When you alight from your MSC cruise in Durban – South Africa’s third-largest city and the continent’s largest port – you will be captured by its tropical colours and holidaying people.
A shore excursion on your MSC South Africa cruise can be the opportunity to discover Durban’s second-largest ethnic group, its Indian population, whose mosques, bazaars and temples are juxtaposed with the Victorian buildings of the colonial centre.
The pulsing warren of bazaars, alleyways and mosques that makes up the Indian area around Dr Yusuf Dadoo Street is ripe for exploration, and there are some excellent restaurants around Durban’s photogenic harbour area. Durban’s city centre grew around the arrival point of the first white settlers, and the remains of the historical heart are concentrated around Francis Farewell Square.
Durban’s expansive beachfront on the eastern edge of the centre has one of the city’s busiest concentrations of restaurants, a surfeit of tacky family entertainment. Durban’s beachfront, a high-energy holiday strip just east of the centre, is South Africa’s most developed seaside. MSC South Africa cruises also offer excursions to the 6km-stretch of the beach from the Umgeni River in the north to the Point in the south, traditionally called the Golden Mile.
The big draw of Addington Beach – and the only really worthwhile attraction along the beachfront – is instead uShaka Marine World. This impressive water adventure wonderland is a tropical African theme park, complete with palm trees, fake rock formations and thatched bomas. The most appealing section is uShaka Sea World, designed in and around a superb mock-up of a wrecked 1920s cargo ship. The complex also includes a dolphin stadium and a seal pool, where daily shows (three a day) feature these creatures, as well as uShaka Wet ’n Wild, a series of pools and water slides, including The Drop Zone, the highest water slide in Africa.