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Durban in Summer: What to Wear

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Got a summer trip planned to Durban, South Africa? Durban can be fun to visit in the summer, but you'll want to make sure you're dressed right. The weather is hot and very humid, with temperatures averaging around 81°F (that's 27°C). So what should you wear so you can stay comfy and fit in with the local vibe?

To stay cool in the heat, it's important to wear light and airy clothing. Cotton, linen, and technical fabrics are all good choices. And don't forget to pack a pair of sandals or lightweight sneakers. With a comfortable pair of shoes, you'll be able to explore everything Durban has to offer without foot fatigue.

In just a second, I'll share my specific recommendations for exactly what to wear in Durban in summer—whether you're spending time on the beach, visiting the Durban Botanic Gardens, taking a walk through the Umgeni River Bird Park, or going on a safari at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

Editor's note: Durban is in the Southern Hemisphere, which means the summer months are from December to February. If you're going to Durban during the June to August period, you'll want to check out our winter guide instead.

What to wear for a summer trip to Durban

What should women wear in Durban in summer?

Durban in summer is generally hot, and there are a few key items you'll want to pack. Here's what I definitely wouldn't go without: loose-fitting clothing, shirts or tunics, maxi dresses, shorts, and pashmina. With these essentials, you’ll be all set to experience everything Durban has to offer.

Loose-fitting clothing

When packing for Durban in summer, it's important to choose clothing that will keep you cool and comfortable. Loose-fitting clothes are ideal, as they allow air to circulate around your body and help to regulate your temperature. Look for lightweight fabrics such as cotton or linen, which will help you to stay cool even in the hottest weather. When choosing colors, stick to light shades which will reflect rather than absorb heat. And don't forget to pack a few items that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. With a little planning, you can ensure that you'll be comfortable and stylish no matter what the weather is like on your trip.

Why not treat yourself before you go:

Shirts or tunics

Shirts or tunics are one of the most versatile and easy-to-wear items you can pack for Durban. They can be dressed up or down, and they work well in a variety of settings, from the beach to the city. When choosing shirts or tunics for your trip, look for ones that are made from lightweight fabrics such as linen or cotton. These fabrics will help keep you cool and comfortable in the warm weather.

Here's a few ideas to get you started:

Maxi dresses

A maxi dress is the perfect Durban staple. It's comfortable, flattering, and can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion. Whether you're exploring or just relaxing, a maxi dress will keep you cool and stylish all day long. It's also a great way to cover up for modesty if you need to (simply add a long-sleeved cardigan over the top). And packing a maxi dress is a breeze—simply roll it up and tuck it into your suitcase. When choosing a maxi dress, look for one made from lightweight fabric such as linen or cotton. Avoid bold prints and opt for simple colors that can be easily accessorized.

If you're stuck for ideas, here are some of my favorites:


Shorts are one of the most versatile and essential items in any travel wardrobe. They can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion, and they're perfect for dealing with hot weather. Plus, they're easy to pack and don't take up much space in your suitcase. Just make sure to pack a few different colors and styles so you'll have something to wear for different occasions.

Here's a few ideas to get you started:


A pashmina is a must-have accessory for a trip to Durban. They can be used as a scarf, sarong, blanket, or even a headscarf. They are light and easy to pack, yet they provide warmth and color to any outfit. Pashminas come in a variety of colors and patterns, so it's easy to find one that compliments your personal style. When choosing a pashmina, look for one that is made from natural fibers such as wool or cashmere. These fibers are not only more durable, but they will also breathe better and keep you covered without making you sweat.

Here are some of my favorites:

What should men wear in Durban in summer?

For guys, here's the list of essentials I recommend you start with: upf 50+ sun protective clothing, cotton shirts, stylish hat, flip flops, and lightweight pants. With these in your suitcase, I guarantee you will enjoy your trip to Durban in comfort and style.

UPF 50+ sun protective clothing

If there was just one thing I could pack for a sunny trip away, it would be UPF 50+ sun protective clothing. Seriously, this stuff is amazing. It's essentially clothing specially designed to protect your skin from the sun, which is important because UV rays can be incredibly damaging to your skin—especially if you're going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. UPF 50+ clothing helps to block out the sun's rays, just by you wearing it! Look for items that are loose-fitting and made from breathable fabrics, and you'll also want to make sure that the clothes you choose have a light color, as this will help to keep you cool too. With UPF 50+ sun protective clothing, you can enjoy your time in the sun without having to worry about damaging your skin.

Don't have anything suitable? Grab one of these:

Cotton shirts

Cotton shirts are a travel must-have for a variety of reasons. They're lightweight and breathable, making them perfect for a variety of climates. They're also easy to wash by hand or in a machine, and they tend to dry quickly. Plus, they can be dressed up or down, making them versatile enough to wear for just about any occasion. Choose a style that suits your needs—whether that's a classic button-down shirt or a breezy tunic top.

These are some of my favorites:

Stylish hat

A good hat can be the difference between a great Durban trip and a terrible one. Not only do hats help you look your best in photos, but they also make you feel more confident and put-together as you explore, adding a touch of style to any outfit. To choose the right hat, consider both function and fashion. A wide-brimmed straw hat is perfect for protecting your face from the sun (a good idea in all weather!) while a trilby is ideal for nights out on the town. No matter what your plans are in Durban, just know there's a hat for the occasion.

I found these which would all work great:

Flip flops

It's no secret that flip flops are one of the most popular types of footwear for visiting Durban in summer. They're easy to slip on and off, they're usually pretty cheap, and they go with just about everything. But flip flops are also surprisingly versatile—they can be dressed up or down, and they're perfect for everything from a day at the beach to a night out on the town.

Why not treat yourself before you go:

Lightweight pants

If you're planning a trip to Durban that involves any sort of physical activity—hiking, climbing, biking, etc.—you'll want to pack a pair or two of lightweight pants. They're much more comfortable than jeans or khakis when you're sweating, and they'll dry much faster if you get caught in a rain shower. You can also roll them up and stuff them into your backpack or suitcase without taking up too much space.

Here are a few of my top picks:


Is summer a good time to go to Durban, South Africa?

Summer is a great time to go to Durban! The weather is warm and sunny, and the city is bustling with tourists. However, keep in mind that summer is also peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices.

How do people typically dress in Durban, South Africa in summer?

The most common type of clothing worn in Durban during the summer is Western clothing. This includes things like shorts, t-shirts, and light dresses—and even beachwear. However, it is not uncommon to see people wearing traditional African clothing as well.

What should you NOT wear in Durban, South Africa in summer?

There are no specific restrictions on what you should wear in Durban. It's fine to dress casually when out and about, although it's still important to be respectful of cultural norms—especially when visiting sites of historical or religious significance. Some places may have their own dress code, so be sure to follow any local guidelines.

I hope these recommendations for what to wear in Durban will help make your summer visit unforgettable. Now that you have a better idea of what clothing to take, it's time to pack your suitcase—and then go ahead and enjoy everything Durban has to offer!