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City Lifestyle

Take a tour of South Africa’s three main cities and uncover the culture, nature and good food Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg have to offer.


Starting on the east coast, in South Africa’s third most populous city, head first to Moses Mabhida stadium, which was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and is now used for all sorts of events and activities. For a great view of the area, and a good dose of adrenalin, you can go to the top of the dramatic arch of the stadium. The Big Rush Big Swing, officially named the world’s tallest swing by the Guinness Book of Records, makes a thrilling 220m (720 ft) arc into the centre of the stadium.

Outside the stadium area you can hire a segway or a bicycle, and set off to explore the Golden Mile of Durban’s beachfront. The strip received a major upgrade ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It’s now a broad seafront promenade, with the beach and sea on one side, and hotels, apartments and restaurants on the other. It is well used by tourists and locals alike.

Carry on down the Golden Mile to uShaka Marine World. One of the main attractions of this big theme park is Sea World, an aquarium designed around “shipwrecks”. It’s home to loads of different sea species, including various types of sharks. Highlights include a dolphin show, a seal show and a penguin presentation. Visitors can also take part in an animal encounter, snorkelling in the lagoon, or shark cage diving. You will not be able to lure your children away from uShaka Wet ‘n Wild, a water park with all manner of slides, tubes and pools – something for every age and level of adrenaline seeking.

Head to the Moyo uShaka beach bar on the end of the pier for a light meal or drinks. It has super cool African decor and stunning views of the ocean and the beachfront.

But don’t leave town without trying a proper Durban curry. The bunny chow – half a loaf of bread, filled with curry – is a popular lunch, widely available. For something more upscale, head north out of town to Umhlanga Rocks for the daily curry buffet at The Ocean Terrace, The Oyster Box Hotel. Be sure to go there hungry!

Cape Town

Head south west to the country’s oldest city, Cape Town. Table Mountain frames the city and can be seen from all angles on the ground – sometimes topped with its tablecloth of cloud – but it is really worth going up the mountain. The Table Mountain Cableway runs up to the top, where you’ll find gorgeous views and selfie spots, a cafe, and paths to walk around. Book online and take the free My CiTi shuttle service to the lower cable station to avoid parking hassles and queues. If you fancy some exercise, you can hike up and take the cable car down. The route is well marked, but if you’re a first timer you might be more comfortable on a guided hike.

It’s likely that you will have worked up quite an appetite after your day’s activities. The good news is that the country’s best fine dining restaurants are to be found in and around Cape Town. Head out to one of the Constantia wine farms for a meal in a glorious vineyard setting. Or go a little further afield to the False Bay coast, starting with old fashioned fish and chips at the Kalk Bay harbour, before heading to Simonstown to see the naval vessels and view (or even swim with!) the famous Boulders Bay penguins.


Joburg, or Jozi, as the locals call it, is the first stop for most overseas visitors, especially those heading for the bush. It’s true, Jozi doesn’t have the splendour of Cape Town or the cool surf vibes of Durban, but it has its own charm and a wealth of history and culture. It’s worth spending a day or two there at least.

A great way to see parts of the city that tourists – and even residents – don’t always see, is to join one of the fascinating guided walking tours of the city with Gerald Garner and Charlie Moyo. They are Jozi aficionados who will give you a fascinating glimpse into the history and communities of the city. There are specialist tours ranging from the farms of the city’s urban rooftops, to the tour of the Fashion District and Little Addis. This takes in the historic garment district, and the fabric wholesalers where you can pick up colourful shweshwe print fabrics. Finish off with amazing coffee and an Ethiopian meal in the Ethiopian Quarter of the city.

What to do for dinner? For a total change of pace from the inner city, try Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton. Restaurants open on to a big square, dominated by a big statue of Nelson Mandela, and it is a popular dining spot for locals and visitors. Catch a show at Theatre on the Square or head for the luxury Sandton City mall, if shopping is your thing. The suburb of Parkhurst offers more of a bustling high street vibe and good dining options, with bars and restaurants lining a buzzing main road.

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