I’m a born-and-bred Durbanite who resisted the exodus to move to the Big Smoke (Joburg), or the Mother City (Cape Town) after living abroad for a few years. Instead, I chose to make Durban – the city in South Africa ranked with the highest quality of life offering* – home. And I’ve never regretted it.
So when the team at Cheapflights asked me to give them one of my fave Durban spots, I was spoiled for choice! I went with the Station Drive Precinct, as it covers a myriad Durban highlights for me.
Durban has the trifecta of tourist attractions on its doorstep – beach, bush and berg, but it’s the vibe of the inner city which holds my attention most. Over the past few years, a resurrection of sorts has occurred which has seen small business flourish, artisan goods develop and creativity thrive. None more so than the explosion of activity in the Station Drive Precinct, a seemingly non-descript crescent of warehouses and previously unloved buildings, which now plays home to over 40 businesses ranging from tech startups and restaurants, to jewellers and furniture stores, with a distillery and a brewery thrown in for good measure (and the odd after work drink or ten).
But they haven’t just moved in and set up shop, they’ve created a community, an environment for collaboration, a disruption to the norm of corporate bullshit which is so prevalent in the usual 9-5 day-to-day menagerie. With graffitied walls featuring local artists, pod retail spaces for small businesses to rent and find their feet, art galleries and coffee shops set up around discarded tyre tables, this is the the heart of creative Durban right now. Each Sunday you can buy local produce and support small food vendors at The Morning Trade Market. Every First Thursday of the month, traders stay open until 10pm for a festival which might feature street salsa, live graffiti, skateboarding demos, art exhibitions, a roller rink, big screen movies, or a painting class.
But on any given day, you could also pick up a coffee from Fortune Café, browse for local design at Shoppe, mosey across a warehouse filled with homeware treasures at Con Amore, pick through the second hand gems at The Vintager and then pick up a handmade piece of jewellery around the corner at Michele Robyn Jewellery. Fill your tummy with a Durban burger from S43, wash it all down with Durban’s very own 031 Gin from Distillery 031 and you’ve got a day in Durban waxed.
This is my Durban, a melting pot of creativity, cool people and delicious food.
Hope you visit us soon.
Check out the abbreviated article on the Cheapflights site, along with some other recommendations by Durban locals of their fave spots: https://www.cheapflights.co.za/news/top-things-to-do-in-durban-according-to-our-experts/
*As classified by the annual Mercer report, which ranks world cities according to the quality of life they offer residents.
Image of Nicola Ashe by Grant Payne, all other images taken by Nicola Ashe.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Cheapflights. The article is 100% written by Nicola Ashe and she is identified as the author. No words or subject matter were suggested and all opinions are those of Nicola.