Moving to Durban

South Africa’s third largest city, Durban is the exotic jewel in Africa’s eastern coast.

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This busy port town has well established links with India and other nations across the ocean all of which has influenced the city’s vibrant culture from its architecture to its culinary scene. While the city’s reputation for crime has been poor, the situation has much improved over the last five years, although most expats still choose to live in secure communities and take common sense precautions when travelling the city.With a beautiful coastline, a tropical climate and endless opportunities to get out into the great outdoors, Durban offers an attractive, relaxed lifestyle for British expats

Durban Suburb Profiles


Close to the city centre with stunning views of the harbour, Berea is one of the most sought after areas in Durban. There is an incredible array of amenities including the Greyville Racecourse, Kings Park Rugby Club and the Botanical Gardens as well as the prestigious Royal Golf Club and Musgrave Shopping Centre.


A little further west of the city lies the leafy suburb of Pinetown, an increasingly popular destination for expats moving to Durban and has good links to the major highways. There are also some good local private schools and plenty for families such as the Lahee Park Sport Complex and nearby New Germany Nature Park.


For looking to enjoy a slightly more rural location, Ballito is situated on a beautiful stretch of the Indian Ocean waterfront known as the Dolphin Coast due to the abundant whales and dolphins that live in the clear waters. About 40 minutes from the city centre, it offers a wide range of accommodation and some excellent restaurants and nightlife.


Another pretty coastal town just 20 minutes north of Durban, Umhlanga is particularly popular with expat families and retirees. There are plenty of attractive houses and apartments and the nearby Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve Nature Trail and beachfront promenade are perfect for weekend wanders.

Transport / Getting  Around Durban

As one of South Africa’s most important cities, Durban has a comprehensive and well connected road system with major highways linking western, northern and southern suburbs. Driving is reasonably safe and easy in Durban, although sensible precautions such as keeping doors locked and removing valuables when leaving the car are advisable. The ubiquitous minibus taxis are popular with locals but are generally overcrowded and more unpredictable compared to the metered taxis that can be booked in advance. The People Mover bus service, set up in preparation for the 2010 World Cup, links most major points of interest around the city. Durban is well connected to the rest of South Africa by both road and rail, particularly due to its status as a major port city. The new King Shaka International Airport offers direct flights across South Africa and further afield to Dubai and Mauritius.

Leisure Activities and Things to Do in Durban

The idyllic climate and landscape make Durban the perfect place to get outdoors and there are plenty of parks such as the beautiful Botanical Gardens which has an unrivalled collection of ancient cycads and exotic orchids. Roughly 200 kilometres from Durban, uKhahlamba/Drakensberg National Park is home to the biggest mountain in Southern Africa as well as spectacular game reserves and wilderness areas and has been named a World Heritage Site in honour of its unique beauty. For sun-seekers, the Golden Mile coastline boasts some stunning beaches as well as play parks, cafes and shops. There are plenty of child-friendly days out for families moving to Durban. The huge uShaka Marine World boasts an aquarium and waterpark amongst its attractions and has excellent conservational credentials. Crocodile Creek is tropical bushland nature reserve with thousands of crocodiles, alligators, caymans and snakes as well as picturesque hiking trails. Durban is also a city obsessed by sport and, whether it’s jogging and swimming yourself fit or watching a cricket or soccer match at Moses Madhiba Stadium, you’re bound to catch the bug too. On a rare rainy day, head to Gateway Mall to indulge your retail needs or visit one of the array of attractions including an indoor surf ride and theme park.

Fun facts about Durban

  • First opened in the 1840’s, Durban Port is the busiest in Africa and 9th largest harbour in the world.
  • One of Africa’s best surf destinations, Durban is known as ‘Surf City’ with good reason. It is also the childhood home of famous surfer Shaun Thomson.
  • The father of the Indian independence movement, Mahatma Ghandi began his career as a lawyer in Durban.
  • The first steam railway in South Africa was opened in Durban in 1860. While only 8 km long, it paved the way for rail travel in the continent.

Other Popular Destinations


Before moving to South Africa, it is important to ensure that you have all the proper applications in order and all documentation in hand. You will need to contact the local South African consulate for assistance. The consulate can approve your work permit before arriving which will save you time and stress during your move. You can also contact our experienced Move Managers who can provide expert advice regarding the import of your items into South Africa and guide you through every step of the moving process.

At John Mason, we understand that tracking your shipment during an international move is important. That’s why we provide regular updates on the status of your shipment throughout the move. Our Move Managers will keep you informed of the progress of your shipment and provide you with a tracking number that you can use to monitor the status of your shipment online. You can also contact your Move Manager at any time if you have any questions or concerns about your shipment. At destination, our local agents will contact you to arrange delivery and provide you with an estimated delivery date.

Our Accreditations

As one of the leading providers of overseas removals and relocation services on a national and international scale, we pride ourselves on offering a professional and friendly service. We have been recognised as one of the leading international moving companies and are proud of our credentials and the quality standard they represent. In 2023, we became the most trusted moving company in the UK.
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