Durban is very different from most American cities because of the extreme crime rates. It is difficult and unadvised to walk around much of the cityby yourself during the day. At night you should only move around by car. This was truly irritating for me since I am an avid cyclist. Fortunately, I was able to become best friends with a South African student who had a car, which made both traveling and hanging out in the city much easier. Taking a taxi is a good alternative as well, but it becomes costly unless you have a lot of passengers. Another answer to the trasnportation problem is to get some money together with other students and by a used car. A few people did this and were able to travel around the country every weekend and vacation. As for places to hang out/visit, I would recommend going to Beanbag Bohemia, which has amazing cuisine, good music, and a laidback atmosphere. If you're looking for something more lively there is the BAT Centre. It is renowned as a local arts and culture center with a yummy restaurant during the day. At night the place becomes a nightclub with different themes every day, the most entertaining and crazy being hip hop night. Not into hip hop? There are many clubs featuring different styles of techno, particularly drum and bass, psy trance, and house. One of the truly annoying problems with Durban that has become a sarcastic truism for many is that there is no good rock/alternative scene.
During the day there are a multitude of fantastic sites to visit including the Japanese Gardens, the Durban Art Museum, the beautiful beaches, the aquarium, a water park, Victoria Street Market, shark dissections, and a lot more that I cannot remember at the moment. Finally, for entertainment both day and night you have to visit Gateway, the largest mall in the southern hemisphere. I know this may sound consumerist and rather lame but it is a fantastic place with good shopping, enormous movie theatres, an independent film theatre, performance space, bars and a skate park designed by Tony Hawk.
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