Durban: 10 Facts You Might Not Have Known

Durban was as one of the 2010 FIFA World Cup host cities in South Africa. The Moses Mabhida Stadium was built for this event (next to the ABSA stadium which houses the Sharks rugby team).

To be honest, I have not been in this city in 16 years, even though its only a 1 hour flight from Johannesburg. I’m sure that I will visit this city again someday.


Here are 10 Facts you might not have known about Durban:

1. The site was first visited in 1497 by Portugeuse explorer Vasco da Gama, who named it Rio de Natal. Natal means “Christmas” in Portuguese.

2. 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).

3. Today Durban has a population of +/- 3.7 million people (according to 2018 sensus reports) and is the 3rd largest city in South Africa.

4. The city has the busiest container port in Africa.

5. Durban harbor is the 9th largest harbor in the world.

6. The Durban International Airport was decommissioned in 2010. The newly built King Shaka International Airport opened it’s doors in May 2010 (just in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup). The new airport is situated 35 km North of the city in the La Mercy region.

King Shaka Airport - Durban

7. Persons of Indian / Pakistani decent make up 40% of Durban’s population.

8. The Gateway shopping center is the 2nd largest shopping mall in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere and is situated in the Northern suburb of 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.

9. Ushaka Marine World is the world’s 5th largest aquarium.

10. The spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, Mahatma Ghandi began his political journey here.

Well, there you have it, 10 facts you might not have known about Durban. If you ever feel like visiting Durban, make sure that you book accommodation first, it’s quite a popular tourist destination in South Africa.

Watch this space for updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.


Henno Kruger

Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Briget

    11. Home of the Johnny’s Roti <- you cant come and go without having one 😉
    12. Bunny chow.. not the chocolate pooping kind.. more of the ringsting in bread, dab-dab dont wipe kind..

    My additions revolve around food, I know. I must be hungry 😉
    .-= Briget´s last blog ..Broken Easter Eggs.. =-.

    1. Running Wolf

      Briget: Thank you for your contributions Durbanite 🙂

  2. Phillip Gibb

    and the most important fact: I grew up there.
    .-= Phillip Gibb´s last blog ..Lucas Film Reel (GenArts Sapphire) =-.

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