Is Durban Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On November 7, 2023
Durban, South Africa
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
* Rated 67 / 100 based on 50 user reviews.

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 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 the tourist is 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.

A 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 precautions measures 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 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 riskiest 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


The biggest terrorists attack in Durban was in June 1986, since then, there were a few incidents in recent years as well.

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.

How Does Durban Compare?

CitySafety Index
Cape Town43
Port Elizabeth65
Vienna (Austria)88
Hong Kong (China)70
Manama (Bahrain)54
Tianjin (China)67
Brussels (Belgium)60
Shanghai (China)66

Useful Information



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, some nationals do need a visa 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 a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.



South African rand is the official currency in Durban. ATMs can be found throughout the country and credit cards are widely accepted.



Durban has a subtropical climate, characterized by hot and humid summers and pleasantly warm and dry winters, which are snow- and frost-free.



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 center of Durban.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Durban, since it covers not only the costs of 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

South Africa - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Cape Town43
Port Elizabeth65

Where to Next?

50 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.

    1. This article is 100 % correct. Durban is riddled with criminal element.. If you get robbed in the streets, no one is going help you.

      1. I agree with Hemesh! Been there, and robbed multiple times. 2022 is even worse

        1. And you would think you would have learnt after the first time !

          And you would think you would have learnt after the first time !

  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.

    1. Well at the beginning of my 6 weeks travel to Durban I had a few near misses, 1st one was a shooting on the beach, 2nd a robbery on the strip, 3rd someone stole an old white man’s ginger wig, I then myself uncontrollably had the runs and pooed myself whilst in a restaurant, ps I was bared from that perticular joint😁 but I was not happy with the food anyway, finally I got arrested for selling crack, Durban is a great place, I am looking forward to returning soon I may even apply to permantly live there😬😉👌😎

    2. A
      Anonymous says:

      Then you should get more. Let me guess, Umhlanga? Ballito?

    3. Hasn’t there just been devastating floods in Durban??

  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.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      This is absolutely bullshit. No area is safe. I live in Reservoir Hills, a suburb of Durban, which is upper middle class but hijacking, muggings, home invasions occur almost everyday. This happens in almost all residential areas. The mall in my area has has been robbed many many times and in broad daylight in view of shoppers motorists have been hijacked at gunpoint. Home invasions occur a few times a week and in many occasions owners are severely beaten. With regard to the city centre, stay far away from it. When I moved to Durban in the early seventies, one could move around freely at night doing window shopping and the idea of being robbed would not even cross your mind. Woe betide anyone who dares to go to the city centre at night. Your family will find your body in of the morgues.

      1. Any big city in South Africa is dangerous

        I think that this is true, since it is the same information I got from locals during my 3 months stay in Johannesburg. Exactly the same description of crime activities! Unfortunately, it happens. In the complex where I stayed, even if it was surrendered by electrified fences and guarder by armed guardians who constantly walked the streets, it happened that a whole family was robbed and killed one night!

      2. I Agree, Crime Must Be Rampant

        I can believe you and everything you said, given there are walls, razor wire, electric fences, iron bars, etc. around almost every home. This clearly communicates “crime is rampant”. Sad but true.

  6. c
    chinsamy says:

    article is gravely misleading

    hi im born in Durban, South Africa, has been my home for over 40 years. We have never had earthquakes, or natural disasters like your article suggests. there might have been mild flooding due to heavy rains but no major disasters. thats an exaggeration putting it mildly. as far as safety is concerned, no city in the world is safe especially if you are a tourist. if you follow the basic rules and don’t wander into unsafe zones outside the city you will be fine. a tour guide is recommended for sight seeing. don’t listen to everything you hear. do your own homework and you will enjoy your stay in this beautiful country we call home.

    1. P
      Portugal says:

      You should travell more!!!
      Oh Yes! There are very, very safe citys in the world!

    2. Durban is definitely not safe. You say tourists should do there homework. Well this sight is doing their homework, but guys like you give false information. You just had a major flood in Durban, and ours every 8 or so years. Mugging, kidnapping is all on the rise. Beachfront during the day is probably OK, but venture into the city, not so much. And after dark, beware big time.


    What utter nonsense!! We do not have natural disasters like you have put it and most certainly do not have fake tourist police. Yes there is crime like any city but you will not be attacked at your every move if at all. Be sensible and you will have a great time.

    This article is misleading you should be shut down!!

    1. T
      The lucid one says:

      Article garbage it js

      I AGREE.

    2. I agree fully this guy who wrote this has probably not even been to Durban

  8. D
    Durban resident says:

    No Natural Disasters

    I live in Durban. Natural disasters is not a concern, the article is completely misleading in this regard. As a tourist you need to exercise caution and listen to good advice given at your hotels and by travel guides. You can then have a wonderful holiday in a beautiful country that is very cost effective. The Durban Botanic Gardens is one of my favourite spots and entry is free.

    1. C
      Clyde Wildhagen says:

      Spent 5 years in Durban way back in the 1940’s with many happy memories. Would love to return for a visit but it’s a long way from our home in Colorado. USA.

  9. utter nonsense

    the most false article I have read in my life, whoever wrote this article is utterly false about everything to the natural disasters to the weather.

  10. B
    Born and raised in Durban says:


    I was born here. We have never had any natural distastes or tsunamis! Do NOT propagate false crap. And dont write an article about a city you clearly have no idea about. Get your facts straight before you decide to inform others.

  11. Please be careful!

    Sadly, I have lived in Durban for nearly 30 years, it was a beautiful place to live! Sadly ( especially In the past 2 years) but crime is increasing to a very dangerous level (murder, rape, hijacking, etc) despite what the politicians would like you to think.

    I have chatted with several people who work in the law courts in Durban and they are astonished at the rise of murder cases. Please do your research eg YouTube etc.

  12. Is this a joke?!

    Pity. The writer forgot to mention Durban’s only active volcano that erupts every 27s in the city centre.

    1. I went there 2 yrs ago I got mugged at gun point and ass raped

      1. C
        COresident says:

        Was it a bad experience?

        1. T
          Tanisha says:

          It happened to me too, but he was sexy, and I was wearing a short skirt, so I’m not surprised.

  13. Moved to Durban in 1988. If life is measured by good times, waves caught, promenade walks, swims, great weather,great food, cheerful people then Durban wins hands down. CNN called Durban the coolest place you never heard of….yes it’s a city so take care and ask locals where and what but join us, you won’t look back, especially if you discover Umhlanga Rocks !!

  14. Article is nonsense.. Since when is a tsunami considered as terrorism?

  15. J
    JOHANATHAN. says:



    1. There is always that comforting story that crime is everywhere. Not true, there are very safe countries and cities all over the world. Come to any Eastern European countries and you’ll be safe, unless you’re really looking for trouble. No armed robberies, no any problems during the night in any part of the city etc. One of the bad sides of western culture is that consideres crime as something normal.

  16. A
    Angry Durban Resident says:

    Rubbish article. Ban the writer

    This is a joke, the biggest load of garbage I’ve seen in my life…. I mean this is a shit sandwich… who wrote this nonsense? Your site is misleading… Terrorism in Durban, natural disasters… the crime exaggeration… look everywhere has crime to a certain degree if you stay clear of doggy areas you should be fine.

  17. Article is false.

    I laughed at the end of the article cos it is such a joke!

  18. N
    No name says:

    Bull shit I’m from durban and there nothing safe about it you can’t walk on the road o on the beach alone you will get robbed or you mite just lose your car. Whoever posted this nonsense is just putting up a face to make it look good. There are cops but you should no the story good for a kfc only yes there are sum good cops but the rest are just useless unfit and the list will go on.

  19. A
    Anonymous says:

    You lying dbn is a wonderful place to be

  20. P
    Philippe says:

    Durban as such is beautiful, although very unsafe for female tourists. Never wonder of in any back alley. Keep your wallet in your front pocket, dont follow anybody that tries to bullshit you in any story. Dont wonder around at night alone. Dozens of cars are stollen daily. Keep your personal belongings in a safe place. Mugging, rape and and is a norm! The writer is only touching the service of all the dangers lurking in this city.

  21. Durban is a wonderful city

    There are no earthquakes; never heard of criminals posing as tourist police. Lived in Durban for over 40 years and have never been mugged. Article is misleading as Durban is a wonderful city; a melting pot of cultural diversity. If common sense precautions are followed, tourists can have a wonderful time here. Fact check first before been misled by exaggerated insinuations.

  22. Officially Confused

    So…. these responses on crime and safety couldn’t negate each other more.
    I am planning a trip to Durban early next year with the hopes of relocating there next year as well.
    I’ve travelled plenty and know how to avoid petty theft and pickpockets, but it sounds like this could be a whole different situation in Durban. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    (P.S. I come from Chicago in the US. We have a really horrible rep when it comes to violence and crime, yet I’ve never been in danger or a victim to a violent crime here in Chicago. So I know what it’s like to simply not be where the violence is. Is that the case for Durban?)

  23. High risk bad. Low risk good.

    I left SA in 1999 due to the Crime/Violence. Lived in Scottburgh & Durban the last 10yrs. My business in Scott. was robbed at gunpoint (Ak47 Assault rifles). My home in Durban broken into three times. Nearly Hijacked twice. My Brother & Sister in Law brutally attacked in their home. My Son shot at. All this in a space of three months. It is all about risk that is usually backed up with Stats. & reports from friends & relatives. The last 20 Yrs I lived in London & since travelled to over 50 Countries. My Wife & I have walked, night & day, the streets of Rome, Istanbul, Paris, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Warsaw, Berlin, Budapest, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Vienna, Edinburgh, Lisbon, Egypt, Amsterdam, Havana, Madeira, Malta, Banjul in The Gambia, Brussels, Dubrovnic, Athens, Monaco, Jerusalem, The Canary Islands & others. Not once did I feel nervous, afraid or necessary to be cautious & was never bothered by anyone ever. Why go to SA when the risk is high & not worth taking? It is an advertised/known fact it has a massive problem with violent crime. Check the Stats. Talk to people who have lived there. Go to the Greek Islands. The Caribbean. Spain. France. It is so much better out there with little or no risk.

  24. N
    Nolwazi says:

    No there s is no such a thing i’Ve never heard or see this in Durban this writer need us who settle in Dbn to ask her about this does he or she know what they are writing Dbn take action they are disrespecting and embarrassing us in our visitors

  25. A
    Anonymous says:

    Born in Durban. Only natural disaster I remember was flooding In the Umgeniriver that took out most of the bridges. Crime is a problem and the reason I left.

  26. T
    Tanisha says:

    Durban is a beautiful city, but it can be dangerous at night. While others say crime is everywhere, you are more likely to be a victim of crime in Durban especially in the city centre. I was sexually assaulted just outside the city hall at 5pm, and nobody came to my assistance. That said he was very sexy. Before that, someone offered me crack, but the quality was crap. There was an earthquake once, but not very strong. You’re more likely to get your stiletto’s covered in litter and excrement because the streets in the city are not clean.


    My greatest fear after reading most of these posts is spelling and grammar 😂

    Hard to read so many of you😂😂😂

    By the way, I am a Capetonian who would risk a mugging or two for living in the haven that Durban and everything surrounding it is.

  28. A
    Anonymous says:

    I know a Police officer Andrew Holland Who worked for Londons Met police He was demoted and Left Due to Corruption .He now works For Durban Police .Same old story there

  29. If you are lucky, you could enjoy Durban as a tourist but maybe you need a bodyguard if you are elderly and vulnerable.

    The last thing you need to worry about are natural disasters in Durban but along the Esplanade and in central Durban, if you are walking about with phones taking pics as tourists do you could be putting yourself at risk. No obvious bag or valuables in sight and if you walk briskly as if you know where you are going, you may be OK. But crime is rampant and it is definitely a no-go area at night. The beachfront and Botanic Gardens should be fine in the morning but no swimming at the moment because of ecoli. Take a taxi to Botanic Gardens as it may not be safe to walk there. It all depends on your vulnerability and who is casing the joint for easy pickings.

  30. F
    Future Visitor says:


    So having read all these comments, I will put in my review now, so if I don’t make it back… uhhh yeah :/ no news is bad news …..

    im sure it will be fine

Durban Rated 3.36 / 5 based on 50 user reviews.

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