Images of Southern Africa - Durban


Durban is one of South Africa’s oldest cities, tracing its history back to a visit by Vasco da Gama in 1492. It was named after the British Governor of the Cape in the 1830s, D’Urban. Currently South Africa’s third largest city, Durban has a population estimated to be around 2.6 million (2001). Around one-third of these are under the age of 18 and approximately 1 million are of Indian origin.

This photograph shows recent developments along the so called ‘Golden Mile’- the Indian Ocean beach front developed to meet the needs of a growing tourist industry.

Over 6.5 million tourists visited South Africa in 2002 and of these, approximately 1 million visited KwaZulu-Natal. Access to spaces such as beaches was strictly controlled under the apartheid regime until 1994. Prior to this date opportunities for the non-white South African population to engage in sport and leisure were severely limited. (See also Apartheid sign.)

Ideas for further exploration:

  • Durban is rapidly becoming one of South Africa’s major tourist locations. Can you outline three major advantages that help to explain this aspect of the city’s development? (Hint: Think of it in terms of its local as well as international market and also its climate and what it has to offer visitors.)
  • Nearly half of Durban’s population is of Indian origin. Can you find out why the large numbers of Indians migrated to KwaZulu-Natal in the nineteenth century?
  • As well as beaches, what other geographical spaces were ‘forbidden’ to blacks under the apartheid laws?
  • When did the first black Africans play either rugby or cricket for South Africa and who were they?

<<< back to image menu

Comment on this page

Comments made by GA members appear instantly and don't require security words to be entered - make sure you're logged in! Guest comments will be sent to a moderator for approval.


  • Primary Geography
  • Teaching Geography
  • Geography

Free access to subscribers

Online shop

Geography gives you options...

Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4

Geography gives you options...

£12.99 £8.99*
GA Full and Concessionary Members

  • Visit the Discover the World website for geography resources
Receive our email newsletters

Sign up to our email newsletter for all the latest news and updates throughout the year.