than Africa’s playground, Durban. We have some fun and exciting ideas to keep the kids occupied and parents relaxed to the max. You’re guaranteed to never be too far from a delightful, family-friendly venue in Durban. It’s always warm and sunny in this laid-back seaside town and it’s a relatively affordable destination. The city will become one of your favourite family vacation destinations but don’t just take our word for it.
The following are our top five places which will get you and the family out and about in Durban this festive season.
The Lucky Bean
The Lucky Bean features in our top five because it’s great for gross motor play whether it’s a sunny, rainy or windy day. The 260m2 play shed is covered with Astroturf and features a nifty small babies’ (under 18 months old) area where mums can relax on the couches and let their babies play with age appropriate toys and equipment.
Lucky Bean owner Donnae McReynolds says: “The children love our outdoor jungle gyms and fantasy playhouses. This is a safe gated environment where they can play, have fun and make new friends while parents simply relax.”
The Lucky Bean serves a delicious selection of cakes and tarts, awesome coffee and tea, milkshakes and yummy light meals. There is undercover and garden seating for everyone. To visit this gem please contact [email protected] or 082 2 16 3892 or visit www.luckybean.co.za.
Zulumoon Gondola Rides
Zulumoon Gondolas, based in the Durban Point Waterfront, offer unique gondola boat rides through the development’s canals. Owner Kim Livingstone says: “Our gondola rides aim to create a magical experience in a dreamland of water and lights. We have several packages which are great for celebratory moments or simply creating special memories.”
Packages include day rides, night rides, a Venetian masked ride and even a 45-minute deluxe ride which includes music. For those looking for a new and unique way to experience the city, check out www.gondolas.co.za.
Known affectionately as Giba by the cycling and running fraternity, this network of mountain bike and running trails is in a lush green valley alongside the N3 freeway just west of Durban. With 30 kilometres of main trails linked with 10 kilometres of alternative routes, it’s a place for outdoor and adventure enthusiasts. Whether it’s the kids scooting around the BMX track, the avid mountain bikers and trail runners making use of the single-track trails, the adrenaline-crazed downhillers or families and couples choosing to picnic on the lawn, Giba appeals to all ages and sizes.
The complex also features conference facilities for private and corporate events with birthday parties being held there regularly. Bikes and helmets are available for hire. For more information please visit https://www.gibagorge.co.za/.
The Suncoast Octopus
From movies to restaurants to its casino, Suncoast Casino located just north of Pirates beach on Durban’s world-class promenade, is well-known for non-stop family entertainment and fun. Following its recent R1.6 million upgrade it now has enough entertainment to fill the equivalent of five rugby fields. Within the new complex is the Suncoast Octopus near the new Spur and John Dory’s restaurants. The Octopus is a lovely child-friendly space with sprinklers which shoot water at different levels and timings. It has an AstroTurf surface to prevent slipping and sliding. The best thing about the Octopus is that it’s totally free so moms and dads can grab a bite to eat in peace while the kiddies enjoy the ‘funshine.’ For more information please visit https://www.tsogosun.com/suncoast-casino/entertainment/outdoor-area.
The Beachwood Mangroves
At just 76-hectares, the Beachwood Mangroves is possibly KZN’s smallest nature reserve but the perfect place to get the kids out the house and fully into the grips of nature. Accommodating Durban’s largest population of mangrove trees, the reserve is located just north of the Umgeni River mouth on the outskirts of the suburb of Durban North. Kids and adults alike will love learning about the botanical, historical and educational significance of this unique tract of land located right in the middle of the city. Home to the black mangrove, red mangrove and white mangrove, visitors will see a myriad of plants and animals that live there including thousands of fiddler crabs, molluscs, the mangrove kingfisher, curlew and water dike. Open mornings are held every third Saturday of the month from 8am to 1pm where Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Honorary Officers walk visitors through the reserve explaining how the mangroves work and what they do for the eco-system. For those who’d like to make a whole day of it, braai and picnic facilities are available.
Also available is an evening chameleon walk where Honorary Officer Brian High takes visitors to look for the endemic KwaZulu-Natal chameleon. Visitors need to phone ahead for this tour and a torch is recommended. Access to the reserve is just off Riverside Road in Durban North. For more information on the open mornings or the chameleon tour, please contact Brian High on 071 279 1701.