Category Area Review

Let’s stop worrying for a minute about the small detail, and look at the bigger picture. There is so much that’s hugely positive that’s going on in Durban - eThekwini - and we don’t know the half of it. Wakefields spoke to those who do.

When we think of Durban and indeed, eThekwini, we tend to get bogged down in the minutiae. Of course, small detail affects us, but we love where we live and we want to make it work. Most importantly for the present and future, it’s the bigger, broader picture which really matters, and which will affect everybody who calls this home. There’s a massive amount of development going on in Durban, and it definitively answers the Why Durban question, whether it’s about living, working or investing here. Investment means growth, growth means jobs, and jobs means increased stability.

Quietly - often below the public radar - the City is putting an enormous amount of energy, funding and brainstorming into creating a city fit for purpose. A city which works, not just in terms of tourism offerings, conferencing, business, and so on... but for its citizens too. That means different things to different people of course, but they’re focused on creating an enabling environment which can ramp up employment, housing, and our profile as the tourism, business and residential destination of choice.

It won’t happen overnight, but it’s happening, slowly but surely.


Russell Curtis heads up Invest Durban, a unit of eThekwini municipality. He unpacked the background: “National Treasury has been running the City Support Program (CSP) for about four years, largely focussed on public sector investment. 

But for the last couple of years, they’ve focussed on private investment. Invest Durban has pulled in the Durban business leadership and city leadership, and that’s resulted in a much greater focus on attracting and facilitating investment. The outcome of that is the Catalytic Projects Team where, on the Durban Investment dashboard, we have about 75 projects,  on average each of them greater than R100 million, some substantially so. That brings a pipeline to Durban of about R750 billion of investment coming through.

“For a couple of years now we’ve been doing a pretty good job promoting the tourism side of things... now Invest Durban is around business and investment, and promoting that.


“Team Durban comprises significant business leaders to help advise and partner with eThekwini on attracting new investment. “Team Durban’s first activity is a UK investment mission in June - we’re going as both Durban’s City leadership and its business leadership. Companies accompanying the City officials included the Durban Point Waterfront, Tongaat Hulett, Dube Tradeport, Videovision entertainment, South African Property Owners Association and others - all incurring all costs of the trip themselves.

“So, the City of Durban is getting a lot more serious about its own public and private sector investment.


Invest Durban has devised the acronym ALL HITS…

A - Award-winning city. The best run and financially strongest local government on the continent. More awards than any other city by far.

L - Lifestyle of business, sports and event together - a truly sustainable lifestyle, sporting events, and sense of business pleasure.

L - Larger human resources base. We have large pools of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour, plus some of the best, fastest skills development taking place among our 3,6m cosmopolitan population.

H - Higher Growth Rates. Our economic growth rates are higher than the country’s average, and that of many other centres. We’re targeting in the realistic range of 5% + again, which has been enjoyed in the past, and as a globalised metro port city, the tide is in our favour.

I - Infrastructure leader. We have the continent’s leading infrastructure base. As a BRICS city, we are SA’s gateway to the BRICs grouping. At our infrastructure heart, Durban leads the sub-continent in terms of port infrastructure, with Sub-Saharan Africa’s busiest harbour, plus the expanding King Shaka International Airport and Dube Trade port Aerotropolis development node.

T - Tourism Crown. Durban is the largest domestic tourism destination in SA, plus we have concrete projects in place to become one of the largest international tourism destinations. Our International Convention Centre has been rated by global associations as Africa’s best convention centre for over a decade.

S - Substantial and most Sustainable diversified business base already in place across the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.


KwaZulu-Natal is courting big investment developments to benefit tourism.

The recent Indaba 2018 in Durban was a massive success, and announcements such as that by British Airways that they’d be flying directly in and out of Durban three times a week, has a far-reaching and positive impact. 

Equally, Durban unveiled a wide range of projects to raise the tourism profile of the City and invite investment. Among the developments are a large number of resorts, hotels and lodges that are expected to be built in and around KZN’s tourism hotspots.   

Tourism KZN identified a gap in the regions’ tourism product offering – a lack of integrated beach resorts with 300 rooms, the minimum requirement for international branded resort operators for mass market travellers. 

Most of the proposed developments include conference facilities.


According to World Travel Market Africa Insights, these projects are in various stages of planning/development:

  • Durban Point Precinct development (upwards of R3 billion): with the R300m promenade development underway. The Precinct includes hotels, residential apartments, office park and retail developments.
  • Durban Point Waterfront Hotel development: in the Durban Point Precinct includes a five-star 350-room hotel, with access to a shopping centre, public beach, safe swimming, learner surfing, snorkelling zone, promenade, green amphitheatre and other water-based activities.
  • New cruise ship terminal (R215m): The 5 000 sq metre cruise terminal will be built in the Port of Durban by October 2020, and will have a host of new features and facilities, including simultaneous embarkation and disembarkation of passengers on multiple vehicles.
  • Durban Eye/Wheel on Durban’s beachfront (R375m): a giant observation ferris wheel - think London Eye - that offers a 360 degree view of Durban city from the beach front. It will consist of 27 fully enclosed air-conditioned cabins, each able to hold 16 passengers, and will take passengers 78 metres above the ground on a 15 to 20 minute four revolution ride. The potential sites range from Durban Point and uShaka Marine, to Moses Mabhida, Suncoast and North Beach.
  • Tinley Manor Resort, Tinley Manor (R1, to R1,5 billion): four to five star beach resort development, with 450 rooms.
  • Nonoti Beach Resort – Stanger/KwaDukusa (R350m): A proposed development of a 250 room beach resort, wholly owned by the 200 households of the Nonoti community.
  • Sovereign Sands Beach Resort, North Coast (R218m):  A beach resort with a 220 room four style hotel, and more. 
  • Blythedale Coastal Resort, Blythedale Beach (R350m): A coastal resort comprising a themed resort area, with a 600 room hotel and more.
  • Sibaya Resort Hotel, Umhloti: A mixed use estate development, predominantly residential, but resort style with educational, recreational, entertainment and commercial components.
  • Port Durnford resort, south of Richard’s Bay (R350m): four/five-star resort development.
  • St Lucia Hotel, St Lucia (R88m): This project includes a four-star, 55 room hotel.
  • KwaBonambi Hotel, KwaBonambi (R120m): A hotel development comprising a two-star 50-room standard business hotel.
  • Thokazi Royal Lodge project, Nongoma (R85m): a lodge development incorporating a four-star, 25-room lodge.
  • Umfolozi Big 5 lodges, south of Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park (R86m): A collection of three lodges - 46-bed five-star luxury lodge will have access via the newly constructed P 700 between Empangeni and Ulundi; a 22-bed four-star luxury lodge on the banks of the White iMfolozi River adjoining the iMfolozi Wilderness area; a 16-bed tented lodge on the banks of the Black iMfolozi River.
  • Bhangazi lodge, Bhangazi site (R35m): A lodge comprising 22 self-catering tents on raised decks.
  • Shakaland, Eshowe (R10m): refurbishment of the Shakaland cultural village.
  • Woodstock dam, Drakensberg (R576m): A resort development with a waterland theme-park, four/five-star hotel and spa, and golf estate development.

Author: Anne Schauffer

Submitted 31 May 18 / Views 1916

Durban, KwaZulu Natal

Durban has an interesting history, Vasco da Gama’s passing in 1497, Lieutenant Farewell and Shaka. In 1823 Farewell took part in a British expedition to Natal and then decided to start a settlement there. He persuaded 25 other British... More Info