Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Durban, South Africa


Durban's Museums

Durban enjoys a variety of museums chronicling both the history of the city and the contribution of its diverse population.
Durban Accommodation Guide

Durban's Museums

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Also - see our list of interesting museums across kwaZulu-Natal.

The Campbell Collection

Durban Accommodation GuideLocated in beautiful Mucklneuk house is the Killie Campbell library, maintained by the University of Natal. Part of the museum are the Campbell Collections and the Killie Campbell Africana Library, both of which form the world's finest collections of Africana and books on South and Southern Africa.

A visit to the museum is obligatory for anyone undertaking research on the history of the area. The museum also contains the Mashu Museum of Ethnology (utensils, tools, clothes, weapons and pottery), the William Campbell Picture Collection and the Furniture Collection.

The garden is also worth a visit as the Campbell's gardener, William Poulton was trained at Kew.

220 Marriot Rd., Berea 031 207 3711 Viewing and tours by appt. only

The Old House Museum

Durban Accommodation GuideThe museum near Albert Park is located in a replica of an old colonial house that once in 1849 belonged to John Goodricke. It is a house typical of any early Durban settler and contains an interesting collection of artefacts from the 19th century.

The Natural Science Museum

Durban Accommodation GuideThis popular museum attracted almost 370,000 visitors in 1998, including visitors from 83 countries.

It acts as a knowledgable introduction to the wildlife heritage of the area with displays of animals, birds and invertebrates.

There is also life size model of T. rex, an Egyptian mummy and a skeleton of the extinct dodo. The museum is curator of almost 300,000 invertebrates, 36,000 birds and 8,000 mammals.

There are also geological and palaeontological displays and activities for children such as field trips, puppet shows, films and talks.

There are also areas where you may Journey Through Time and a 'place of discovery' - KwaZuzulwazi which will delight kids (and adults) with fossils, microscopes, x-rays, u/v light, internet computers and lots more. There are also guided tours.

The museum publishes the interesting and informative 'Palmnut Post' and holds winter and summer science festivals, holiday season programmes, hosts bat and astronomy interest groups, corporate enrichment tours and assists with specimen identification.

City Hall. Mon - Sat 08.30 - 16.00, Sun 11.00 - 16.00.

The Local History Museum

Durban Accommodation GuideThis two storey building in Aliwal Street, dates from the 1850s and houses a permanent record of both early colonial life in Durban and the various celebraties of the period.

Upstairs is a mock Durban street of the early period with an apothecary, sugar mill, clothing and other shops. Guided tours are available as are copies of prints of old Durban.

Aliwal St. behind the City Hall Mon -Sat: 08.30 - 16.00 Sun: 11.00 - 17.00 031 300 6241 6308fx

The Durban Cultural and Document Centre

The Indian community of the province is the focus of this museum. It contains a fascinating collection of Indian items and as well as a section on the activities of Gandhi in the Province.

Cnr. Epsom Road and Derby Street, Durban. Opening Hours: 07.30 - 16.00 Monday - Fridays. 309 7559.

The Gandhi Phoenix Settlement

Gandhi used this farm outside Durban as a source of succour and inspiration. Here, he published his newspaper, the Indian Opinion and developed his philosophy of non violent resistance.

Bergtheil Museum

Durban Accommodation GuideThe museum is situated in the western suburb of Westville. It is housed in an old colonial farmhouse and contains a selection of 19th century items related to the 1848 German settlers.

16 Queens Avenue, Westville. Opening Hours: Monday - Friday only 08.00 - 13.00 and 14.00 - 17.00.

The Old Fort and Warrior's Gate

Durban Accommodation GuideThis quiet park is now a national monument but was the place where the British were besieged by the Voortrekkers of the New Republic for 10 days in 1842 until relieved from Grahamstown by Dick king's famous ride.

There is also a model of the old fort, a Gunner's Memorial, a Garden of Remembrance and the old magazine from 1858 is now a tiny chapel that is much in demand for weddings.

Durban Accommodation GuideThere is also an exceedingly comprehensive collection of military weapons, insignia and other memorabilia relaitng to World War 1 and 2 and other battlefield relics in the excellent MOTH (Memorable Order of the Tin Hat) museum.

NMR Avenue and Old Fort Road Opening Hours: Tuesday, Friday, Sunday 11.00 - 15.00, Saturday 08.30 - 16.00 031 307 3337.

The Maritime Museum

Durban Accommodation GuideThe museum celebrates Durban's maritime traditions and in particular, the busiest port in Africa.

There are three ships on display - two tugs (including the world's only twin screw model) and a minesweeper as well as plenty of other exhibits. There is a shop, video presentation, early settler home and a 'Pirate Experience' for kids.

The Bay end of Aliwal St. Mon - Sat 08.30 - 16.00, Sun 11.00 - 15.30 031 300 6324

The KwaMuhle Museum

Durban Accommodation GuideSituated in the once notorious 'Department of Native Affairs' building, the museum offers a retrospective on the apartheid era including the pass laws, the beer halls and the relocation of people from Cato Manor (a large area immediately behind the Berea).

Despite its infamous purpose, the museum takes its name from its first manager - JS Marwick - who helped 7000 Zulus leave the Transvaal during the Boer War. His headquarters was called 'kwa muhle' - the 'place of the Good One'.

Part of its founding credo is: "This is a museum about power and powerlessness and the struggle for human dignity by ordinary people. . . "

The Kings Battery Museum

End of North Pier, The Point Waterfront Development Project

Addington Hospital Museum

A collection off antique nursing and operating instruments and archives dating back to 1900.

Pinetown Museum (20kms west of Durban)

The major display chronicles Pinetown's development from the early Stone Age until the present.


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