Durban Happenings for accommodation and businesses in Durban and surrounding areas







Traditionally, accounts of the European settlement of the southern African eastern seaboard begin on or about Christmas Day in 1497 when three Portuguese vessels, the Sao Gabriel, the Sao Rafael and the caravel Berrio, under the command of Vasco da Gama, sailed past the coast of Pondoland on their way to India. Although it was not specifically mentioned in their journals, it is probably they who named this coastline Terra do Natal.



They never landed at Durban, and their first landfall along this coast was only made on 6 January 1498 some 85km north of the Limpopo River mouth. Oblivious to the fact that their land had been “discovered” and that, technically, they were now called “Natalians”, local residents continued to lead happy, productive lives, planting grain, herding cattle, paying lobola, engaging in the occasional squabble with some neighbouring clan, and eventually joining the great spiritual body of ancestors. In the larger scheme of world affairs, Natal continued to do what it has always done best: slumber. For the purpose of this narrative, for the next 188 years matters remained more or less the same.


Some excitement was caused on 10 June 1552 when the Portuguese slave galleon Sao Joao was wrecked in a storm near the mouth of the Mzimvubu River. The majority of its passengers and crew including some 220 sailors and a cargo of 400 slaves made it to the shore where, it must be assumed, those slaves who could get away, probably escaped inland to chance their fate with the local population.


The remaining survivors, including the Captain and his wife, proceeded northwards along the shoreline in an attempt to reach the Portuguese settlement at Sofala, near present-day Beira, in Mocambique. After suffering many vicissitudes and privations, only eight Portuguese and 17 slaves survived the journey and were picked up in May 1553 by a passing Portuguese trader. Along the way the party shed a number of people, both Black and White who, either through illness or exhaustion, were left behind on the trail. Their fate is largely unknown but at least some are reported to have been nursed back to health and to have been adopted by local clans where, in many cases, they prospered.



One such survivor was Rodrigo Testao, who was found two years later by the shipwrecked crew of the Sao Bento, living with local families at the Bay of Natal, thus making him Durban’s first known White resident. Over the next century, this tale was to be repeated again and again. On 27 April 1554 the Portuguese slaver Sao Bento was grounded near the Mzikaba River, off the northern Transkei. Its survivors, 99 Portuguese and 224 slaves, also set off northwards towards Sofala, and, after crossing the Mzimkulu River, they met up with a young Bengali, a survivor of the Sao Joao, who was now living with the locals. Understandably he not only refused to join them on their trek, but persuaded two Portuguese and about 30 slaves to settle there.


The same party then discovered a Portuguese and two slaves, also from the Sao Joao, living at the Bay of Natal. From the Tukela onwards the party began to steadily lose members and ultimately only 56 Portuguese and six slaves reached Delagoa Bay. Further shipwrecks took place along the eastern seaboard on a regular basis: the Sao Thome in 1589, the Santo Alberto in 1593, the Sao Joao Baptista in 1622, the Nossa Senhora de Belem in 1635, and the Sacramento and the Nossa Serihora da Atalaya in separate incidents both in 1647. In all of these cases there were substantial numbers of survivors who then attempted to reach home by marching overland northwards to Mocambique.


A few wise men stayed behind at the site of the wreck, burnt the ship’s timbers and used the iron recovered in the process to trade with local clans, thus growing wealthy from the proceedings. Others fell by the wayside through illness, hunger and exhaustion. A very small number made it back to their homes. Many however, both Black and White, stayed behind and were integrated into local society. All in all, between 1552 and 1647 over 1100 White and 2-3000 (presumably) Black slaves were dumped by storms on our eastern seashore, and a significant proportion of these must have survived.



Durban (Zulu: eThekwini, from itheku meaning "bay/lagoon") is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Durban's metropolitan municipality ranks third among the most populous urban areas in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town. It is also the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg. It forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.



Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also one of the major tourism centres because of a warm subtropical climate and beautiful beaches. It is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal which is the 2nd most populous province in South Africa.


Durban was officially recognised as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities together with Vigan, Doha, La Paz, Havana, Beirut, and Kuala Lumpur



The Berea is a ridge above the city of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on the northern side which overlooks the city centre and the Indian Ocean. Berea is also used as a collective designation for the suburbs in the area.


It has been described as the area between the Howard College Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the Burman Bush Nature Reserve.


Some of the oldest mansions in Durban were built in this once forested area. Today, many of these have been converted into offices or made way for apartment buildings. The Berea was once the most expensive real estate area in the province but is now third to Umhlanga and Durban North.


The two main areas of the Berea are Musgrave and upper Glenwood which are separated by the N3 Western Freeway highway which leads into the city centre.

Places of interest include :

  • The Atrium,
  • Berea Centre
  • Musgrave Shopping Centre
  • Clifton School
  • Durban Girls' College, Durban High School and Maris Stella,
  • Mitchell Park,
  • The botanical gardens
  • Howard College campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.


A related neighbouring area designation is Overport. Some famous Durbanites who have called Berea their home include cricketer Andrew Hudson, radio personality Alan Khan, TV presenter Imraan Vagar, business legend Arnold Zulman and Dershan Pather, amongst others.

The Berea borders the Durban suburb of Morningside.,Durban



Hillcrest was formerly a sleepy village on the outskirts of Durban founded on a rise in the main road from Durban to Pietermaritzburg in 1895 as a farming or "weekend". It is sited on a portion of the farm Albinia owned by William Gillitt, one of the main pioneer families of the area and after which the nearby suburb of Gillitts is named.


One of the other early families to set up in the area was the Acutts who had already established the well known in Durban estate agents firm of that name. In 1903


The first school in the village was established in a wood and iron cottage in Hospital Road leased to a Mrs McMillian, the principal of the first Highbury School, by Horace Acutt. When the first Hillcrest Health Committee was established in 1943, the total all-race population was 1135 persons


By 1971, when Town Board status was obtained, the total population had grown to 2799 persons.


The Hillcrest Waste Water Treatment Plant was finally established in the 1990s, then serving only the central commercial area of the village with phased extensions planned in time, with other areas continuing on septic tanks. The town celebrated its centenary in 1995 and has since then seen an incredible increase in inhabitants migrating from more central areas in Durban




Kloof KZN


Kloof is a leafy upper-class suburb and small town, that includes a smaller area called Everton, in the greater Durban area of eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


The word Kloof means 'gorge' in Afrikaans and the area is named after the deep ravine formed by the Molweni stream (stream of high cliffs).


The Kloof Gorge is part of the 4.47-square-kilometre (1.73 sq mi) Krantzkloof Nature Reserve.


Kloof extends from the top of Field's Hill and borders Winston Park, Gillitts, Forest Hills and Hillcrest. These suburbs are collectively known as the Upper Highway Area or the Outer West region of Durban.


The M13 highway (built in the 1940s) intersects Kloof and on 16 June this forms part of the route of the annual Comrades Marathon, an approximately 90-kilometre (56 mi) ultra-marathon run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban since 1924.


It is a predominantly English-speaking area. Kloof features several upmarket shopping centres and the Kloof Country Club, founded in 1927. It is known as a mist-belt with winding roads and tree-surrounded mansions.


Kloof has a state school network that consists of

  • Kloof High School,
  • Forest View Primary School,
  • Kloof Senior Primary School,
  • Kloof Junior Primary School
  • Kloof Pre-Primary School.


There are also several private schools located in Kloof including

  • Thomas More College
  • St Mary's Diocesan School for Girls.


In the broader area there is also Highbury Preparatory School in Hillcrest and Kearsney College in Botha's Hill.


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