Durban boasts the largest and busiest port on the African continent and is rated the  ninth biggest in the world.  The harbour, originally a lagoon, compliments the city.  Yachting, skiing, powerboat activities,  magnificent passenger liner movements, large container vessels  and tankers being loaded and off loaded and fishing, are all activities of general interest that take place in the harbour.

An early problem was the shallow entrance to the harbour.  Debris eroded from the interior by the  rivers  and  deposited  along  the  coast  formed  a  bar  at  the  mouth  of  the  harbour. Deepening  the  mouth,  which  in  1855  had  a  low-water  depth  of  little  over  3m,  was a exceedingly difficult task.  By 1898 the position was improved by removing ten million tons of soil from the entrance and increasing the depth to 6m.   Today it is over 15m deep at low tide.

The harbour handles a  large percentage of all cargo shipped through South African ports. There is a  12km quayside, pre-cooling  stores for  perishables; a grain dock  and elevator storing 42 000 tons of grain, special facilities for ore, coal and fuel-oil loading, bulk oil storage and a sugar export terminal.

Salisbury Island in the harbour was named after the brig Salisbury that, under James King, surveyed the harbour in 1823.  The island is now part of a development for  15 berths for deep draught container ships.

Boats for bay and deep-sea cruises as well as fishing are for hire.