The City of Durban, or Ethekwini, is a place of fusion. It is the largest city in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. The city has an intense gusto for life and has a diverse range of cultures. Durban is the venue for one of the two semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup and, with its humid weather, it is bound to be a tourist hot spot during the tournament.
Durban, which is also a port city, is the busiest port in Africa. You can take a ride on a rickshaw, a distinctive Durban experience, with the drivers decorated in ornate headdresses. At the very heart of Durban is the 'golden mile', a four kilometer stretch of beaches, promenades, swimming pools and restaurants. The water is warmed by the Aghulas current and even during winter, the water temperature averages at 15°C making it ideal for year-round swimming.
UShaka Marine World is Africa's largest Marine-themed park. Within the park is one of the five largest aquariums in the world.
Durban hosted the Preliminary Draw on 25 November 2007. Durban is also a gateway to the Zulu Kingdom, where tourists can experience the intensity of Zulu culture. The city is also a good base from which to explore two UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park has various landforms such as coral reefs, coastal dunes, lake systems, swamps, and reed and papyrus wetlands. The Ukahlamba/Drakensberg National Park has dramatic blue mountains and the largest concentration of rock paintings south of the Sahara.
The long history of human activity in the area is evident on rock art found in caves in the uKhahlamba/ Drakensberg National Park. The San lived in these mountains for four millennia and they documented their history in rock art. This discovery has since led to the inclusion of the uKhahlamba/ Drakensberg National Park as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Zulu nation originally migrated south from the Great Lakes region as part of the Nguni migration. They settled in the area now known as KwaZulu-Natal and many great leaders, including Shaka, have led the Zulu nation into historically revered battles.
On 25 December 1497, a Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama anchored in a natural lagoon which would become the site of present-day Durban. He thought the lagoon was a river and named it Rio de Natal (Christmas River), but it was later corrected and changed to Port Natal. Port Natal became Durban on 23 June 1835, in honour of the Cape Governor, Sir Benjamin D'Urban.
Durban is home to two Premier Soccer League clubs, Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United.
The city is said to have hosted South Africa's first football league in 1882, which comprised four clubs: Pietermaritzburg County, Natal Wasps, Durban Alpha and Umgeni Stars.
Durban has produced numerous South African championship-winning sides but in recent years its teams have struggled to preserve their top flight statuses. Zulu Royals were the first winners of the National Professional Soccer League in 1971.
After the major leagues unified, Durban Bush Bucks and Manning Rangers both won the championship. Durban City and Durban United, which are now both defunct, were frequent league and cup winners in the National Football League.
Durban is the birthplace of the former Zimbabwe international goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, who, while at Liverpool, added his name to a rare list of Africans who have played for teams which won the European Cup. The city has also produced talented football players such as Sibusiso Zuma, Siyabonga Nomvete and Delron Buckley.
Durban hosted group, quarter-final and semi-final games in the 1996 CAF Africa Cup of Nations. The city also hosted South Africa's game against England in 2003, which helped launch the country's bid for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. England won the encounter 2-1.