The 10 Best Museums in Durban

Ah, Durban – a vibrant city with a rich tapestry of culture, history, and art. It’s no wonder that it’s home to some of the most fascinating museums in South Africa. Whether you’re a history buff, art enthusiast, or just looking for a unique way to spend the day, Durban’s museums offer a treasure trove of experiences. Let’s dive into the top 10 museums that are a must-visit in this coastal gem.

1. KwaMuhle Museum

Once the headquarters of Durban’s Native Administration Department, the KwaMuhle Museum now stands as a poignant reminder of the city’s apartheid past. It’s a place that tugs at your heartstrings, showcasing the harsh realities of the era. The museum’s exhibits are a testament to the resilience and strength of the human spirit. You’ll leave with a deeper understanding of Durban’s history and the people who shaped it.

2. Durban Natural Science Museum

For those with a curiosity for the natural world, the Durban Natural Science Museum is a wonderland. Nestled in the City Hall, it’s home to an impressive collection of both local and international specimens. From dinosaur replicas to a vast array of taxidermy, there’s something here to spark everyone’s interest. And let’s not forget the rare dodo skeleton – it’s a sight to behold!

3. Phansi Museum

Step into the Phansi Museum and you’re stepping into a world of African art and cultural heritage. The museum’s collection of traditional artifacts, from beadwork to wooden sculptures, is simply mesmerizing. It’s like a journey through the various cultures of Southern Africa, all under one roof. The guided tours are particularly insightful, offering stories and context that bring the exhibits to life.

4. The Old Court House Museum

History buffs, rejoice! The Old Court House Museum, Durban’s oldest public building, is a treasure trove of historical artifacts. It’s like walking through time, with exhibits that tell the story of Durban from its early colonial days to the present. The maritime history section is particularly fascinating, with models of ships that once sailed the Indian Ocean.

5. Port Natal Maritime Museum

Speaking of maritime history, the Port Natal Maritime Museum offers a unique glimpse into the nautical past of Durban. Climb aboard real ships, including a tugboat and a Naval cutter, and imagine life at sea. The museum also delves into the importance of Durban as a port city, highlighting its role in trade and industry.

6. BAT Centre

The BAT Centre is where art comes alive in Durban. It’s not just a museum; it’s a hub of creativity, showcasing the work of local artists and musicians. The atmosphere is electric, with live performances and workshops that invite you to tap into your own creative spirit. The art on display is as diverse as the city itself, ranging from paintings to sculptures and beyond.

7. The Campbell Collections

Hidden away in the leafy suburb of Morningside, The Campbell Collections are a bit of a secret gem. Housed in a stunning colonial mansion, the collections include Zulu cultural artifacts, historical documents, and an array of fascinating items collected by the Campbell family. It’s a quiet, reflective space that offers a unique perspective on the region’s history.

8. African Art Centre

The African Art Centre is a Celebration of African creativity. It’s a place that supports local artists and craftspeople, with a focus on empowerment and development. The artwork here is vibrant and full of life, telling stories of Africa through color and texture. You can even pick up a piece to take home with you, knowing you’re supporting the local art community.

9. The Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre

For a deeply moving experience, the Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre is a must-visit. It’s a space dedicated to remembering the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides. The exhibits are powerful and educational, promoting a message of tolerance and human rights. It’s a sobering reminder of the atrocities humanity is capable of, but also of our capacity for kindness and compassion.

10. Cato Manor Heritage Centre

Last but not least, the Cato Manor Heritage Centre tells the story of Cato Manor’s vibrant community and its struggle during the apartheid era. The centre is a tribute to the resilience of the people who lived there, with interactive exhibits that bring their stories to life. It’s a place of reflection and inspiration, showcasing the power of community and the spirit of Ubuntu.


  • What are the operating hours for most museums in Durban?
    Most museums in Durban are open from 8:30 AM to 4 PM, but it’s always best to check ahead as times can vary.
  • Are there any free museums in Durban?
    Yes, several museums offer free admission, including the Durban Natural Science Museum and the KwaMuhle Museum on certain days.
  • Can I purchase local art at any of these museums?
    Absolutely! The BAT Centre and the African Art Centre are great places to buy original artwork and support local artists.


In conclusion, Durban’s museums are a testament to the city’s diverse history, rich culture, and artistic Talent. From the reflective halls of the KwaMuhle Museum to the vibrant corridors of the BAT Centre, there’s a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to be found. Each museum offers a unique window into different facets of Durban’s past and present, making them essential stops for anyone looking to understand the heart and soul of this coastal city. So next time you’re in Durban, make sure to carve out some time for these top 10 museums – your mind and spirit will thank you!

Remember, whether you’re a local or a visitor, these museums are more than just places to pass the time. They’re guardians of stories, keepers of history, and incubators of creativity. So go ahead, step into the past, engage with the present, and be inspired for the future. Durban’s museums are waiting to share their treasures with you.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.