WEEKEND GETAWAYS

South Africa is an amazing country for travellers: We have sophisticated infrastructure and a variety of destinations. You can, for example, live and work in its industrial and economic heartland of Gauteng and be just a couple of hours from three major seaside towns, each with its own appeal. Shaun Pozyn, Head of marketing for British Airways (operated by Comair), says this diversity means you can cherry-pick your getaway: if one coastal city is crowded with a major sporting event or conference that’s not to your taste, simply sidestep the crowds to another locale.

He recommends the following:

Explore Durban’s heritage: the city’s large Asian community has had profound influences on the city’s culture and its cuisine. Where to start? Take a guided walking tour of the district around Dr Yusuf Dadoo (Grey) and Bertha Mkhize (Victoria) Streets to immerse your senses in the city’s Indian heritage and history. Tourism KwaZulu-Natal’s Oriental Walk-About includes stops at the Zulu muti (traditional medicine) market and the Victoria Street Market (the Vic), where dealers in traditional kurtas and saris hawk incense, ornately embroidered fabrics, and aromatic spices.

Voyage to the Bottom of uShaka Sea World: One of the world’s largest aquariums, uShaka Sea World, is the centrepiece of the 40-acre uShaka Marine World, encompassing the Wet and Wild Water Park and the Village Walk Shopping Centre. The aquarium’s animal encounters promote sustainable use of the marine environment. The Ocean Walker experience enables you to don a tethered breathing helmet and stroll across the bottom of the Open Ocean Exhibit, home to rays and assorted pelagic fish that includes tuna, dorado, and sardines. Fancy something more toothy and primal? Step into a clear, enclosed cylinder and drop into the large shark tank as part of the Shark Dive Experience. No diving experience required (ages 12 and up).

Rickshaw Ride along the beachfront: There are only 20 or so registered rickshaw-pullers in Durban. They’re well-known for their magnificent head-dresses adorned with beads and other decorations. This is a great way to get around and unique to the coastal city.

Bungee jumping at Moses Mabhida Stadium: The stadium is a beautifully designed modern sports structure that’s well worth a visit. If you’re in need of an adrenalin boost, there’s a bungee swing from the top, or take the SkyCar to the viewing site on the stadium’s great arch for a 360-degree view of Durban and a great photographic opportunity.

Breakfast at an art gallery: Fancy some breakfast, or perhaps a hearty brunch? You could stay at uShaka, where there are many eateries to choose from, or pop up to the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts in Bulwer Road for a tasty meal under the trees, and then browse the gallery and ethnic craft shop for mementos afterwards.

Durban is the bunny chow capital: The city has many excellent curry restaurants that specialise in this spicy cuisine, and there are as many that have made seafood their main drawcard. A hollowed-out half-loaf filled with curry – a “bunny chow” or “bunny” – is a traditional way of enjoying a Durban curry. Locals cite Gounden’s in Umilo Road, Nita’s Curry Den in Brickfield Road and El Arish in Bluff Road as among the top eateries for this aromatic, filling treat.

Muse at the museums: In the city itself, historical points of interest on your itinerary might include the extravagant, neo-baroque City Hall, KwaMuhle Museum and the Old Court House Museum. But simply taking in the many examples of 1930s art-deco architecture with a walking-tour is worthwhile.