Durban has always been the event capital of South Africa. Its warm, ideal climate and excellent infrastructure has set the scene for an exciting array of activities for people as spectators or participants. You will see below a few of the city’s major event attractions; but rest assured whenever you are in Durban there will be an event just waiting for you!


ESSENCE Festival

November 2016

Laid back and vibey, Duban is the ideal city in Southern Africa to host the first ESSENCE Festival outside the US in the event’s 22 year history. 

Essence Durban will headline high-powered music concerts with top artists from the stages of the world as well as leading performers from South Africa and the rest of Africa. In addition, major exhibitions, empowerment seminars and Gospel music will fill the action packed calender.  Essence Durban will run from 8-13 November and will become a signature event for the city.

Durban July

2 July 2016

The Durban July Handicap is a South African thoroughbred horse race held annually on the first Saturday of July since 1897 at Greyville Racecourse in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Raced on turf, the Durban July Handicap is open to horses of all ages. It is South Africa’s premier horse racing event and currently offers a purse of R3.5 million.

First held in July 1897 at a distance of 1 mile (approx 1600m), the distance was modified several times until 1970 when it was changed to its current 2200 meters (11 furlongs).

56,000 people are expected at Greyville to witness South Africa’s best thoroughbreds storm down the home straight to the finish of the race. A variety of packages are also available in hospitality areas throughout the racecourse but these should be secured in advance.

For the more casual racegoer there will be bars and food vendors throughout the course serving a wide variety of meal options.

The Red Carpet area is a public area situated on the golf course behind the main stage, where you can grab a bite to eat and something to drink, watch the racing and entertainment on the big screen and take a bet in your own tote facilities.

Even if you haven’t secured reservations, there are many casual restaurants, including Greyville’s popular Al Fresco area, The Paddock, where you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

Hindu Festival

Holi is a Hindu festival or celebration is also known as the festival of colours and is celebrated annually in Durban. It is a time when both male and female, the young and old come together, to paint each other and have good, clean fun. The festival of Holi is celebrated in March the day after the full moon and is celebrated over two days. In Durban, Holi is celebrated on one day, usually a Sunday. The celebration of Holi in Durban goes back to the arrival of the Indian indentured labourers who carried with them their traditions and cultures which was passed on from generation to generation.

The festival of Holi is celebrated at stadiums or temples in Durban and is more popular among the Hindi speaking community of the Indian population.

Durban Sandcastle Contest

Durban’s beachfront has always been a haven for families, friends and solo sun bathers alike. In the last ten years, the sandcastles of old have had a facelift. Silhouettes depicting numerous city landmarks such as the Moses Mabhida stadium, alongside life size interpretations of our wildlife, as well as newsworthy icons or events from Amy Winehouse to the Rugby World Cup, have all appeared built out of sand on the beachfront. These sandcastles have become both synonymous with the coastline and an integral part of a process, developing Durban’s beachfront into a visual treat.

This event brings some 450 participants to Durban’s New Beach (Fan Park) and is the largest sandcastle competition in KwaZulu Natal. Entry into the competition is free, but is limited to the available plots.

Comrades Marathon

29 May 2016

The Comrades Marathon is an ultramarathon of approximately 89 km (approx. 56 miles) which is run annually in between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It is the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon race. The direction of the race alternates each year between the “up” run (87 km) starting from Durban and the “down” run (89 km) starting from Pietermaritzburg.

The race was the idea of First World War veteran Vic Clapham, who wanted a living memorial to South African soldiers killed in the war. Clapham, who had endured a 2 700-kilometre route march through sweltering German East Africa, wanted the memorial to be a unique test of the physical endurance of the entrants. The constitution of the race states that one of its primary aims is to “celebrate mankind’s spirit over adversity”.

The Comrades Marathon first took place in 1921 and has been run every year since, except from 1941 to 1945 when it was stopped during the Second World War.

The field is capped at 23,000 runners, and entrants hail from more than 60 countries. In all but three runnings since 1988, over 10,000 runners have reached the finish within the allowed 11 or 12 hours.

Run on the roads of KwaZulu-Natal Province, the race is marked by “The Big Five” set of hills. On the up run they appear in the following order: Cowies Hill, Field’s Hill, Botha’s Hill, Inchanga, and Polly Shortts.

Athletes currently have 12 hours to complete the course, extended from 11 hours in 2003. There are a number of cut-off points along the routes which runners must reach by a prescribed time or be forced to retire from the race. A runner who has successfully completed nine marathons wears a yellow number, while those who have completed ten races wear a green number, permanently allocated to the runner for all future races.
Medals are awarded to all runners completing the course in under 12 hours

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