uShaka Marine World in Durban, South Africa, is Africa’s top rated Marine Park. The park offers daytime attractions such as a Sea World aquarium, a Wet ‘N Wild water theme park, beach area, as well as a day time shopping and dining and night time entertainment area in the Village Walk.
Attractions at the park include Chimp and Zee, a rope climbing adventure with activities scaled from introductory to thrilling. The ropes course is home to Africa’s longest continuous belay system. Guests climb through 18 different ropes course elements, including two zip lines. A child friendly course is located close to the ground.
The park’s Sea World area is Africa’s largest aquarium. In addition to the exhibits, Sea Animals Encounter Island includes an opportunity to swim up close to several ocean creatures. The Meet a Dolphin Experience allows guests to feed and touch the dolphins, while the Snorkel Lagoon lets guests swim among the sea life of a protected lagoon. Ray Feed lets visitors walk up to waist deep in a pool of friendly spotted eagle rays, while Fish Feed is a child friendly activity that lets kids feed the fish. For those looking for more adventure, the Ocean Walk lets visitors walk on the ocean floor, wearing special astronaut-like helmets to allow for breathing, while the XPanda Shark Dive puts guests in the water in a shark tank, while sharks swim slowly by. Special Back of the House Tours allow visitors to see behind the scenes of Africa’s largest Marine Water Park.
The park’s Wet ‘N Wild theme park offers water slide attractions. A kid’s slide is designed for guests ages 6 and under, and a lazy river tube float allows for slow twists and turns. More adventurous rides include the Dizzy Duzi, a whitewater adventure on inner tubes, and tube slides such as the Jika Jika and the Multi Lane Racer. Body slides include the Mamba Tunnel Slide, the enclosed slide rides such as the Squid and the Cuda, and the park’s fastest and newest slide, the Body Tornado.
Located at the ocean’s edge, UShaka Marine World also offers a variety of beach activities. Guests may rent kayaks, or take a kayak lesson or guided kayak tour. Stand Up Paddle boards and surf lessons are available, and packages for children’s birthday parties take place on the beach.
Dangerous Creatures is a reptile exhibit featuring friendly animals such as Freddy the Iguana, as well as venomous snakes and lizards. The Kids Corner offers a child friendly playground area and is frequently visited by the park’s mascots. The park’s Village Walk is the largest open-air shopping mall in South Africa and offers a variety of retail shops and restaurants.
History: The uShaka Marine Park first opened its doors in April of 2004. Designed by the American firm of Creative Kingdom Incorporated, the park was the first phase in the development of Durban Point, a multi-billion dollar waterfront development that includes the theme park, residential and commercial areas. In 2005, the 40-acre park won an Outstanding Achievement award from the Themed Entertainment Association for the park’s creative design. The park’s 4.6 million gallons of aquarium exhibits make it the largest aquarium in Africa. Close to 1 million visitors enjoy the exhibits each year.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Ongoing shows and entertainment at the park includes the Dolphin Shows and Seal Shows at uShaka’s Sea World. Two daily Dolphin Show presentations let guests view the park’s 10 dolphins, including Gambit, who has performed at the aquarium since 1976, and is believed to be the world’s largest bottlenose dolphin in captivity.
Events at the park are both entertaining and educational. Educational events include the release of recently rehabilitated animals. The park’s rehabilitation center recently released several Sting Ray pups born at the aquarium, and a rehabilitated grouper. Five week educational programs on marine ecology offer an in-depth study of ocean life. Entertainment events include themed holiday parties at the Village Walk, and adults-only poolside parties at Wet ‘N Wild, which feature DJ’s and live entertainment. The annual Mr. and Ms. uShaka event is a popular beauty pageant held at the park each October. Promotional events are ongoing and include discounted admission days for grandparents and children.
Several venues throughout the park are available for private corporate events, weddings and parties. Packages for children’s birthday parties are available at Kid’s World, Wet ‘N Wild or the Sea World area.
1 King Shaka Ave, Point, Durban, 4001, South Africa, Phone: +27-03-13-28-80-00