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WorldIndian OceanAfricaSouth AfricaDurban
Port of Entry
29°52.650'S, 031°02.770'E Chart icon.png
lat=-29.8775 | lon=31.04617 | zoom=12 | y
Durban beachfront skyline

There are few places where you can get off your yacht, walk across the road and be in the city. Add to this a clean harbour, mild climate, friendly people and moorings placed so that the city does not intrude. Little wonder that Durban has become a favourite stopover for sailing yachts from all over the world.

Durban is spread around a broad lagoon that is well protected from the prevalent NE and SW winds that can blow with considerable force. The harbour, entered through a narrow channel.

Durban has a long history dating back to 1497. It is the 9th largest harbour in the world with 15.5km of quays handling about 18 million tons of cargo and 3,000 ships annually. It is a major tourist city with hotels, restaurants and entertainment catering for every taste. It is a great place to relax, refit and provision.


1031 - Durban Harbour
1030 - Approaches to Durban
577 - Approaches to Durban
643 - Durban


Durban's climate is sub-tropical throughout the year with high humidity levels at certain times and you will find that most restaurants and hotels permit casual wear with the exception of those that are very up-market.

Sources for Weather forecasts:


Also see South Africa.


  • SA Maritime Net: The South African Maritime Net operates 7 days a week, and provides weather reports from around the coast, and maintains contact with boats off the coast of South Africa and up into the Mozambique channel. There are two regular schedule times as follows:
    • 06:30 UTC: Starts on 14316 kHz for 5-10 minutes, and then moves to 7,120 kHz.
    • 11:30 UTC: Starts on 14316 kHz for approx. 30 mins and then moves down to 7,120 kHz.
  • Note: There are 2 radio stations associated with Durban Harbour:
    • Call VHF16 - Durban Radio - situated in Pinetown, 16 km inland and handles radiophone calls, puts out weather reports and will relay messages to Durban Port Control if necessary.
    • Call VHF16 - Durban Port Control - controls commercial and private vessel movements in and around Durban harbour.

Also see World Cruiser's Nets


Arriving at Durban Port

During the day Durban is easily identified, but the coastal resorts north of Durban could raise expectations of an early landfall. Keep your eyes open for the Umhlanga Rocks lighthouse (GpFl(3)W 20 sec) and bear in mind that this is about 8M north-east of Durban. Be careful not to confuse this with the Cooper light (Fl W 10 sec), which is about 4M south-west of Durban. About 1.5M north of the harbour entrance is the Anchorage Beacon that is a narrow beam, Fixed White.

NOTE:- the red lights on the Dish Aerials [Conspic.] above Umhlanga Rocks are usually visible long before the Umhlanga Rocks lighthouse comes into view.

The harbour entrance is marked with lights on the North Pier (Fl G 3 sec) and South Breakwater (GpFl (2)W 5 sec). On the top of the Bluff, on the south side of the channel is the Signal Tower, which controls shipping movements into and out of the harbour.

Contact the Signal Tower in advance by VHF radio and warn them of your arrival. Request permission to enter the port when approaching the entrance. The Signal Tower keeps listening watch on VHF 16/9 and SSB 2182 kHz to establish radio contact with the Signal Tower call 'Durban Port Control'.


Lights on top of the Signal Tower are used to warn approaching vessels of shipping movements through the entrance channel:

  • NO LIGHT - Channel clear for use.
  • RED LIGHT - Ship leaving harbour - KEEP CLEAR OF ENTRANCE.
  • GREEN LIGHT - Ship entering harbour - KEEP CLEAR OF ENTRANCE.
  • RED - FLASHING - Harbour entrance CLOSED to shipping.

These lights may be activated some time before the ship enters the channel. Please wait until the channel is clear and the light is out before proceeding. ALWAYS' call 'Durban Port Control' on VHF 9 for final permission to proceed through the channel.

Channel Passage

Passage down the channel is marked by a pair of leading lights

  • White (Occ 4 sec 44m 14M) over Red (ISO 2 sec 22m 12m). At night these lights can be difficult to identify due to the numerous other lights in the vicinity.

Foreign yachts may be met at the end of the channel by the South African Police Services Coast Patrol (usually very helpful), which will escort the yacht to a holding area. Alternatively, Durban Port Control may advise you to proceed to the International Jetty at Durban Marina.


Durban is a port of entry for South Africa. For details see Entrance: South Africa.

The onus is on you to contact the following departments within 24 hours of your arrival

  • Customs
  • Immigration
  • Port Health
  • Portnet
  • (Help with formalities [and forms] is available from Durban Marina)

On arrival visitors raft up in the Visitor's Area, close to the Royal Natal Yacht Club (beyond the "Cafe Fish" restaurant, the building with the blue roof on the yacht mole), and contact the Durban Marina office for clearance and registration. Durban Marina controls 350 pontoon berths and over 200 swing moorings.

[email protected]; Tel: +27 (31) 301 2176; Fax: +27 (31) 305 4514; Website


Before clearing out, the owner/skipper must request permission from Immigration to sign on any crew members previously signed off. Completed departure forms and passports must be submitted. Once approval is granted the lodged guarantees will be returned. It is advisable to do this a few days prior to departure to avoid last minute problems.

When completing clearing procedures, crew lists, passports and a completed departure form will be required. Immigration must be told of the intended time of departure. Often an official will come down to complete formalities just prior to departure. If the time of departure is changed then the Immigration Department must be notified at least 2 hours before the original time of departure. Clearance for foreign yachts can only be obtained Monday to Friday.

Customs & Immigration


Goods to declare: Tobacco & cigarettes, Spirits, Wine, Saccharin, Narcotics, Beer, undesirable books/objects, Firearms, Articles for sale, or gifts.

Note: Yachts should have a sealable locker/container if wishing to hold stores in excess of the allowance or for restricted goods (including firearms). This concession is only allowed once per person during a period of 30 days and is subject to an absence from the Republic of not less than 48 hours. Residents returning to South Africa after a period of less than 6 months do not receive duty-free allowances on new or used golf clubs, television sets, watches, firearms and fur skin apparel.

Customs is within walking distance of the Marina

Customs & Excise Building

Cnr. Stanger street & Victoria Embankment, Durban; Phone: +27 (31) 367 6100


Those persons requiring South African visas can obtain them from any South African Consulate including the Consulate in Reunion. These can be obtained separate from your passport if so required. Ownership papers and a letter from the master accepting responsibility for the crew are necessary when getting visas. South African ensigns are not available from the Consulates at present, but can be purchased from marine stores in Durban on arrival.

The Immigration authorities must clear everyone aboard any yacht arriving from a foreign port and foreign vessels inbound from another South African port. Durban Marina office will arrange for the Immigration Officer to see you at their office.

The skipper/owner must write a letter requesting permission if signing off crew. This is presented to the Immigration Department, together with a completed ARRIVAL form, passport, air ticket or bank guarantee, and visa or request for temporary permit for each crewmember. The application is then submitted for approval (Durban Marina will assist with procedures). It is the master's responsibility to ensure that written authorization is obtained before a crewmember leaves his vessel.

Note: Anyone wishing to visit a neighbouring country must obtain a re-entry visa before leaving Durban.

Immigration Offices:

Security Complex
Permit Offices
Cnr. Bayhead & Iran Roads, Bayhead (towards the Bluff turnoff)


Small Craft Control Department
Deputy Port Captain's Office
111, Point Road, Durban; +27 (31) 61 8411; (Durban Marina will assist you to contact this office)


Officials from the Port Health Department will only visit a yacht on arrival if it comes from a Yellow Fever port or, plague infected port. The yacht skipper is however required to complete the MARITIME DECLARATION OF HEALTH form as part of the immigration department procedures. All crewmembers arriving from Yellow Fever areas must produce valid Yellow Fever certificates. Animals and plants must not be taken ashore until cleared by the State Veterinary Authority.

The address for both the Port Health and State Veterinary departments is:

18 Stanger Street, Durban; +27 (31) 368 6011


Durban is a very large and busy commercial port. Yachts go to the marinas.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

Durban Marina

Durban Marina

Durban Marina/wiki/Durban#Durban_Marina
Marina icon Durban Marina [[Durban#Durban Marina|Durban Marina]] 29°51.780'S, 031°01.302'E
Port of Entry

This marina has over 350 pontoon berths as well as 200 swinging moorings, however space for visitors is limited. Fuel 24/7, laundry, repairs, electricians, sail maintenance.

[email protected]; Tel: +27 (31) 301 2176; Fax: +27 (31) 305 4514; VHF channel XX
Address: 3 Maritime Place, Durban 4000, South Africa

Point Yacht Club

Point Yacht Club/wiki/Durban#Point_Yacht_Club
Marina icon Point Yacht Club [[Durban#Point Yacht Club|Point Yacht Club]] (PYC) 29°51.791'S, 031°01.392'E
Port of Entry

Showers, toilets, bars, restaurant, lounge, function room, fax facilities, free Internet access. Outdoor barbecue area. Membership is free to visitors for the first two weeks, thereafter visiting membership applies. Visitors are very welcome at this friendly yacht club.

[email protected]; Tel: +27 (31) 301 4787; Fax: +27 (31) 305 1234; VHF channel XX
Address: PO Box 2224, Durban 4001, South Africa

Royal Natal Yacht Club

Royal Natal Yacht Club/wiki/Durban#Royal_Natal_Yacht_Club
Marina icon Royal Natal Yacht Club [[Durban#Royal Natal Yacht Club|Royal Natal Yacht Club]] (RNYC) 29°51.786'S, 031°01.279'E
Port of Entry

Showers, toilets, showers, unlimited Wi-Fi, bars, ice, restaurant & take-away, library, function room, weekly barbecue, mail held by arrangement, fax and email facilities. Outdoor barbecue area and pool. Two week temporary free membership period - thereafter visiting membership. Visitors are very welcome at this friendly yacht club.

[email protected]; Tel: +27 (31) 301 5425; Fax: +27 (31) 307 2590; VHF channel XX
Address: Royal Natal Yacht Club, P O Box 2946, Durban 4000, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Bluff Yacht Club

Bluff Yacht Club/wiki/Durban#Bluff_Yacht_Club
Marina icon Bluff Yacht Club [[Durban#Bluff Yacht Club|Bluff Yacht Club]] 29°54.040'S, 031°00.386'E

Chain moorings, restaurants, bar, ice, showers, toilets, restuarant & take-away, lounge, library, barbeque facilities, pool, etc. Membership is free to visitors for the first two weeks after which visiting membership applies.

Note: he Bluff Yacht Club is not situated in the yacht basin area, but is located beyond the Maydon Warf Channel in the south of Durban port.

[email protected]; Tel: +27 (31) 466-1386; Fax: +27 (31) 466-4345; VHF channel XX
Address: P.O. Box 21084, Bluff, 4036, Durban, South Africa


Inner Anchorage

Inner Anchorage/wiki/Durban#Inner_Anchorage
Anchorage icon Inner Anchorage [[Durban#Inner Anchorage|Inner Anchorage]] 29°52.704'S, 031°02.095'E
Possible to anchor here. Fore and aft anchors may be required and care should be taken not to obstruct the channel.


Water In Durban Marina, and Royal Natal Yacht Club
Electricity In Durban Marina, and Royal Natal Yacht Club
Toilets In Durban Marina, and Royal Natal Yacht Club
Showers In Durban Marina, and Royal Natal Yacht Club
Laundry In Durban Marina
Garbage Bins in Durban Marina, and Royal Natal Yacht Club
Fuel In Durban Marina
Bottled gas ?
Chandlers For a FULL, current listing of businesses of interest to cruisers (and boaters in general), download the free PDF document of Welcome to Durban - a Sailor's Guide
  • Cruising Connections - New & used charts, cruising guides, marine publications, flags, etc. 100 meters from the yacht mole. [email protected]
  • Fonz Marine Electrical - Autohelm & RayMarine service agents. Marine electrical installations, marine electronic equipment, switch panels. First Floor, 3 Morrison Street, Durban. Ph. (031) 368-5222, Fax. (031) 368-5202
  • Bluff Yacht Club has a slipway too
Repairs Internet
WiFi in Royal Natal Yacht Club Mobile connectivity
? Vehicle rentals


Give the names and locations of supermarkets, grocery stores, bakeries, etc.

Eating out

Give the name of recommended restaurants, tavernas, pastry stores, etc.


  • Shaka International Airport (IATA: DUR, ICAO: FALE), abbreviated KSIA, is the primary airport serving Durban
  • Durban is well-served by railways



Give a short history of the port.

Places to Visit

Cheetah. Visit a Safari Park

During your stopover in Durban, visit a Game Reserve (Safari Park), for which South Africa is justifiably famous, or visit an authentic Zulu village or historic sites in the company of a tour guide. Cruisers can get information from Cruising Connections

  • Sunbird Tours (Recommended) - Arrange your own customised minibus tour accompanied personally by experienced tour guide Barry Bowditch - half-day, day, 2 day, week, whatever! Game Reserves (Safari Parks), Historical sites, Midlands Meander, Zulu Village, mountains, golf tours, etc. Pickup from the Durban yacht mole or Richards Bay. Design your own tour! Ph: 082 256 0006, Email
  • Natal Sharks Board, Umhlanga Rocks. The only organisation of it's kind in the world. Informative audio-visual presentation, shark dissection, curio shop and boat tours. Ph: (031) 566 0400
  • Natal Maritime Museum, Small Craft Basin. Artefacts, memorabilia, as well as tugboats and a minesweeper. Ph:- (031) 311 2230
  • Tourism Durban. The official Durban Tourism website.
  • Kzn Tourism The official regional tourism website


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

  • Cruising Connections Tony Herrick has assisted 1,000's of cruising yachtsmen passing through South Africa over the years - he is a "minefield" of local information. He is himself a circumnavigator. Email


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)




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