Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Durban, South Africa
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- Visit Durban's beautiful Botanic Gardens with its orchid house - lower Berea.
- Mitchell Park - lovely for picnics - restaurant, playground and zoo. Next door- Jameson Rose Gardens - Berea.
- Walk among hundreds of exotic birds at the Umgeni Bird Park - Umgeni River.
- Enjoy a touch of the Orient at the Japanese Gardens - Durban North.
Even during a short drive around the city you will encounter colourful roadside verges and islands, often themed to a particular event.
The expertise of the Parks Department also extends to supplying indoor plants for civic functions. In addition, more than 20,000 acres of other land is under the control of the city.
The Botanic Gardens
Spend a couple of hours in Durban's sub tropical Botanic Gardens at the foot of the Berea, a piece of land first owned by ivory hunter John Cane.
Durban has Mr. Mark McKen to thank for starting the 20ha gardens in 1850 as the first curator. Absorb the atmosphere of this cool, green oasis amongst the bustle of the city.
The park hosts a wide assortment of mature, exotic trees from around the world, an orchid house containing 3,000 blooms from around the world, palm walk, cycads, a sunken garden, a herb garden, a scented garden and a lake that is home to egrets, kingfishers, ducks and other water birds.
Either take a picnic to eat beneath a shady tree or have tasty tea and famous scones in the park's tea room. There are also guided tours available, an information centre and a Braille Trail. On selected Sunday evenings the Natal Philharmonic plays in this lovely venue.
The new visitor centre includes a small curio shop and the Natal Herbarium. The herbarium involves itself in plant awareness programmes, research, documentation and student training.
Mitchell Park and Jameson Park
The parks are adjacent to each other. Mitchell Park was originally an unprofitable ostrich farm and by 1910, an animal collection had been established that included a variety of deer, leopards, camels and lions.
A famous and well loved inhabitant of the park was Nellie the elephant who provided many thousands of children with memorable rides. She could also crack coconuts and play the mouth organ!
The size of the park and the fact that many of the animals were circus specimens ensured that most would not be replaced and in the 1940s, the flower beds were expanded, along with the menagerie, aviaries and the children's play area (which also caters for handicapped children).
The park is justifiably renowned for its displays and its magnificent mature trees. If you prefer to do nothing, sit under one of the magnificent trees and watch the world go by or have a snack at the Blue Zoo restaurant.
Jameson Park was once a pineapple plantation but is now famous for its 600 beautiful roses - proof that they may provide a wonderful display even in tropical conditions.
The 200 different varieties are at their best in the spring months - September to November. Ferndale Rd. Morningside 031 303 2275
Smack in the centre of the city is a little green oasis with a small tearoom, swimming pool and an open air chessboard.
The Umgeni River Bird Park
Rated as one of the world's top bird parks, this picturesque park on the banks of the Umgeni River, north of Durban offers a kaleidoscope of flashing colours from more than three thousand of the world's birds set amongst exotic plants and sheer cliff faces from which sparkling waterfalls tinkle.
There are also several walk through aviaries to get really close to the birds and a restaurant to slake your thirst (birthday parties and school visits are also catered for).There is also a free flight show at 11.00 and 14.00.
The profusion of tropical plants makes a visit to the park doubly rewarding. Close to the park is the Umgeni River Walk where you will see pelicans and other water birds in the wild.
If you're lucky, you may well hear the call of Africa's most famous bird - the fish eagle.
The Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary
The park overlooks a lake so you are sure to see plenty of water birds (150 species of birds) and there is a restaurant and picnic sites to ease your legs! Open daily, admission free.
The Japanese Gardens
The park is landscaped in the traditional Japanese style with small pagodas, traditional bridges and temples, there is also a lake and through the park runs a small stream.
The park is home to a variety of water birds and weavers. Adjacent to the park is a playground.
Sarnia Japanese Gardens
Tucked away, the gardens offer a shady retreat and accommodates a restaurant and playground.
Amanzimtoti Japanese Gardens
Beautiful small gardens with sundeck and pond.
The Sunken Gardens
The Beachfront, North Beach
Between Umbilo and Sydney Roads