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What You Need to Know When You’re Moving to Durban

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  • Elias Jaber

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

Relocating to Durban

About the City

Relocation to Durban is made easier by the fact that South Africa is an English speaking country. Expats who move to Durban also find that the multicultural community in the city makes settling in easier. Over half the population is black African, mainly Zulu, 20% Indian or other Asian origin, and the rest largely made up of white South African plus a considerable expat community, particularly British. Durban is a young city, with a median age of around 25.

Durban is the third richest city in South Africa and also the third largest, comparable to Cape Town. It is important as a center of industry, manufacturing and trade, particularly because of its busy ports. It is located on South Africa’s east coast in KwaZulu-Natal province, around 580 km (360 miles) south east of Johannesburg.

The Climate in Durban

Summers are sunny, hot and humid and last from November to mid-April. Afternoon or evening thunderstorms are common, relieving the humidity, and Durban occasionally experiences tropical storms during this season. Winters, which are from June to August, are warm and sunny.

The weather is one major advantage of a move to Durban, with residents able to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle all year round. Durban has an annual rainfall of 1,009 millimeters (39.7 in), and an average temperature in summer of around 28°C (82°F). The average temperature in winter is 20°C (68°F) and frost is very rare.

Finding Accommodation

Rent prices and general cost of living in South Africa are cheaper than many expats will be used to.

The huge disparity between different areas in terms of security and comfort is a major consideration when choosing where to live in Durban. The beachfront area is well policed and central, but also noisier. The property type in this area is mostly apartments with a cost of 400–900 USD per month. The North Coast beach areas are also a safe residential option, with similar prices.

Durban North is a popular residential choice, around 11 km (7 miles) north of the center and with larger properties. Just south of this is Morningside, and like Durban North it is popular with young families due to its excellent schools. Further north up the coast, Umhlanga and La Lucia are affluent and popular places to live, although they are over ten miles out from the city center. Closer in, Musgrave and The Berea on a ridge overlooking the coast are exclusive areas, where a multi-bedroom town house can be rented for under 1,000 USD per month.

24 km (15 miles) inland is Kloof, a tranquil, green suburb described as one of the most attractive residential areas in the city and a choice for many expats.

For rental listing and advice, try Private Property or Property 24.

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  • Elias Jaber

    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

    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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