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Durban - South Africa

Durban - the Balmy, Holiday City South Africa's favourite playground and the busiest port in Africa, Durban began life as a remote trading outpost. Today the sunny city is a popular year-round holiday destination, prized for its balmy climate and superb surfing and swimming beaches. Although shopping, restaurants and nightlife are geared for the holidaymaker, Durban is also now positioning itself as the conference capital of South Africa - with its International Conference Centre ranking amongst the top facilities in the world.

Still, this subtropical city is synonymous with the ocean. UShaka, the southern hemisphere's greatest marine theme park, was recently opened and is a major attraction for tourists to the city. But if you'd like to get really personal with marine life, The Natal Sharks Board runs weekday boat tours for visitors to watch shark nets being cleared, as well as dolphin- and whale-watching trips on weekends. The annual winter sardine run is another marine spectacle, attracting visitors from across the globe.

Shopping is high on Durban's list of priorities and there's plenty to choose from. The Gateway Theatre of Shopping offers a grand combination of shopping and entertainment, and is the jewel of Durban's retail crown. The Pavilion also offers an exceptional shopping experience in a Victorian-look building, and The Workshop complex was created in the shell of Durban's original railway workshop. For a taste of real Durban, there's the Victoria Street Market, offering African and Indian wares. The Warwick Avenue Triangle is where herbalists and street vendors sell anything from traditional medicines and food to Zulu artwork, and Grey Street is a fabric buyer's Mecca.

No visit to this sunshine city is complete without exploring the Golden Mile. This beachfront stretch is where you can catch a rickshaw ride, buy a curio or enjoy a seafood or typical Indian meal with a view of the sea. Durban is heaven for hedonists, where all year is holiday season.

Don't miss: UShaka - the 16ha marine theme park. Whale-, dolphin- and shark-watching. Tasting bunny chow and many other Indian-flavoured dishes. Great seafood along the Golden Mile. Deep-sea fishing for game fish. The curious mix of Africa meets India in food, music and culture.