Port Natal Maritime Museum in Durban

Durban's port

Location & Opening Hours

Located at the Bay end of Samora Machel Street, next to BAT centre Durban is the Port Natal Maritime Museum. Open Monday to Saturday from 08.30 to 16.00 and on Sundays and Public Holidays from 11.00 to 16.00. The museum has an outdoor seating area under blue umbrellas where visitors can enjoy refreshments including cool drinks and chips.

The location of the Museum is spectacular as it's backed by a panoramic view of Durban Harbour. Visitors are given the opportunity to gain an insight into the influence of maritime culture not only on local life but also on the lives of those who lived at sea. Anyone interested in learning more about maritime history will find the Museum an unforgettable experience. There are collections from amazing voyages, dramatic tales and attractions that include the multi-ton floating vessels.

Exhibitions at the Port Natal Maritime Museum

The vessels that can be explored include the steam tug JR More, the minesweeper SAS Durban and other exhibits such as the Ulundi and NCS Challenger. The exhibits offer families and tours groups hours of education, fun and exploration.

The NCS Challenger is a yacht of only 5.8metres that was skippered by Anthony Steward in his journey around the world. The voyage was started in 1991 and he travelled 22,890 nautical miles, becoming the first person to sail around the world in an open boat.

The Ulundi is a coal-fired steam powered tug and the oldest surviving pilot tug in South Africa. Her working life began in 1927 in Algoa Bay. It was bought by the South African Railway Administration in 1935 and put into service in Durban Harbour. At first she was used as a pilot tug and tow boat but was later used to transport labourers to various sites around the harbour. In 1982 she retired from service and was craned into her current location on the cradle at the Maritime Museum.

A group of maritime enthusiasts have recently formed Friends of the Port Natal Maritime Museum and they are involved in various project at the museum. There are also a number of operators near the museum that can provide boat trips for interested visitors.
The BAT Centre is located 200 metres from the museum and has an entertainment and refreshment area as well as dedicated work areas and galleries for artists. There is also a shop that sells a variety of unique arts and crafts, many of which have been made by local artists.

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