How to Pull off a Weekend in Durban for under R1000
So you’ve saved up a little cash, browsed the Greyhound website for a convenient route and a great price on tickets, and are looking forward to the perfect mini-getaway in sunny KwaZulu-Natal – where winter borders on the non-existent. But even with Greyhound’s low ticket prices and awesome specials (did you know that students, senior citizens, children and groups get an automatic discount?), travelling isn’t cheap. On a shoestring budget, how are you supposed to even enjoy your time in Durban? Simple – just be savvy and hustle a little bit. Do your research before you head off, and get to know the local haunts that are not just memorable, but budget-friendly too. With a little creative thinking, it is possible to enjoy a full weekend in Durban for under R1000!
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Tip #1: Hustle for Accommodation
After travel fares, the most expensive part of any holiday is usually the accommodation. One option is to call up those old varsity friends, grannies and aunties who live in Durban and stay with them. But in case you’re out of friends to visit, using the internet to find a place that suits your budget is easier than ever before, and you may even be able to find accommodation for free. Try Couchsurfing.com to find locals in any area in the world who are willing to host you (usually for free), or start browsing Airbnb for accommodation in your price range. From hotels and bed and breakfasts to apartments and spare rooms, you’re sure to find something in your budget.
Tip #2: Eat for Cheap
Durban is famed (and rightly so) for its thousands of curry shops and bunny chow vendors, and if you do a little poking around on the internet (or better yet – ask the locals!), you’re bound to find some great deals all over town. The legendary Britannia Hotel on Umgeni Road is famed for some of the best and cheapest Indian fare anywhere, so that’s a good place to start. If you’re a keen beach-bum and plan on spending most of your weekend on North Beach soaking up the sun, you could also try Surf Riders Food Shack, which makes mouth-watering burgers and pizzas for between R45 and R70. On Saturday mornings, the area in front of the Moses Mabhida Stadium also plays host to the I Heart Market, one of Durban’s biggest and best food and craft markets – a definite must-see and a great place for budget eating.
Friday: Famous Florida Road
You could easily spend an entire day exploring Florida Road in detail. It’s packed with restaurants, bars and clubs, and you can find some great drinks specials on the weekends, as well as some of Durban’s best-priced and most authentic curries and bunny chows. From stand-up comedy to live music to hardcore clubbing, you’re bound to find something to do on this bustling strip. We definitely recommend Dropkick Murphy’s for dangerously good weekday Happy Hour specials between 5pm and 6pm.
Saturday: Back to Nature
Durban’s sub-tropical climate means that it is a hot-bed of interest for nature lovers, and there are several options for spending time enjoying the natural beauty that KZN has to offer. Visit the Durban botanical Gardens for an eye-opening tour of the province’s impressive plant life, and don’t forget to pack a picnic. Another natural spectacle you’re unlikely to have seen before are Durban’s famous Mangrove swamps. Visit the Beachwood Mangrove Nature Reserve, where red, white and black mangroves flourish just a stone’s throw from Durban. Walk along the mud-free boardwalks and marvel at this incredible wetland environment, where a number of wading birds, crustaceans, mudskippers and other critters can be spotted.
If you prefer an indoor nature experience, you might consider visiting the Durban Natural Science Museum, one of the best in the country, which plays host to 295,000 visitors every year.
Best of all, the Natural Science Museum, Botanical Gardens and the Beachwood Mangrove Nature Reserve all offer free entry!
Sunday: Hit the Promenade
Refurbished for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the beachfront is one of Durban’s most happening spots, and is extremely pocket-friendly too. Unlike Cape Town’s pricey beaches, Durban’s promenade caters to all income brackets and walks of life – you’ll find a five-star hotel next to a favourite neighbourhood fish ‘n chips shop, and a whole host of other cheap entertainment options.
Bicycles can be cheaply rented right on the beach (try the Bike & Bean for a mean espresso with your bike ride), and are a great way to get around and see the sights. If you ride along the beachfront at the right time of day (usually early morning or late afternoon), you might even get a free workout in one of the promenade’s famous pop-up yoga or Zumba classes.
Editorial Credit: Icswart/Shutterstock.com
Saving money while on holiday is all about doing your homework. If you know ahead of time how you’re going to spread your budget, and where it is possible to save cash without compromising on enjoyment, you’re guaranteed a good time and a healthy wallet when you get back!
Visit our Route Map to find out how to get from wherever you are to sunny Durban for the best possible price, and start planning your dream mid-winter getaway!