uShaka Marine World is a 16-hectare (40-acre) theme park which was opened on 30 April 2004 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It comprises 5 sections: uShaka Sea World, uShaka Wet ‘n Wild, uShaka Beach, uShaka Village Walk and, uShaka Kids World. It is located on the strip of land between the beachfront and the harbour. It was the first phase in the redevelopment of the Durban Point.
Designed by American firm Creative Kingdom Inc. Shaka Marine World opened on 30 April 2004 after 3 years of development. In 2005, the park was awarded for “Outstanding Achievement in thematic creative design” by the Themed Entertainment Association.
uShaka Sea World
uShaka Sea World the fifth largest aquarium in the world, with 32 tanks totalling 17,500 cubic meters of water. The underground aquarium is designed around five shipwrecks, with its entrance through the above ground “Phantom Ship”, which contains several restaurants including the “Cargo Hold,” with a wall sized shark aquarium visible from most of the dining areas, and the “Upper Deck,” with views of the open sea exhibits that surround the “ship”. The fantastic dolphin stadium can seat 1,200 visitors, and the seal stadium can seat about 450.
The aquarium is home to shark species such as ragged-tooth sharks, spinner sharks, hammerhead sharks, and local catsharks, large rays including eagle rays, local moray species including honeycomb morays and geometric morays, local gamefish, and large fish species including giant groupers, potato bass, kingfish, and cobia. uShaka also housed a Manta ray for a short period of time before it was moved to the Georgia Aquarium in the United States.
In addition to the dolphin and seal shows, there is penguin, shark and ray feeding at various times during the day, the exact times are published by the park and are readily available to visitors.
Visitors can take part in a sea animal encounter. It is possible to snorkel in the lagoon with approximately 1500 fish. Underwater adventures including shark cage diving and walking on the floor of the aquarium with an ocean diver are also available.
Calypso, the local dive centre at Ushaka, also runs discover scuba and bubble maker experiences in the snorkel lagoon. ‘Bubble maker’ is for children aged 8-under 10. A scuba diving course is available to people over 10 years old. Certified divers can also dive in the open ocean lagoon with pelagic fish and rays.
The Dangerous Creatures exhibit includes various reptiles, amphibians and arachnids, some of which are venomous in their newly set-up Dangerous Creatures section, which is apart from the main aquarium. This sub-section contains both local and exotic animals, from rock pythons to Burmese pythons, Nile crocodiles, black mambas, tarantulas, scorpions, and gila monsters.
uShaka Wet’n Wild
A fun fresh water world of slides and pools, uShaka’s Wet ‘n Wild caters for the adrenaline junkie and those less adventurous!
uShaka Wet’n Wild is a water park which contains everything from a lazy river ride that goes through the ship wreck and past some tanks, to high speed slides, and boasts the highest water slide in the southern hemisphere and includes a large grass area for relaxing, and its own restaurants.
uShaka Kids World
Alongside the ever popular Sea World, uShaka Kids World is a haven for kids from the ages of 2yrs to 12yrs, designed with jam packed activities and interactive areas.
Boast Africa’s biggest jungle gym, to Crabby Beach (giant sandpit) to Polly’s Paint Pen (painting paradise) and for our movie stars, Cast-Aways (show time stage area) it’s fun from sun-up to sun-down.
Dangerous Creatures is an adventure reptile enthusiasts and adrenalin junkies won’t want to miss! Find it in the Village Walk at uShaka Marine World.
The “creeps” continue with dart frogs, tarantulas, Gila monster lizards, which never let go once they bite down, false water cobra (of which there is only one in the country), goliath bull frogs, tree vipers and Taipan snakes. The Argentinean equivalent of the Nile leguaan – a Tegu – is also on display, the only one of its kind in the country.
uShaka Sea Animal Encounters Island
Introducing an island adventure like no other! Meet a dolphin, feed a sting ray, walk with the sharks or snorkel with exotic fish!
Meet a Dolphin
Get up close and personal with one of the ocean’s most incredible mammals. You will be able to meet, touch and feed a dolphin – a once in a lifetime experience!
Xpanda Shark Dive
The Shark cage experience presents a greater challenge as you immerse yourself into a world of living sharks. Some sharks circle the cage whilst others glide slowly past. The Shark Dive is the easiest way to get close to these majestic yet mysterious creatures.
Experience the nooks and crannies of the KZN coastline as you immerse yourself among the exquisite creatures of our Snorkel Lagoon.
Want to take a walk on the wet side? The innovative Ocean Walker allows you to walk slowly, rather like an astronaut, on the floor of the Open Ocean exhibit. Here you can gaze at the huge fish, rays and sand sharks as they mill slowly around you, completely unperturbed by your presence.
Learn more about this graceful species whilst enjoying a hands-on experience (literally). One of the truly great animal encounters, walk in water only waist-deep as the Spotted Eagle rays pop their mouth out the water awaiting to be fed by your very hands!
Take part in this kid-friendly activity that involves feeding a family of various fishy friends their lunch!
uShaka Beach is a beach which has direct access from the amusement park. It boasts sand beaches and a large pier leading out into the ocean.
Calypso is the complete one-stop dive shop in Durban, there are over 30 reef, wreck & deep dives off Durban launching daily from uShaka Marine World. Children from 8yrs can scuba dive in the uShaka Marine World aquarium.
Ocean Ventures brings fun to the ocean! We offer kayak tours, kayak lessons, kayak hire, surf lessons, kids birthday parties and SUP hire!
uShaka Village Walk
uShaka Marine World is home to one of the most unique shopping experiences, offering a shoppers paradise in an open air environment, affording guests a world of entertainment, family fun, shopping and dining. Open all year round from 09:00 – 18:00. Entry is FREE.
uShaka Village Walk is designed similar to an African village, and includes restaurants, cafes and numerous shops.
The park was built at a cost of ZAR 700-million and has been subsidized for a total of ZAR 450-million by the eThekwini Municipality. In the 2009-2010 financial year, the park suffered a net loss of ZAR 44.5-million, and a total deficit of ZAR 377.5-million. There were also irregular expenditures (expenditures which did not undergo normal procurement procedures) of ZAR 3.15-million on the park.
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