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Durban Central, Durban


Durban Central at a glance

The history of Durban's Central Business District (CBD) is a fascinating journey that reflects the city's evolution from a small British trading post to a thriving metropolis on the eastern coast of South Africa. With a history rich in cultural diversity, economic development, and urban transformation, Durban's CBD stands as a testament to the city's growth and resilience over the years.

The story of Durban's CBD begins in the early 19th century when British settlers established a small trading post on the shores of the Indian Ocean. This trading post, known as Port Natal at the time, would later become Durban.

Durban's strategic location along the east coast of South Africa made it a prime candidate for a port city. The natural harbour and access to trade routes contributed significantly to the city's growth as a trading hub. As early as the mid-19th century, Durban's CBD was teeming with activity, bustling with merchants, traders, and entrepreneurs from around the world.

Durban Harbour has seen ongoing expansion and modernization efforts to meet the growing demands of global trade. The Harbour was the major factor for growth for the CBD and greater Durban area and into the rest of South Africa. It has played a pivotal role in facilitating trade and commerce, both nationally and internationally.

Investment in infrastructure, equipment, and technology has been a priority to enhance the port's efficiency and capacity. Durban Harbour is a crucial economic hub for South Africa. It handles a significant portion of the country's imports and exports, making it a vital lifeline for the nation's economy. The port deals with a wide range of cargo, including containers, bulk goods, vehicles, and more. The Durban Harbour, is still the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa. It handles up to 31.4 million tons of cargo each year.

After World War I Durban changed from a prim Victorian town to a modern metropolis with skyscrapers and multistory buildings. Like most City’s you can expect a mixed use of buildings ranging from residential, commercial and retail. Many buildings are very old, with a fascinating history behind them, while you can find a few modern buildings.

The British colonial presence in Durban left an indelible mark on the CBD's architecture and urban layout. Elegant Victorian and Edwardian buildings that once housed banks, government offices, and trading companies still stand as a testament to this era. The Old Court House, built in 1866, is one such example, reflecting the grandeur of British colonial architecture.

This business district is still one of the busiest areas in KZN and you will find the streets filled with people on their way to work, home or to the shops. One of the most striking characteristics of the CBD is how quickly things change from street to street and even building to building. For example, the esplanade on a good day can look like a postcard from Miami with high rise buildings and palm trees. Yet within a minute’s walk you will see those palm trees replaced with garbage bags. The CBD is full with will diverse people and you will find something for everyone.

Durban's CBD features a mix of modern and historic office buildings, ranging from small office complexes to large, high-rise towers. Many of these buildings offer a variety of office spaces, from private offices to shared workspaces and open-plan areas. Office spaces in the CBD are often situated near a wide range of amenities, including restaurants, coffee shops, banks, and retail stores. This makes it convenient for employees to access essential services and have dining options during work hours. The CBD is home to a diverse range of businesses, including finance, legal, government, and various corporate offices.

As one of South Africa’s largest metros, the Durban CBD is serviced by an abundance of transport options that can be used by clients, employers and employees alike.

Linking Durban with large centres such as Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg is the N3 Western Freeway. While the N2 Outer Ring Road connects Durban to the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. The N2, N3, M4 and R102 further run between surrounding residential nodes, making it easier for employees to commute to and from work each day.

The CBD is well-connected in terms of transportation options, allowing residents, commuters, and tourists to navigate the city efficiently. Here are some of the key transportation options available in the Durban CBD:

  • The city operates a bus service known as Durban Transport, which provides affordable and convenient public transportation within the city and its surroundings. It includes a network of routes that serve the CBD and other areas.
  • The Durban People Mover is a modern, high-frequency bus service that primarily operates in and around the Durban CBD. It connects key points, including the beachfront, hotels, shopping areas, and transportation hubs. The People Mover provides an efficient way to move within the city centre.
  • Mini-Bus Taxi are a popular mode of transportation in Durban. They operate along various routes throughout the city, providing a flexible and relatively affordable way to get around. Many taxi ranks and stops are located in or near the CBD.


Durban's Metrorail service connects the CBD with suburban areas and other parts of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality. The main train station, Durban Station, is located in the CBD, offering commuter rail services to various destinations.

One of the more modern facilities in the area is the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) which is a world-class convention and exhibition facility. It offers a vast amount of space, including multiple exhibition halls, meeting rooms, and auditoriums, making it capable of hosting a wide range of events. The award-winning business hotel, the 5-star Hilton is located next to the ICC which has great accommodation and food.

The Professional Quarter, Durban Club Place has been identified as an urban renewal project and is a great area for business to make their home. The buildings are sought after by legal profession due to its close proximity to the Durban courts. The older buildings have been modernized and now offer modern internal fittings. The Durban Club offers tenants a members club with great facilities and restaurants.

Kingsmead Office Park is a modern and unique inner city office park focused around a central cricket ground within easy walking distance to the Durban CBD and beachfront. The office park offers tenants a high level of security and great access in and out of the CBD. The park is home to Standard Bank, Albaraka Bank and Grindrod to name a few.

The up-and-coming Durban Point, converted industrial buildings house hip bars and eateries, and residential high-rises offer chic vacation rental apartments with sweeping views of the ocean and busy harbour. The Golden Mile beachfront is backed by bike-friendly Durban Point Promenade, while uShaka Marine World is an aquarium and outdoor water park. The point area offers easy access to the newly upgraded promenade extension. This project cost R380 million, forming a small portion of the R35 billion Point Waterfront Development which aims overhaul the entire area and further attract investment and tourists to the area.

The CBD is not just about business; it also offers a rich cultural and entertainment experience. The Playhouse Theatre, for instance, hosts numerous theatrical and musical performances, enriching the city's cultural tapestry. Museums, art galleries, and cultural centers provide insights into Durban's history and diversity.

The CBD offers a diverse shopping experience with a mix of modern malls, local markets, and specialty shops.

The Workshop Shopping Centre is located in the heart of the Durban CBD, The Workshop is a modern shopping center offering a wide variety of retail stores, including fashion boutiques, electronics shops, and restaurants.

The Victoria Street Market, often called the Indian Market, is a historic and vibrant marketplace located in the Durban CBD. It

Warwick Junction is a bustling market area that offers an array of goods, including fresh produce, traditional medicines, clothing, and more. It's a fascinating place to experience the local culture and shop for a wide range of products.

Despite its economic significance, the CBD faces various challenges. Rapid urbanization has led to issues such as traffic congestion, inadequate public transport, and informal settlements. Efforts are underway to address these challenges through urban renewal projects aimed at improving public transport, upgrading infrastructure, and rejuvenating public spaces. The CBD's future is promising, with ongoing development projects aimed at improving urban life, transportation, and economic opportunities. As Durban positions itself as a global city, the CBD will continue to evolve, offering new opportunities for residents and businesses.

If you are you looking to lease the perfect office space in the Durban CBD let 5th Avenue Properties assist your business. 5th Avenue have a great understanding of the area, coupled with a vast network and experience, ensures that they can help businesses find the ideal office space tailored to their specific needs.

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