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Living in Durban?

Join InterNations to meet other expats where you live and read more articles like Living in Durban with relevant information for expats.

Elias Jaber

Living in South Africa, from Lebanon

"Due to my children, I was reluctant to move to Durban for my job, but fortunately, I found some other expats with kids soon. "

Johanna S. Mattikanen

Living in South Africa, from Finland

"As a trailing spouse on InterNations, I was happy to get involved in some community work with other expats in Durban. "

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Durban at a Glance

Living in Durban

Durban is a sunny seaside city, rich in diversity and warm not only because of its favorable climate, but especially for its welcoming people. Living in Durban guarantees top quality service and a wide range of opportunities all year round. Find out more in our expat guide!

Culture and Leisure

Durban got a new, state-of-the-art stadium for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the city as a whole benefited from the tournament. The refurbished Golden Mile beachfront area is now a social focus for the city. 

Durban Art Gallery is housed under an impressive dome at City Hall, and there are some good museums including the Natural Science Museum and the Campbell Collections, containing unique records of early Natal and Zulu culture.

There is plenty to do outdoors for expats living in Durban, with the Botanical Gardens of particular note, and hiking, surfing, and fishing opportunities, as well as diving instruction at the Calypso Dive & Adventure Centre. A tour with Natal Sharks Board Boat Tour gives the opportunity to see sharks being tagged for conservation. Life in Durban comes with plenty of sporting opportunities, both playing and watching, at low cost. Also worth visiting, the uShaka Marine World is a huge theme park with an aquarium.

Durban market is a food lover's dream, while the largest Indian community outside of India contributes to vibrant diversity. The downtown area has grand old colonial buildings mixed with art-deco architecture. 

Healthcare in Durban

There is a large gap in quality between public and private healthcare in South Africa. The public healthcare system suffers from a lack of facilities and over-crowding. Expats should only consider taking out insurance for private healthcare, as the standards are significantly higher and the cost is cheaper than in many parts of the world (although this is rising). Private medical facilities in Durban are of standards comparable to Europe or North America. 

To avoid large, sudden costs, private insurance should be comprehensive, to include both primary care and hospital care. Please note that some private insurers within South African require advanced notice of hospital treatment in order to pay the full bill. St. Augustine's Hospital and Westville Hospital are among the best private facilities in Durban.

Emergency numbers are: Ambulance Durban 10177. Cell phone 112. National 10111.

Transportation in Durban

Public transportation in Durban is not always safe or reliable. One exception is the tourist-focused People Mover bus system; this offers efficient, CCTV monitored buses on certain routes such as the central business district (CBD) to beachfront. People who are able to tend to drive, but during the day traffic in central Durban, including the CBD, can be congested. At night the streets are considered unsafe — doors should always be locked as car-jacking is a problem. 

Commuters often use minibus taxis, also known as combis, but the drivers can be erratic and using this method alone at night is not advised. Metered taxi with one of Durban's reputable operators (there are several) is a good option. They will be called for pick up rather than roving. 

South Africans drive on the left-hand side of the road.

InterNations Expat Magazine