14 awesome things to do in Durban these Easter holidays
1. EN ROUTE
If going by car, make the journey part of the holiday by exploring the Midlands Meander on the way. Stop at the Windmills Kitchen (033-266-7046), conveniently located on the top of the Nottingham Road offramp. This kid-friendly, pet-friendly pit stop 90 minutes from Durban has various kitchens or "stalls" in a spacious food hall.
To let off a bit of driving stress, do some clay-pigeon shooting at Country Pursuits (R410 per person for 20 shots), where you can blast away without putting any birds at risk.
Then before rejoining the N3, stop at the Capture Site (033-330-8195) to walk along the pathway and see how the superb sculpture of 50 steel bars merge into an image of Nelson Mandela.
2. HIT THE BEACH
Kids need nothing but sand castles and a hand to hold while hopping over the waves. It's not often you get anything for free, so this should be top of your list. Most Durban beaches are protected by brave lifeguards, and digging your toes into the sand will soothe away stress and tension.
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3. KZN SHARKS BOARD MARITIME CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
Watch shark dissections every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at R50 for adults and R30 for children - tickets available at the door. Alternatively, meet various aquatic creatures at sea during early morning boat trips and watch the team at work (R350 per person). See shark.co.za.
4. OYSTER BOX EASTER HIGH TEA
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, splash out on the Oyster Box High Tea (April 19 to 21), with bunnies, eggs and delectable treats. R450 per person, kids welcome. Reservations at 031-514-5000.
5. SOUTH COAST BIKE FEST
Head south towards Margate from April 26 to 28 to watch smokin' donuts, big boys on bikes, and extreme riding. Experience motorbike thrills and surfing using virtual-reality equipment, and dance to a slew of lekker local bands. See southcoastbikefest.co.za
6. EASTER EGG HUNT
There's so much more than green stuff in the Botanic Gardens (home to the rarest cycad collection in the world) this Easter. The Beacon Easter Eggsplorer and Family Fun Day takes place on April 20 and 21 (9.30am to 2.30pm), with kids of all ages invited to search for 500 golden eggs. Tickets at webtickets or from Pick n Pay at R95 per person. Entry to the gardens is free.
7. COMEDY AND DANCE AT THE SUNCOAST CASINO
For plenty to do for the whole family, head to Suncoast Casino on Marine Parade. The Comedy Mash Up on April 20 features some of the country's top comedians (tickets from R100 to R200 per person).
Kids will love Shut Up & Dance at The Barnyard Theatre, also on the 20th, with dancers, singers and a fun dance-off competition (2pm, R120 per person). Book at tsogosun.comsuncoast-casino.
8. USHAKA MARINE WORLD
Visiting the fifth largest aquarium in the world is always a highlight, but they're making it extra special over Easter. On April 20 and 21, 9am to 2pm, there's an Easter egg hunt to find over 100,000 chocolate goodies with the help of a treasure map.
At R187 for adults and R139 for under-12s, tickets are not cheap but they do allow access to Wet n Wild and Sea World, so make a day of it. See ushakamarineworld.co.za.
9. FOOTING IT
Explore the city on foot with Curiocity, which offers an informed guide and a bunny chow lunch for R420 per person. The company also offers other activities, including yoga on the beach, open-air movie nights, shark-cage diving, scuba diving on Aliwal Shoal,
and trips inland.
10. STEAM-TRAIN RIDE
Take a ride on the Umgeni Steam Railway's Easter Bunny steam train on Sunday April 21 (8.30am and 12.30pm), from Stokers Arms in Kloof to Inchanga village in the Valley of a 1,000 Hills, where there will be a craft market. R260 for adults, R190 for children, booking essential. Take cash - no cards.
11. THE DURBAN NATURAL SCIENCE MUSEUM
This is one of the most popular museums in southern Africa, with 200,000 visitors a year. The whole family will find something to fascinate them - kids will love the life-size model of the T-Rex and the Egyptian mummy - and entry is free. The Durban Art Gallery is in the same building, the magnificent Durban City Hall. See durban.gov.za.
12. ON THE BUS
Take a three-hour ride around the city on the open-topped Ricksha Bus (031-322-4209), and see all of the city's major attractions without having to drive.
Two departures, 9am and 1pm, R100 per person, R50 for kids, cash only, from the kiosk at the Old Pavillion Site, Bay of Plenty, North Beach.
Take a hat if you plan on sitting upstairs - it gets hot!
13. PORT OF CALL
Wilson's Wharf offers another glimpse of Durban through its working harbour, the busiest in Africa. Wilson's Wharf has a choice of restaurants and outdoor pubs and there's usually a selection of luxury yachts, tankers and trawlers to watch. This is another freebie-stroll outing if you don't want to splurge.
14. CHEAP THRILLS
If you're holidaying on a shoestring or have run low on funds by the end of your time away, there's lots to do that won't cost a cent, and that's apart from basking on the sand and splashing around in the sea.
Stroll along the promenade and people-watch. Visit one of the many religious buildings in the city that include temples, cathedrals and mosques - remember to be respectful about being quiet and covering up.
Take an evening saunter along Umhlanga Pier, voted the most beautiful in the world with its whale-bone skeletal structure, and watch the fish below in the glow of the lights.
Finally: eat a bunny (no, not the Easter bunny). Durban is the home of the bunny chow - curry spooned into a hollowed-out loaf of white bread.
Ask a local where to go .