Iconic family destinations to visit in Durban and surrounds

It’s time for a family holiday and where better to visit than beautiful Durban? With warm weather, beautiful beaches and plenty of activities for all ages to do, Durban is a fantastic local holiday spot for travelling with little ones. It’s also a lot more affordable to fly to Durban and rent a car than it would be to book a holiday somewhere like Mauritius or Zanzibar.

We recently ventured up to Durbs with our little one and here’s our list of the best kid-friendly activities (aside from the beach of course) to enjoy in South Africa’s friendly city.

uShaka Marine World

When you’re in Durban make sure you dedicate an entire day to exploring uShaka Marine World. Here you can make a splash on the slides and in the pools at uShaka Wet ‘n Wild, see the fish at uShaka Sea World, swing from the trees at uShaka Chimp & Zee and enjoy a spot of shopping or a meal at uShaka Village Walk. There is also a kid’s world to play around in, dolphin and penguin shows to enjoy and even a restaurant alongside the shark tank to enjoy. A truly unique experience you won’t want to miss!


Monkeyland KZN


Just outside of Ballito and about half an hour from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport you will find Monkeyland KZN. A great activity to enjoy with older children especially, this animal sanctuary provides a home for monkeys from around the world. Venture into a secret forest in search of spider monkeys, gibbons, lemurs, capuchins and more, all of whom roam free in their new home. Walking amidst the tropical vegetation you never know who is about to swing from the trees, making for an authentic and exciting experience with these beautiful creatures. 

Umgeni Steam Railway

If your kids love trains then be sure to go to Inchanga and take a trip on the Umgeni Steam Railway. Trips run on the last Sunday of every month as well as some special event days, with a stop at the Inchanga market where you and the family can browse the food stalls, enjoy a picnic, and shop for local crafts.


Minitown on Snell Parade in Durban has been welcoming families since the 70s. The tiny town is created to resemble a coastal town with accurately scaled down buildings and some replicas of iconic South African landmarks. It even has its very own harbour and working railways. Your kids will feel like giants exploring this miniature city!


Umgeni River Bird Parkumgeni-bird-park-durban

Open daily from 9am to 4pm, the Umgeni River Bird Park will introduce your children to over 200 different species of birds from all around the world, some of which are the only ones of their kind in Africa. Education is a big part of the experience at the bird park so be sure to spend some time reading all about the different birds on display and don’t forget to stay for the free flight bird show at 11am or 2pm where you will get up close and personal with some of the park’s most enigmatic inhabitants.

Sugar Rush Park

Also in Ballito, Sugar Rush Park is an island of fun and adventure for the whole family. Enjoy a coffee, go for a mountain bike, watch the kids play on the impressive jungle gym, taste some local wines, jump around in the trampoline park, play a game of laser tag, take to the trees on an obstacle course, or make some magical unicorn slime! The choice is yours.

Flag Animal Farm


On the outskirts of Ballito, Flag Animal Farm provides a home to over 1,000 animals including farmyard favourites, some rarer creatures and numerous birds and reptiles. This is a real farm experience where you and your children can wander between the chickens and rabbits, stopping to feed pellets and carrots to them along the way. There’s also pony rides, tractor trips, animal talks, reptile displays, playgrounds and even a splash park to enjoy.

pheZulu Safari Park

phezulu-crocodile-durbanLocated in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, pheZulu Safari Park is the ideal place to introduce your little ones to the wild world. Go on a guided 4×4 drive in an open vehicle, explore the reserve on a Segway and see the crocodiles and snakes in the reptile park. pheZulu also offers a unique way to introduce your children to different cultures with their interactive Zulu dancing and drumming show.

Tips for making the most of your Durban family holiday:

Now that you know where to take the family the next time you’re in Durban, here are some tips and tricks for making the most of the experience:

  • The above attractions can get very busy, especially on weekends or during school outings so we recommend getting in early or going later in the day to make the most of the experience and avoid the heat of the day.
  • Pack snacks and water. The weather in Durban can be pretty sweltering, especially in summer and thirsty, hungry children are not happy ones. Be sure to pack plenty of food and water for the road.
  • While car seats can generally be rented with your car hire we recommend packing a pram and a baby carrier especially if your kids are very small. There’s nothing worse than carrying your tired kid around all day but a good pram or baby carrier will leave you free to move around and give your child a space to crash if they need it.
  • Always pack a costume, towel and a change of clothes. In Durban the beach is never far away and you never know when you may want to cool off with a quick dip. Many of the kid’s attractions also have splash pools or fountains where your children may want to play so a costume and change of clothes is essential.
  • Take your chargers with you and book a modern rental with USB charging capabilities. You’ll need your phone for navigating (Durban’s road network can be confusing) as well as capturing those special family memories so make sure it’s always fully charged.

This post was sponsored by SANI. The SANI brand was established in 1997. SANI Car Rental is a South African homegrown car rental company. Vehicles available to rent include compact cars, economy cars, premium cars, people carriers and SUVs. SANI Car Rental serves customers throughout South Africa including at all major local and international airports. Visit SANI Car Rental at King Shaka International Airport in Durban.

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