February 14, 2020

There’s plenty of adventure to be had on the Durban Promenade. Now, eight-kilometres long the Indian Ocean provides a beautiful backdrop to the bounty of outdoor opportunities on this seafront walkway.

Melanie van Zyl took the new Hi-Tec Leo collection for a stroll, SUP and spin on the iconic esplanade.

Stroll

During the 2010 World Cup, Durban’s beachfront received a much-needed upgrade. A decade later and the wide promenade is still beloved by runners, walkers, skaters and cyclists.

After recent additions, the beachfront promenade is now the longest in sub-Saharan Africa at over 8km. The prom (as it’s referred to by Durban locals) starts at Blue Lagoon in the north, passes Moses Mabhida Stadium and reaches all way to the Durban Harbour mouth.

The newest section is located south of uShaka Marine World. Start your walking explorations here. You can now stroll all along the length of the pier and watch the ships come into dock.

Durban Point Waterfront sits at this end of the promenade. Be sure to check out the network of canals just beyond the boardwalk (ask where they keep the hammerhead sharks) and enjoy the homemade goods on offer at the recently opened Maha Cafe (especially if you’re averse to the crowds of uShaka Marine World).

SUP

Arrive on the promenade at dawn to watch as surfers glide out towards the sun and return, walking on water, to the beach. Golden Mile is the name given to the popular swathes of sand from South Beach to the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World in the north. It’s always been famous for surfing, but why not embrace one of the newer watersports and learnt how to Stand Up Paddleboard instead? 

Xpressions on the bach (just above Surf Rider’s Cafe) offers lessons to newbies. Addington Beach is the perfect beginner’s playground to learn to cruise on a SUP. The expert guides go through everything from how to hold the paddle correctly, where to place your feet (their wide, stable boards do most of the balancing for you) and how to keep on smiling. The waters near the harbour mouth are protected and thus much flatter. It’s easier than it looks and if the weather doesn’t play along, then lessons are held on the waterfront canals. Keep an eye out for their Saturday special.

Cycle

There are plenty of bicycle rental stations on the promenade, and it’s hands-down the easiest way to get around quickly. The terrain is mostly flat, and there are plenty of excellent places to stop.

Soak up the North Beach sand installations, where artists create love letters, traditional sandcastles and even life-sized rhinos. Stop for a snack or just enjoy the ocean air whizzing over you.

Depending on the route you’d like to do or length you’re prepared to tackle (you need to return the bicycle to the same spot) you can find bicycle rentals at uShaka Marine World, Addington Beach, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Country Club Beach, Blue Lagoon or try a guided cycle tour with Bike and Saddle.

Most coffee shops are geared to hosting cyclists and safely stashing your bike during breakfast is never a problem, which takes us to our next activity.

Sip

Life’s all about balance. There are some great cafes and cocktails with a view on the Durban promenade. In the south, Moyo on the Pier is an institution for scenic sundowners, and Surf Riders Cafe is a pet-friendly cafe for those with pups. Centrally, try Circus Circus for great views (it’s the closest you’ll get to having your feet in the sand with a coffee in hand). Bike and Bean in the north not only hire out bicycles (even with baby trolleys), skateboards and surfboards, they serve up a mean cappuccino too. The cafe is renowned for its great single-origin African coffee. Otherwise, there are plenty of offerings at the Suncoast Casino - including a happy hour at Tiger’s Milk.

Skate

Watch the professionals flip out at the North Beach skate park or jump in on the action. Skateboards are available to hire next door to Circus Circus. Enjoyable graffiti art is also worth the visit alone. If you prefer something less likely to leave bruises, try out the go-karts available to rent instead. 

Tested: Hi-Tec Meridian W Shoes

They’re not specialist trail shoes, but the crossover Hi-Tec Meridian W shoes were just right for a walk and cycle along the promenade. Like the more traditional hiking shoes that Hi-Tec is known for, these sneakers feature excellent foot support, durability (although, the dusky pink does show the dirt after a couple of adventures) and breathability - a necessity on Durban’s sweltering summer days. The rubber outsole also provides decent traction and the uppers squash slightly, making them easy to pack. The best feature, however, is that they always look swish - I love the somewhat vintage design - without sacrificing performance.

Tested: Hi-Tec ¾ Leggings

My favourite garment of the SS19 Leo collection. I received so many compliments on these fresh, summery and comfortable tights. The design of the Movement ¾ Leggings is inspired by South Africa’s gorgeous Strelitzia blooms, otherwise known as the Bird of Paradise flower. Stretchy in all the right places, I liked the thoughtful detail on the leggings, such as the nifty little secret pocket in the back of the waistband to stash a card or car keys.

Tested: Hi-Tec Breezy Tank Top

This lightweight, soft-to-the-touch denim-coloured fabric of the Hi-Tec Breezy Tank Top made is easy to pack (it didn’t crease) and the stretch allowed for plenty of mobility during testing. The open back picks up the strelitzia pattern of the matching tights, and overall, it’s a trendy fit. The front was a little low-cut for me and is probably best paired with the right tank top, like the Vapor Crop Top.  

by Melanie van Zyl 

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