I first heard about Durban July two years ago, through my engagements with South African Tourism (SAT). So when I was invited for the event this year, I was thrilled to be a part of it, in fact so much that I asked award-winning Ghanaian menswear designer, Atto Tetteh to get me something to wear for the event – very unusual of me, yes I know!
Durban July is not only Durban’s most prestigious event of the year but one of the biggest horse racing events in Africa. This year’s edition took place on July 6, at its usual home – the Greyville Racecourse.
The event offers a lot of fun things to do on the day, but the City of Durban, and indeed South Africa as a whole, has a lot of fun experiences beyond a single event. Based on my recent trip, which spanned across the Western Cape to Kwa-Zulu Natal, I have selected some of 8 things to do if ever you visit South Africa for Durban July, or indeed for any other reason!
Indulge in the grandeur of The Manor House
Tagged as Africa’s Best Romantic Boutique Hotel, The Manor House offers a true feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life. It is the crown of the Fancourt estate, located in George, a city in the Western Cape Province.
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George is a city in Western Cape. It’s known for its golf courses and more. Here we stayed at @themanorhousesa . South African TV personality @bonang_m welcomed us and will be showing us around as we tour the beautiful places from Western to Eastern Cape to Kwazulu Natal. Video by @kelechiamadiobi follow @travel2sa for more on #MySAExperience @folustorms @maiatafo @tokemakinwa @sisterdeborah @kolaoshalusi @themadamezeta
The Manor House is exquisitely furnished and decorated with sensual metallic finishes, fusing old-world with new-world style. While here, we experience dinner at the Monet’s restaurant, which offers a café bistro atmosphere overlooking the rolling greens of the Outeniqua golf course. From coffee to bubbly with plenty of choices in-between, the menu boasts both local and seasonal artisan cuisine.
Breakfast was at the La Cantina, which came with a perfect setting for relaxed family dining. Breakfast includes a generous buffet spread of warm and cold food options to get the morning off to a wholesome start- and with so much to see and do, you will need that ‘jumpstart’!
Safari in the Botlierskop Private Game reserve
Situated between Mossel Bay and the city of George, Botlierskop Private Game reserve offers a great diversity of wildlife with more that 26 different animal species and over 200 bird species.
Here, we got on a Safari under the capable hands of our driver Simba and a tour guide; and altogether we looked for lions, elephants, ostriches and more. The highlight was coming a little up-close with two lions and learning their history in the park, as well as their way of life!
A thrilling ride on the Knysna Lagoon
In addition to the pristine estuary, an adventure through the Knysna Heads is the ultimate boating experience, even for a newbie! Knysna is a town in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.
Once out to sea the world is your oyster, where you can experience a vast array of bird and marine life as well as breath-taking scenery.
We had a playful and fast tour on a speedboat doing lots of fast doughnuts, with afrobeats music blasting away! We were lucky to see a seal but due to the tides, we couldn’t get closer.
Take a leap of faith with the Bloukrans Bungy Experience!
The Bloukrans Bridge is an arch bridge located near Nature’s Valley, Western Cape. The Bloukrans Bungy is the world’s highest commercial bungy bridge. It is also the highest commercial natural bungy jump in the World.
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For a second time, I turned down the BLOUKRANS BUNGY EXPERIENCE. This time because I was unwell and i had a pact with @sisterdeborah that she would be the one to represent Ghana. Sadly she chickened out. But congrats to @tokemakinwa @themadamezeta @kolaoshalusi @maiatafo @kelechiamadiobi who represented the green flag of Naija to the fullest. Our host @thikzo was a good sport leading by example! And @pinky_.girl got on the scoreboard for team @bonang_m ! To get out to the jump point they were sent out on a zipline from the bank to the arch. From there it was free fall time! The Bloukrans Bungy is the worlds highest commercial bungy bridge. @travel2sa #MySAExperience
To get out to the jump point, you are sent out on a zipline from the bank to the arch. From there it was free fall!!! This was my second time here, and again I failed to experience it because I wasn’t feeling well.
Go for an easy breezy cruise
Speedboats give you a lot of thrills but the calmness on a slower boat cruise is equally divine! Wilson’s Wharf offers a yacht’s spectacular view of the working Durban Harbour.
We enjoyed an almost two-hour scenic cruise; vibing to music, appetizers and lots of photo ops!
Taste that delicious Braai!!!
What is a visit to Durban with experiencing some tasty braai? Visit Max’s Lifestyle, one of the best restaurants in Umlazi, Durban with traditional “Kasie” culture, where you can dine on traditional meals featuring meat cooked on a “Braai” (Barbeque) with traditional side dishes.
Hmm I can still remember those juicy chicken, beef, pork and lamb selections we had. Yummy!!!
Glide through the city on a different type of wheels
Why walk when you can glide? Yes why not jump on a Segway and explore Durban in style? I had my first Segway experience at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. After a quick 15-minute training session, we set off on a thrilling, smooth ride from the stadium through the streets, whilst taking in the captivating sites of Durban’s sands and ocean breeze.
I promise you that you would want more; as you glide down the Bay of Plenty pier; taking in the panoramic views of this Majestic Ocean and spectacular “Golden Mile”.
Look fabulous for Durban July
The Vodacom Durban July is a celebration of fashion, lifestyle, the best in marquee hospitality, and most anticipated day on the horseracing calendar. The day draws heavily on horseracing’s deeply rooted tradition of elegance and chic fashion. Under the theme, ‘Stars of Africa’, we got to rub shoulders with local celebrities and fashionistas.
If you are big on betting, the horseracing offers plenty opportunity for you to do so. I tried my luck and in fact I still don’t know if I won or not, because I am clueless about horseracing.
One of the other highlights of Durban July is the offering in the various marquees, VIP areas and the wild parties that last till late in the night. The Boom Town party was the place to be!
We were in the VVIP session of the Marquee, which provided the ultimate experience in hospitality, and world-class stage and lighting complimented by performances from top South African acts such as Sjava and Kwesta.
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The theme for #durbanjuly was 'Stars of Africa' so we stepped out in style to shine! A fun day of horseracing, fashion, music, food and more! #MySAExperience @travel2sa #visitKZN #doKZN @folustorms @maiatafo @tokemakinwa @sisterdeborah @kolaoshalusi @themadamezeta @kelechiamadiobi @bonang_m
Phew what a day it was!
There you have it, I hope my guide would be of help to you in case you would be attending next year’s Durban July or you’re just looking for fun things to do in South Africa!