Observing the theme ‘All Things Heritage’, this year’s Durban Port Festival to be hosted by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) will embrace the diversity of Durban’s different cultures, traditions and heritage, while showcasing the rich history of South Africa’s busiest commercial port.

The annual event takes place from Saturday, 29 September 2018, 11am to 8pm and Sunday, 30 September, 11am to 6pm in the harbour precinct off Margaret Mncadi Avenue.

It offers a weekend of portside fun for all ages, thanks to the proud support of Durban Tourism, EThekwini Municipality, Bidfreight Port Operations, EThekwini Maritime Cluster, East Coast Radio, the KwaZulu Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Bulk Connections, the Confucius Institute at Durban University of Technology, African Marine Solutions, MSC Cruises and SMG Ballito.

Nationally, port festivals are part of TNPA’s efforts to transform our commercial ports into ‘Smart People’s Ports’ that have a focus on community engagement, tourism, leisure, recreation, and career and business opportunities.

Acting Durban Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane, said: “Our port festivals encourage communities to enjoy all the edu-tainment lined up for them, but have the important underlying focus of helping TNPA to raise awareness of the ports, including the career and business opportunities they represent.”

All Things Heritage
All Things Heritage

“This year has even more significance with the International Maritime Organization’s 2018 World Maritime Day also due to be observed in September under the theme ‘Our Heritage, better shipping for a better future’, so we really would like our communities to get excited about the Oceans Economy, to come out and support the Durban Port Festival and to develop a connection with the bustling Port of Durban,” she added.

Festivities kick off on Saturday 29 September with a parade. From Saturday, 29 to Sunday, 30 September port-goers can board and tour real-life SA Navy ships stationed at the N Shed passenger terminal in the Port of Durban. N Shed will also showcase an exhibition of maritime careers and opportunities for small and medium businesses, while TNPA will have tugboats and other marine craft open for tours throughout the weekend.

Waterside activities will include a sail-past and regatta, sea rescue displays, jet ski demos and a tugboat ‘dance’.

Acting Port Manager Nokuzola Nkowane
Acting Port Manager Nokuzola Nkowane

Get a complimentary shuttle or enter via the BAT Centre port entrance for access to the main festivities in the vicinity of Royal Natal Yacht Club. Here you can enjoy guided tours at the Port Natal Maritime Museum, live entertainment on the main stage, a mini market and arts and crafts stalls, plus Harley Davidsons, superbikes and supercars, jet ski viewing, rides and loads more.

The special kids’ zone behind Royal Natal Yacht Club will feature face painting, kids’ entertainment, competitions, jumping castles and rides.

On Sunday 30 September the programme kicks off at 07h00 with a 5km fun run and walk around the Port of Durban. This activity is free to enter for up to 200 festival ticket holders. Register for the race at www.durbanportfestival.co.za/fun-run/.

The entertainment programme is bursting with top national and local music talent as well as dance and magic.

Dj HappyGal will be on the decks and you can also catch live performances by popular South African music artists. On Saturday there will be performances by Holly Rey, Junior De Rocka, DJ Tira, Clermont Choir, Qadasi and Maqhinga, while on Sunday performers include the living legend Ringo Madlingozi, Lady Zamar, Eric Canham, Simthandile Mtolo and jazz band, Too Close.

The festival’s lifestyle village will offer food and drinks for all tastes, including popular outlets, food trucks, a shisanyama, local stallholders, a gin pop up bar, a wine pop up bar, a sushi bar and a beer garden. Food and drinks brought from outside the event will not be permitted and patrons are asked to support the wide range of vendors and stallholders by only purchasing food, beverages and alcohol from inside the festival areas.

Festival entry per day is just R30 for adults and R15 for children under the age of 13, with tickets available through Computicket.  Kids under 3 enter free.

Gates open at 10h00 each day and the hubs of activity within the port will be at the N-Shed (Durban cruise terminal) via Port Entrance 3, Quayside Road (off Margaret Mncadi / Victoria Embankment), as well as at Port Festival Island which is in the vicinity of the Royal Natal Yacht Club / BAT Centre/ Port Natal Maritime Museum.