Durban is a sophisticated cosmopolitan city, a fusion of East, West and African culture - offering cultural diversity and multi-cultural traditions, sophistication and style, an enticing destination that invites exploration. It’s alluring and fascinating, with a wealth of influences to entertain and enthral with traditional warrior dancers, mystic fi re-walkers and colonial heritage. Sample the unique vibrancy of township life, the finest curries outside India and a calendar filled with thrilling, spectacular events. A shopper’s paradise with a number of upmarket shopping centres offering brand name shops as well as quirky boutiques and fl ea markets. Durban is perfectly located as the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal, and it takes a mere few hours drive to a choice of two World Heritage sites - the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, game reserves, coral reefs and historic battlefi elds, all ideal destinations for pre- and post conference tours.
Durban has played host to numerous prestigious international conventions and events at its world class venues, particularly the International Convention Centre which is a focal point of Durban’s business district, centrally located just a convenient quarter of an hour from the airport, and minutes from hotels and beaches. The International Convention Centre Durban is a purpose-built, fully air-conditioned centre with three convention halls that are interlinked but separate. Moveable walls allow for a number of different venue configurations and can be opened up to form one large venue with seating for 5000 delegates or 7000m squared of column free floor space. Together with the adjacent Exhibition Centre, the ICC can increase its capacity to accommodate well over 18 000 conference delegates. Accommodation and additional meeting and banqueting facilities are available at the adjacentHilton Hotel. Another option for large conferences is the Olive Convention Centre located close to the beachfront, its main auditorium has the capacity of seating up to 1400 delegates.
The hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was a spectacular success, not only as an event, and saw the Moses Mabhida Stadium and its surrounds developed into what is more than just a sporting venue, adding another dimension to teambuilding in Durban - take your team to the next level with the ‘Big Rush Big Swing’ - this is the world’s only stadium swing and the largest swing of any kind anywhere. Jump into the void 106 metres above the pitch and swing out in a huge 220 metre arc under the iconic arch. In addition to this the Stadium is a stylish new venue with a number of meeting options making it ideal for hosting a cocktail evening, banquet, launch, promotion or conference.
The Southern Sun Elangeni, located on Durban’s ‘golden mile’, offers a variety of meeting rooms catering for business and private gatherings of all types, accommodating between 10 and 500 persons. Durban has a vast selection of accommodation of a very high standard, ranging from luxurious 5-star establishments, beachfront self-catering apartments with sweeping views of the ocean to intimate guest house and boutique hotels. With many of these being located along, or with easy access to the beachfront, activities and events that revolve around the ocean are never out of reach - imagine a cocktail function on the end of the pier, a themed gala dinner at uShaka Marine World surrounded by treasures of the deep or a welcome party bare foot on the beach under a Bedouin tent.
Durban also offers a choice of restaurants, and is an excellent destination to sample a tantalising array of fresh seafood offering delectable prawns, calamari and the ‘catch of the day’, and many other dishes that will tempt the taste buds. Visitors to Durban will be spoilt for choice, when it comes to nightlife with a variety of clubs, theatres, bars and cafes available. The Signature Life Docklands Hotel located on Durban’s Point Waterfront is a trendy hotel with three large conference venues able to host smallish groups to large conferences and banquets able to seat up to 600 delegates and guests. Makaranga Garden Lodge in Kloof caters for a range of disabilities, with its wheelchair friendly access to every part of the hotel making their establishments accessible to all delegates and guests. This venue offers conference facilities that are ideal for smaller executive meetings with a maximum capacity of 100 delegates.
No visit to Durban is complete without trying a legendary ‘bunny chow’ and Shisanyama - the Bunny Chow is a very simple affair consisting of a hollowedout quarter or half loaf of bread filled with any available curry and is eaten with your fingers and the Shisanyama, which is meat barbequed over an open fire and is a popular experience in the local shebeens and township experiences - incentive visitors can absorb the vibe of the Rainbow Nation on a township tour pulsing with the life of both traditional and modern African life.