Looking for ways to keep the children busy during the school holidays? Of course you are. Here are 11 cool things to do with your kids in Durban during the holidays.
(Please note that the prices below are subject to change at the organisers’ discretion, so we advise giving them a call or checking their website before travelling).
Also read: a family-friendly guide to Durban
Things to do with your kids in Durban
1. Take a hike in Umhlanga
A great (and affordable) idea for a family day trip is to head to the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve and stroll through the coastal dune forest and across the Ohlange River towards the Umhlanga Lagoon. The guided walk is half an hour long, so it shouldn’t be too strenuous for little hikers. The Reserve is brimming with over 208 bird species as well as plenty of small mammals. Keep your eyes open for vervet monkeys and blue and red duiker. The route is well-marked but walking through the reserve alone is at your own risk.
Guided walks: Bookings must be made a day in advance by calling the Breakers Resort front desk on 031 561 2271. Please contact the desk for the latest prices.
Contact Umhlanga Tourism
Are you hunting for a new school for your child? Then maybe you’d like to compare your expectations of school fees with the most expensive schools in SA.
2. Visit the People’s Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium
Take the kids to the People’s Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium. There is a kid’s play area for under 12s, expansive lawns and a kilometre-long track. Parking is right at the playground, which is made secure for the tiny tots by a little fence. There is a huge space on marble-like paving for the older ones to skateboard and ride bikes down the ramps of the stadium. They’ve got an extensive plan for the holidays: have a look at the holiday schedule here.
Tel 031 322 9955, www.mmstadium.com
3. Take the family to Funworld
Durban Funworld may seem like an obvious addition to this list but, hey, there’s no doubt it will be a huge hit with the kids. Plus, it’s actually quite affordable. And during the school holidays, Funworld will be open until late every day. Be sure to take a family ride on the aerial cableway overlooking the city, the tilt-a-whirl or the swing boat. Or why not have a family bumper car battle at the Dodgems Arcade?
Tel 031 332 9776 / 304 4934, or visit mmstadium.com
4. Splash around at uShaka Marine World
A visit to uShaka Marine World is a must on the to-do list. It’s one of those places that will leave the entire family entertained. Swing by the Sea World aquarium and marvel at the incredible sea creatures or take things a step further and get wet in a world of slides and pools (including the highest slide in the Southern Hemisphere) at Wet ‘n Wild. And if you need to get the kids out of your hair, uShaka Kids World has an awesome play area and offers several fun activities and adventures for children.
5. Visit the Virginia Nature Reserve
A moderate walk is a great way to drain off some pent-up energy. The Virginia Nature Reserve is 38ha reserve in the heart of Durban North. Once inside the gates, your kids will forget they are in the city and Dora the Explorer adventures take over. On a great day, you’ll see blue duikers, mongoose and some rare species on this popular bird-watching site. To reach the reserve, take exit number 5 off the M4 to Hinton Grove Road in Durban North (to Virginia Airport). Make sure to enter via the main entrance on Hinton Grove Road, which is five minutes from the freeway.
6. Go biking at Giba Gorge
Take advantage of Durban’s fantastic winter weather and get outdoors. The Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park in Hillcrest is an awesome place for you and the kids to shake off extra adrenaline that’s been building up during the school term. Giba Gorge sports an excellent BMX track and a 40km mountain bike trail that slithers through the wooded farmlands overlooking the Umtamvuma River Gorge. Giba Gorge also has a restaurant, an art gallery and picnic areas. BMX and mountain bike clinics are also offered.
7. Confront crocodiles and snakes at PheZulu Safari Park
Nestled in the Valley of 1000 Hills just over half an hour’s drive from Durban, PheZulu Safari Park is an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Apart from the breathtaking beauty of the area, the park’s highlight is definitely its menagerie of crocodiles and snakes. If the kids like facing up to all sorts of creepy creatures, a visit to the PheZulu Crocodile and Snake Park will be a treat. Please keep a look out for Ramesis their 90-year-old Nile crocodile, and Cleo their 42kg Burmese python.
8. Take a trip on Umgeni Steam Railway
Grab the kids and creep through the Valley of 1000 Hills on a vintage steam train on the Umgeni railway, one of the country’s oldest railway lines. The train journey is from Kloof Station to Inchanga Station and back on the last Sunday of every month. The trains leave Kloof Station at 8:30am and 12:30pm and take half a day. There are also special school holiday train on Saturday 4 July (10:30 and 14:30 departures). At Inchanga Station, you’ll find a craft market, picnic area and pony rides. When you get back to Kloof Station, be sure to pop into the Stokers Arms pub.
Tickets cost R200 per adult and R140 per child (ages 2 to 12).
9. Play a round of paintball at Hillcrest Paintball
Hillcrest Paintball is a must-visit if you and the little ones are a tad bit trigger-happy. It has two arenas for distinct types of paintball warfare: one offers you an African bush experience while another is for SWAT-team-style battle. Hillcrest Paintball also has a pro shop, a tuck shop and braai facilities. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Tel 074 172 1309, or visit hillcrestpaintball.co.za
10. Get drumming at The Drumshack
If your kid is the musical type (or if you just need some musical therapy) you can do worse than taking part in a djembe drumming circle. This is one of those activities that’s not too much of a hassle to organise – the Drumshack in Morningside has interactive shows every Sunday evening – and it’s super-fun for both young and old. If you haven’t taken part in a drumming session, you have no idea what you’re missing. It’s extremely energising and a great way for the family to bond over a cool activity.
11. Walk among the ‘living fossils’ at the Durban Botanical Gardens
The Durban Botanical Gardens are Africa’s oldest surviving botanical gardens and house one of the world’s top collections of “living fossil” plants: pre-dinosaur cycads extend back 250 million years. Spend a few hours with the family walking through the gardens, or make some sandwiches and have a picnic. The Gardens’ cycad forest is a bit like stepping onto the set of Jurassic Park. No dinosaurs here, but the pink-backed pelicans sitting in the trees do look eerily like pterodactyls.
Follow us on social media for more travel news, inspiration, and guides. You can also tag us to be featured.
ALSO READ: 10 Places to visit in Mpumalanga