UShaka Marine World is a large theme park complex in Durban, the largest such complex in Africa. The main attraction is SeaWorld, associated with the American SeaWorld chain, and home to the fifth largest aquarium environment in the world. While there are no orcas on the premises, many other marine animals normally associated with SeaWorld parks can be found here. In the decade since its opening it has become one of the top tourist destinations in South Africa.
While Africa is home to many excellent wildlife parks and even a number of marine reserves, the types of animal theme-parks that could be found elsewhere in the world were unknown to this continent until just the last decade. This changed at the turn of the millennium, when it was decided that Durban would host Africa’s first such park. Marine World opened in 2004, drawing huge crowds ever since.
The SeaWorld portion of the park, while large, is relatively small compared to some of its brethren in other countries. Still, it packs in an exceptional array of marine life, from dolphins to sharks to rays and penguins, not to mention thousands of fish. The total size of the environment is 4.6 million gallons. One of the highlights here, not available in many other places, is the ability to scuba dive in the main lagoon.
UShaka Marine World is located on a peninsula on the southeast side of Durban which juts out into the Indian Ocean. It is open every day year round from 9:00am-5:00pm. The cost of admission is R139.00. Web: www.ushakamarineworld.co.za (official website).
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