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World Cup 2010 Preview: Durban

World Cup 2010 Preview: Durban

The City of Durban is the busiest port in South Africa, and the largest city in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. Holidaymakers can take a rickshaw ride along the city’s Golden Mile – the four kilometre stretch of beaches, promenades, swimming pools and restaurants which has come to define the city – or just relax at UShaka Marine World, Africa’s largest marine-themed park.

The city has an intense gusto for life and has a diverse range of cultures. Durban is the venue for one of the two semifinals of the FIFA World Cup and, with its humid weather, it is bound to be a tourist hot spot during the tournament.

At the very heart of Durban is the ‘golden mile’, a four kilometre stretch of beaches, promenades, swimming pools and restaurants. The water is warmed by the Aghulas current and even during winter, the water temperature averages at 15°C making it ideal for year-round swimming.

UShaka Marine World is Africa’s largest Marine-themed park. Within the park is one of the five largest aquariums in the world.

Durban is also a gateway to the Zulu Kingdom, where tourists can experience the intensity of Zulu culture. The city is also a good base from which to explore two UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park has various landforms such as coral reefs, coastal dunes, lake systems, swamps, and reed and papyrus wetlands. The Ukahlamba/Drakensberg National Park has dramatic blue mountains and the largest concentration of rock paintings south of the Sahara.


Durban is home to two Premier Soccer League clubs, Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United. The city is said to have hosted South Africa’s first football league in 1882, which comprised four clubs: Pietermaritzburg County, Natal Wasps, Durban Alpha and Umgeni Stars.

Durban has produced numerous South African championship-winning sides but in recent years its teams have struggled to preserve their top flight statuses. Zulu Royals were the first winners of the National Professional Soccer League in 1971.

Durban hosted group, quarter-final and semi-final games in the 1996 CAF Africa Cup of Nations. The city also hosted South Africa’s game against England in 2003, which helped launch the country’s bid for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. England won the encounter 2-1.

The newly-built Moses Mabhida Stadium will host one of the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The ground epitomises the architectural innovation in South Africa and takes its design inspiration from the South African flag, with its grand arch representing the unity of this sport-loving nation. The two legs of the arch on the southern side of the stadium come together to form a single footing on the northern side, symbolising the new unity of a once-divided country.

The 70,000-seater has been specifically designed as a multi-purpose venue and an amphitheatre complete with a cable car which ascends to a viewing platform at the top of the expansive 350m arch, an impressive 106m above the pitch. From this vantage point, visitors can experience spectacular panoramic views of the nearby shoreline and the city.

It is a world-class and multifunctional arena located in the heart of the Kings Park Sporting Precinct. Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium will be the jewel in the crown of the Kings Park Sporting precinct. The entire area will feature additional sporting arenas and facilities as well as restaurants, shops, play areas for children and a pedestrian walkway linking the stadium complex to the beach.

Fast Facts

Name: Durban
Province: KwaZulu-Natal
Population: 3064624
Altitude: 0m
Geography: The city is located on a huge natural lagoon that forms its harbour with a range of hills inland that are the remains of fossilized sand-dunes.
Climate: Sub-tropical, mild and sunny winters, hot and humid summers. Average temperatures are around 16 to 25° C year round.
Key Economic Sectors: Tourism, transport, agriculture, manufacturing
Football Clubs: Amazulu, Golden Arrows, Thanda Royal Zulu, Maritzburg United (Premier) Durban Stars, Nathi Lions (1st Division)

Group D: Germany, Australia
Group H: Spain, Switzerland
Group E: Netherlands, Japan
Group B: Nigeria, Korea Republic
Group G: Portugal, Brazil