Thanks to an abundance of resources and a strategic location on world shipping routes, Durban has been an important hub of industrial development and economic activity for nearly 150 years.
Today, the city of Durban is the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa. It's responsible for over 65% of the total revenue generated in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Durban is also home to the head offices of a number of large corporations, including the Pick 'n Pay Group, Aspen Holdings, Defy Appliances, the Mr Price Group and Dionwired.
With continued economic growth and an abundance of business opportunities, it's clear that Durban is the place to be.
The history of Durban
If you live or work in Durban, you're bound to know some of the history of South Africa's second-largest city...but did you know that:
- The Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, arrived in Port Natal on Christmas day in 1497. He subsequently named the harbour “Terra de Natal”, which means “Christmas Country” in Portuguese.
- In 1835, the city was renamed Durban, in honour of Sir Benjamin d'Urban, who was Governor of the Cape Colony from 1834 until early-1838.
- From 1860, Indian labourers were imported from India to work on Durban's sugar cane plantations. As a result, Durban has the highest population of Indians outside of India.
- The historic Jumuah Musjid Mosque in Grey Street was the first mosque built in Durban, and remains the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere to date.
- Durban was home to the first steam railway in the country, which was opened in 1860.
Here are a few fun facts that you might not know about present-day Durban...
- With a population increase of around 300 000 between 2001 and 2011, Durban is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in South Africa.
- Durban's harbour, Port Natal, is the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa and the fourth largest container terminal in the Southern Hemisphere – handling approximately 31,4 million tons of cargo annually.
- Richards Bay, located 177,63 kilometres from Durban, is the centre of South Africa's aluminium industry, as well as home to the largest sand-mining and mineral processing operation in the world.
- The Gateway Shopping Centre in Umhlanga is one of the largest shopping centres in Africa – the new Mall of Africa occupies a larger space overall, but the area of it dedicated to shopping is actually smaller. The Gateway boasts more than 350 stores, 70 eateries, 18 movie theatres, the world's highest indoor climbing rock and the highest fountain in Africa.
- In 2014, Durban was named one of the New 7 Wonders Cities by the New7Wonders Foundation. The results were based on an internet poll. Other cities chosen were Beirut, Doha, Havana, La Paz, Vigan and Kuala Lumpur.
Durban office space
Durban office space is in high demand and it can be challenging to find affordable, traditional office space in sought-after business centres. XtraSpace Flexi Offices provide an alternative solution, enabling you to run your business from a prime Durban address at a fraction of the usual cost.
With office infrastructure, from internet to meeting rooms, already set up and a range of onsite business services available, you can move in and start running your business straight away – and you won't need to sign a long lease.