10 Facts: Durban
Durban has been selected as one of the 2010 FIFA World Cup host cities in South Africa. The Moses Mabhida Stadium has been newly built for this event (next to the ABSA stadium which houses the Sharks rugby team). To be honest, I have not been Durban in 6 years, even though its only a 1 hour flight from Johannesburg. I’m sure that I will visit this city again someday. Durban has been selected as the 10 Facts topic for today. Watch this space for regular 10 Facts updates.
Here are 10 Facts about Durban:
- The site of Durban was visited in 1497 by Portugeuse explorer Vasco da Gama, who named it Rio de Natal. Natal means “Christmas” in Portuguese.
- British Colonization of the region started in 1824. The settlement was called Port Natal. In 1835 the city was renamed to Durban (named after then Cape Colony governor Sir Benjamin d’Urban).
- Today Durban has a population of +/- 3.4 million people (according to 2007 sensus reports) and is the 3rd largest city in South Africa.
- Durban has the busiest container port in Africa.
- Durban harbor is the 9th largest harbor in the world.
- The Durban International Airport will decommissioned later in 2010. The newly built King Shaka International Airport is expected to open on the 1st of May 2010 (in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup). The new airport is situated 35 km North of the city in the La Mercy region.
- Persons of Indian / Pakistani decent make up 40% of Durban’s population.
- The Gateway shopping center is the largest shopping mall in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere and is situated in the Northern Durban suburb Umhlanga. The Gateway shopping center was modeled on the Mall of America, has more than 350 stores and more than 70 restaurants, 18 movie theatres, 6 Nouveau Cinemas, an IMAX theatre, a theme park, a 4000 square meter skate park (designed by Tony Hawk), the world’s highest indoor climbing rock and the highest fountain in Africa.
- Ushaka Marine World (in Durban) is the world’s 5th largest aquarium.
- The spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, Mahatma Ghandi began his political journey in Durban.