The city of Durban is a picture of coastal charm and seaside magnetism; rickshaws putter along the Marine Parade, white-sanded beaches cloud with happy holidaymakers and the sparkling Indian Ocean glitters, reflecting the sun’s powerful rays. This is where passengers aboard Rovos Rail’s luxury train journey reach the final leg of their Durban Safari journey.

Like the famous Zululand coast, Durban and its surrounds where once submerged by the Indian Ocean; the tepid waters later receded to reveal the sweeping bay and its two peninsulas, the point to the north and the bluff to the south. It was Portuguese explorer, Vasco de Gama, who first sailed past this bay on a festive Christmas Day in 1497. To celebrate his discovery, he named the region Terra do Natal which translates to ‘Land of the Nativity’.

The city of Durban that visitors know today was built around the sheltered bay and four mile stretch of exquisite beachfront. Named for Sir Benjamin d’Urban, the esteemed Governor of the Cape Colony from 1842 to 1847, today Durban’s bustling civic and business centre lies on flat land before rising gently to the sweeping slopes of the residential area, Berea Heights, a famous ridge of rolling hills that encircle the harbour and beach. The buzzing urban sprawl continues north along the rugged coastline before reaching across the Umgeni River and concluding in the resort town of Umhlanga Rocks.

Passengers aboard Rovos Rail’s luxury train accommodation will want to explore Durban’s famous harbour. Durban’s busy wharf was once South Africa’s busiest port and is still South Africa’s third largest city and the leading port for general cargo. Today, the famous port is the headquarters of South Africa’s sugar industry as well as the dock from which minerals, coal and sugar are exported and from which oil is refined and piped to Johannesburg.

Durban’s famous aesthetic is one which attracts holidaymakers from all corners of the globe. While hard to believe, the sunny city was once a prime Victorian town, which after World War 1 metamorphosed into a modern metropolis dotted with high-reaching skyscrapers and multi-story buildings. Tourism is one of Durban’s leading industries, owing to the popularity of the Natal region’s abundance of game, nature reserves, beaches, local attractions and spectacular climate.