King Shaka International Airport (IATA code: DUR) is situated about 20 miles (35km) north of the South African city of Durban. It’s the third-largest airport in South Africa after Cape Town airport and O. R. Tambo in Johannesburg.
The current airport is situated close to the M4/M43 junction, close to the town of Tongaat on R102. King Shaka was built ahead of the 2010 World Cup to replace the previous Durban International Airport. It’s a large and modern facility which in 2016/17 handled more than 5m visitors per year and over 55,000 aircraft movements.
Durban is situated on South Africa’s east coast, in the KwaZulu Natal region. Attractions for visitors to the area include nearby coastal resorts and — further inland — the Maloti-Drakensberg Park.
International flights into Durban are available from a range of African destinations such as Windhoek, Namibia, plus some Middle Eastern cities. Most international flights from Europe and the USA come via Cape Town or Johannesburg, from where you can take a domestic flight to King Shaka at Durban.
Car rental is available from a mixture of local and international hire companies at the airport. At the time of writing (August 2017), I was able to obtain quotes from the following firms:
- Bidvest Car Rental
- Tempest Car Hire
- Woodford Exclusive Rentals
A full range of cars was available, including mini, compact, standard and premium models. Minivans/minibuses with up to nine seats were also available, along with SUV, pickups and cargo vans.
Driving tips for South Africa
Here are a few useful tips for drivers who haven’t visited South Africa before:
- Drive on the left
- Some national routes between cities are toll roads.
- Major roads are generally surfaced and in good condition, but rural roads vary widely and are often unsurfaced (dirt) roads. Check with your rental company to see if they impose restrictions on the type of roads you can use.
- Signs are in English. All speeds and distances are in kilometres. Be aware of speed limit signs as enforcement can be strict and without warning.
- Be aware that while a driving holiday is a viable choice, distances are high.
- Plan to use filling stations to fuel, use restrooms and buy refreshments. Try to avoid unscheduled stops.
- Security: always keep your doors locked and windows closed in town or other areas where criminals may operate. Keep valuables/bags/etc out of sight at all times.
- Traffic lights are known as ‘robots’ in South Africa!
- Don’t stop for hitchikers or motorists apparently in distress, as these techniques are sometimes used by hijackers
- Try to avoid driving at night
For more tips, check out the Arrive Alive campaign’s road safety advice for foreigners in South Africa.