How Safe Is Durban for Travel?

Durban, South Africa
Safety Index:

Durban is one of the cities in South Africa that may trick you into thinking you’re in Europe or America.

However, though it looks very modern and safe, it is not. It’s supposed to be one of the safest cities in South Africa, but unfortunately, even so, the crime rates aren’t low.

The city of Durban is located on the east coast of South Africa in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and in the municipality of eThekwini. It’s the third largest city in South Africa and the busiest port in Africa.

Durban has plenty of activities and sightseeing to offer, but tourist are mostly interested in The Golden Mile, the complex of beaches near downtown that go along the Indian Ocean.

These beaches are famous for excellent surfing opportunities and wide sandy beaches.

An added bonus if you visit off season is that you’ll practically have the place to yourself.

Warnings & Dangers in Durban

Overall Risk


As amazingly fun and exciting Durban might be, you should be aware of the many dangers that await the unsuspecting tourists. This city has extremely high rates of crime. You should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of something going wrong.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Public transport in South Africa is the scene of many criminal activities. Be aware of criminals waiting around at Johannesburg and Cape Town airports and then following tourists to their accommodation with a goal to rob them. There have also been reports of luggage thefts at the airports. Rails and metro trains are also the locations where assaults and robberies have occurred.

Pickpockets Risk


Pickpocketing has been on a decline during the past couple of years. Still, the most risky locations where you may encounter petty theft are crowded places such as markets, public transport and bus and train stations.

Natural Disasters Risk


South Africa is often the victim of many natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, storms and wildfires. One of the bigger floods in South Africa occurred in 2011 killing 91 people.

Mugging Risk


Mugging and robberies are a much bigger issue in this country than petty theft. In Durban, it is not as big of an issue as in other cities of South Africa. And though usually the motive of these incidents is theft, rape is sadly not uncommon at all, so female tourists should be particularly cautious.

Terrorism Risk


Durban may become a victim of occasional tsunamis coming from the Indian Ocean. Another danger are floods. One of the bigger floods in South Africa occurred in 2011 killing 91 people.

Scams Risk


There are a couple of popular scams, one of them involving criminals posing as "tourist police" with a goal to rob visitors. They are known to stop tourist buses, saying that they're checking identification and searching luggage. However there's no such thing as "tourist police" in South Africa, so be on the lookout. Then there are so-called "strollers", and they can be anyone from children to junkies. Their only goal is to rob you blind so keep your valuables well hidden.

Women Travelers Risk


Though many female travelers went to Durban and had no problems at all, this country might not be the safest choice for female solo travelers. Be very careful at night and avoid risky situations such as winding up in deserted and poorly lit streets or finding yourself in an unknown area with strange people.

So... How Safe Is Durban Really?

Though Durban is a very dangerous city, the areas near the beach are secured. The beach strip is frequently visited by policemen, and there are CCTV cameras apart from it being brightly lit.

Since there are poor areas in this city, it is not at all uncommon to hear about muggings and armed robberies.

And though usually the motive of these crimes is theft, rape also occurs from time to time, which is especially relevant for female visitors.

There have also been reports of food and drink spiking, with victims ending up being assaulted and robbed after the incident.

However, what is more important than knowing what kind of crimes tend to occur in Durban, is knowing the areas and hotspots where they’re more likely to occur.

The promenade along the beach, for example, is safe to visit, but be sure to blend in and not go to the side and back roads of the hotels.

The usually busy central business district is empty after dark, so it’s best to avoid it.

At night, it is highly recommended to stick to the main streets and not go out on look walks after dark unless you are very familiar with the places you’re going.

Useful Information

  • Visas - While U.S. citizens visiting Durban for tourism purposes do not need a visa for any stays shorter than ninety days, along with many other countries, there are some nationals that do need a visa in order to enter South Africa. Make sure your passports are valid for at least 30 days past your planned date of return from South Africa. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - South African rand is the official currency in Durban. ATMs can be found throughout the country and credit cards are widely accepted.
  • Weather - Durban has subtropical climate, characterized by hot and humid summers and pleasantly warm and dry winters, which are snow- and frost-free.
  • Airports - King Shaka International Airport is the primary airport serving Durban, South Africa. It is located in La Mercy, KwaZulu-Natal, approximately 35 km north of the city centre of Durban,
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Durban, since it covers not only the costs medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Durban Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 25° C
Feb 25° C
Mar 25° C
Apr 23° C
May 20° C
Jun 18° C
Jul 18° C
Aug 19° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 21° C
Nov 22° C
Dec 24° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Where to Next?

5 Reviews on Durban

  1. At Ballito beach,most dog owners ignore the two rules, dogs must be on a leash and pickup the mess your dog makes.So visitors watch your step,most dog walkers have no respect for rules or fellow walkers.

  2. Not as bad as your article suggests

    Durban does have crime hotspots but is not as risky as this article indicates. If you go to the usual tourist areas you will be fine. Use common sense and take advice from your hotel and you will be fine. Enjoy the city.

  3. Your article is false

    The exaggeration of this article is unbelievable,I’m in shock.

  4. A
    Anonymous says:

    I am surprised which part of Durban this article refers to. I stay in Durban but I have never heard of criminals stopping tourist busses. Floods, earthquakes, storms and wildfires in South Africa. Sorry I differ with this article in many ways.

  5. I
    I live in Durban says:

    Shambolic Writing

    Absolutely shambolic article. This was clearly written by an individual who has never set foot in Durban. Obviously there are places which tourists shouldnt go but 95% of Durban is completely safe. This writer is a joke.

Rated 4.2 / 5 based on 5 user reviews.

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