Hotels line the city center's beachfront, but with the exception of The Edward (tel. 031/337-3681;; sea-facing double (R2,060), the faded grande dame of Durban's city center beachfront, most are pretty tacky; if you're looking for character and value, you're better off in a great guesthouse on what is known as "The Ridge," with views overlooking the city and harbor -- here D'Urban Elephant Guest House and Essenwood are our top picks. Businesspeople prefer The Royal (tel. 031/333-6000;; from R3,040 double), which has exceptional service (it's a member of Leading Hotels of the World), or the Hilton (tel. 031/336-8100; from R2,730 double), which neighbors the city's conference center; both are in the center of town. If you want to be closer to the heart of Durban's nightlife but you're on a budget, try the slightly shabby La Bordello (tel. 031/309- 6019; R600 double), centrally located off Windermere Road. It's right next to Bean Bag Bohemia, so it's a good choice if you want immediate access to a bit of nightlife (tel. 031/309-6019; But with the relocation of Durban's airport north of the city, and Zululand's reserves and coastline beckoning, the Beverly Hills Hotel, Temerok Marine, and Zimbali are the most popular places to stay.

West of Durban

An hour west of Durban, just beyond Pietermaritizberg, is the start of the Midlands Meander, an area of undulating green hills, numerous arts and crafts stops, and some of the best accommodation destinations in the province; it's a great way to take to the Drakensberg or Battlefields.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.