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Top 15 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Durban for the Family

Havana Dauncey
· May 1, 2024
Top 15 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Durban for the Family

Durban truly is a gem of a destination—not just for a festive December getaway but also as a wonderful place to live. Whether you're considering making Durban your home or have been coming here for years, we've put together the ultimate list of family-friendly activities to help you explore the city — from Durban’s most iconic landmarks to some hidden gems you might not have discovered yet!

Here are our top 15 family-friendly activities in Durban you have to check out. Whether you're exploring them for the first time or revisiting them with your children, they are sure to create unforgettable memories.

1. Beach Days

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Undeniably, Durban’s biggest attraction has to be its long list of breathtaking beaches. Even in the peak of winter, you'll be greeted by soft sand and the warm Indian Ocean. 

One issue though, Durban beaches are so popular that they can get crowded. If you want to beat the crowds and spend a quiet family day with a bit of space around you, you'll want to try these beaches below.

Some of Durban’s top beaches for families:

  • Umdloti Beach

Just north of Durban, Umdloti is a serene haven for those in search of tranquility. Despite its occasionally steep waves, the beach features a large lagoon-like area that’s ideal for snorkeling and swimming.

  • Amanzintoti

Venturing a bit south, you'll find 'Toti' - one of Durban's most iconic beach towns. Not only is it the perfect place for a family beach day, there are also a ton of other activities to enjoy with the kids. The perfect day outing.

  • Zimbali beach

While Zimbali is known for its exclusive resort, not many people know that the beach itself is accessible for free during the day. This makes it the perfect beach to escape the crowds.

  • Ansteys Beach

Finally, if you want something a bit closer to Durban, Ansteys is the perfect option. Situated in the Bluff, you'll be a short drive from the city center. And, with lifeguards, shark nets and waters shallow enough for swimming, this beach is perfect for families with young children.

2. uShaka Marine World

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Since its opening in 2004, uShaka Marine World has become the centre of family entertainment in Durban. Covering an impressive 16 hectares, uShaka Marine World is home to the largest aquarium in Africa. If you've been here, it's always worth revisiting. What makes uShaka so great is all the add-on entertainment  – the kids will be learning and having fun. 

uShaka Marine World’s fun activities include:

  • Thrilling rides and water slides at Wet 'n Wild
  • Ziplining above the Rocky Reef
  • Live dolphin and seal shows, as well as penguin feedings
  • Up-close encounters with marine life at the Sea World and Shipwreck aquariums
  • Kids World — a haven for kids aged 2-12 years
  • A variety of sit-in and takeaway restaurants, including the Upper Deck Restaurant, the Anchor Hold, Wahooz on the Promenade, Gambitz, Ocean Café and the Cargo Hold Restaurant

3. Durban Botanic Gardens

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Established in 1849, the Durban Botanic Gardens is Africa’s oldest surviving botanic garden. Stretching across 15 hectares, there is always something new to see and explore. There are also several not to be missed events, like the Trail of Lights show and Music at the Lake.

There is no better place to have a picnic and spend a stunning afternoon surrounded by nature's beauty. 

4. Moses Mabhida Stadium Adventures

Originally built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Moses Mabhida Stadium is so much more than just a soccer stadium. Here are all the family-friendly activities to enjoy at Moses Babhida Stadium:

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  • Watch a sports match to cheer one of Durban’s local team

  • Take a ride on the SkyCar to the top of the arch for the best views of Durban and the coastline below

  • Let the kids play in the People’s Park while you enjoy a coffee at People’s Park Café

5. Durban Natural Science Museum

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Located in the heart of Durban, the Durban Natural Science Museum is a local favourite, attracting over 300 000 visitors each year.

Founded in 1887, the Durban Natural Science Museum has been open for over 130 years, completely free for the public to enjoy.

Not only will you find the third-largest bird collection in Africa, but also immersive dioramas, a life-size model of a T-Rex, a real Dodo skeleton, and the Egyptian mummy Peten Amen.

6. Mini Town

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Opened back in 1963, Mini Town is an iconic Durban landmark deeply entrenched in the childhood memories of locals and visitors alike. If you haven't been, we highly recommend this local gem especially since it may be closing!

While it's not a replica of Durban per se, it does have a few Durban landmarks. Enjoy walking around tall skyscrapers and historic buildings to the bustling harbour and running electric trains; you really feel like you’re walking through a mini town!

Kids will love exploring the tiny streets, pretending to be giants towering over Durban’s landmarks.

7. Mitchell Park Zoo

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As the only zoo in Durban, Mitchell Park Zoo is a must for those looking for some close wildlife encounters.

While it first started as an Ostrich Farm in 1910, Mitchell Park Zoo is now home to a variety of animals from around the world, including giant tortoises, crocodiles, raccoons, wallabies, monkeys and more! You can even get a close-up look at all the birds in the walk-through aviary.

With some braai and picnic spots, as well as the Blue Tea Garden, Mitchell Park Zoo is the perfect destination for a family day out.

8. Golden Mile Promenade

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As one of South Africa’s most popular beachfront stretches, and home to one of South Africa’s best beaches, you can’t miss Durban’s Golden Mile Promenade.

Whether you’re looking for a seaside stroll, morning run or lift in one of Durban’s famous rickshaw rides, there’s no better place than the 8km stretch of the Golden Mile. And, don't forget to explore the many playgrounds, splash parks and outdoor gyms along the way.

Treat the family to ice cream from one of the many food carts or take the kids out for lunch at one of the beachfront cafes and restaurants. If you can handle the heat, we definitely recommend a Bunny Chow here.

9. Durban Ricksha Bus Tour

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Discover the highlights of Durban from the city’s iconic double-decker Ricksha bus tour!

The Ricksha bus allows you and the whole family to explore the city's landmarks and attractions in 3 hours with a local guide, following a route that takes you through Durban Central, including:

  • The Victoria Street Market
  • Francis Farewell Square
  • Beachfront
  • The Berea
  • Florida Road
  • Mitchell Park
  • Morningside
  • The Cube viewpoint
  • Wilson’s Wharf
  • The City centre

10. Flag Animal Farm

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The Flag Animal Farm holds a special place in many a local kid's heart. Home to over 1000 rescued animals, birds and reptiles, Flag Animal Farm is the perfect place where kids can pet and feed a variety of animals, from cuddly rabbits and friendly goats to the the two resident wolves, Everest and Alaska.

Flag Animal Farm also offers:

  • Pony, horse and tractor rides

  • Reptile show

  • Outdoor playgrounds

  • Mini dinosaur park

  • Braai and picnic facilities

  • Coffee shop

  • Splash waterpark

11. Durban Boat Cruises

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Set sail on Durban’s shores with one of Durban’s popular boat cruises. Not only do get some stunning views of the city and harbour, but you may even be lucky enough to spot some cool marine life. The sardine run would be the perfect time to go on a cruise, while the dates vary you can expect it to start mid June.

You can choose from a variety of cruises, including sunset cruises, harbour tours and dolphin-watching excursions.

12. Crocworld Conservation Centre

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While Crocworld may have started in 1985 as a farm for Nile crocodile meat and skin, it has since shifted to focus solely on education and conservation through tourism. We love positive change.

Bringing in over 1.5 million visitors, Crocworld is now a major tourist site as a bird and reptile park, home to a variety of birds and reptiles, including tortoises, snakes and, of course, crocodiles.

With daily crocodile feeds at 11 am and 3 pm, an animal farm, snake demonstrations, educational programs, a playground and Fish Eagle Cafe, you’re guaranteed an action-packed day for the whole family.

13. Hillcrest Paintball

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Whether it’s for the ultimate kid's birthday party, or some family bonding, you can never go wrong with a friendly game of paintball at Hillcrest Paintball.

With a covered area to relax under between games, secure parking, rental equipment and food and snacks on-site, you have everything you need for the ultimate paintball day.

Have little ones that are too young for proper paintballs? No problem! You can opt for a game of Splatmaster or Laser Tag which is perfect for all ages.

14. Umgeni River Bird Park

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Started by a group of bird lovers in 1984 who wanted to share their passion and educate others on the wonderful world of birds, Umgeni River Bird Park is now home to more than 800 birds from over 200 species, playing a major role in local conservation efforts.

One of the main attractions is the free-flight bird show — the first in Africa!

At this show, you get to watch critically endangered species like the Wattled Crane, as well as owls, storks, hornbills and a Cape Vulture fly around unrestricted. A truly unique experience.

After the show, you can explore the walk-through aviaries and experience up-close encounters with some of the world’s most brilliant and beautiful birds.

15. Gateway Mall

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If you’re looking to get some shopping done or want some indoor entertainment for a rainy day, there’s no better place than Gateway Mall.

You can simply never get bored with activities for the whole family, including:

  • Go-karting

  • Bowling

  • Imax cinema

  • Mr Funtubbles Fun Fair

  • Snow Wonderland

  • Be Up Park

  • Electric Avenue which offers paintball, an arcade and bumper cars

Ready to explore Durban?

Durban offers a wide variety of kid-friendly activities, catering to every interest and budget. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventures, educational experiences or cultural immersion, Durban promises unforgettable moments for the whole family.

Plan your next family getaway to Durban or, even better, make the move to Durban! This beautiful city will offer your family a lifestyle like no other.

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