Durban (Zulu: eThekwini, from itheku meaning “bay/lagoon”) is the third most populous city in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town and the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Located on the east coast of South Africa, Durban is the busiest port in the country. It is also one of the major centres of tourism because of the city’s warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. Durban forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, which includes neighboring towns and has a population of about 3.44 million, making the combined municipality one of the biggest cities on the Indian Ocean coast of the African continent. It is also the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg. In May 2015, Durban was officially recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities, Durban was one of the host cities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Archaeological evidence from the Drakensberg mountains suggests that the Durban area has been inhabited by communities of hunter-gatherers since 100,000 BC. These people lived throughout the area of present-day KwaZulu-Natal until the expansion of Bantu farmers and pastoralists from the north saw their gradual displacement, incorporation or extermination. Little is known of the history of the first residents, as there is no written history of the area until it was sighted by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who sailed parallel to the KwaZulu-Natal coast at Christmastide in 1497 while searching for a route from Europe to India. He named the area “Natal”, or Christmas in Portuguese.