uShaka Marine World

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uShaka Marine World
Ushaka logo.png
uShaka Marine World logo.
Carcharhinus limbatus in UShaka Sea World 1072.jpg
A grey reef shark in the shark aquarium.
Date opened30 April 2004[1]
LocationDurban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Coordinates29°52′03″S 31°02′45″E / 29.867443°S 31.045915°E / -29.867443; 31.045915Coordinates: 29°52′03″S 31°02′45″E / 29.867443°S 31.045915°E / -29.867443; 31.045915
Land area16 hectares (40 acres)[2]
No. of animals10,000 (2010)[2]
Total volume of tanks17,500 cubic metres (4,600,000 US gal)
Annual visitors790,433 (2010)[2]

uShaka Marine World is a 16-hectare (40-acre) theme park that opened on April 30th 2004 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It comprises 8 sections: uShaka Sea World, uShaka Wet 'n Wild, uShaka Sea Animal Encounters Island, uShaka Beach, uShaka Village Walk, uShaka Kids World, and uShaka Dangerous Creatures and Chimp & Zee. 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.[1] In 2005, the park was awarded for "Outstanding Achievement in thematic creative design" by the Themed Entertainment Association.[3]

uShaka Sea World[edit]

A diver feeding a Short-tail stingray

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",[2] which contains several restaurants including the "Cargo Hold,"[4] 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".[5][6] The dolphin stadium can seat 1,200 visitors, and the seal stadium can seat about 450.[2]

Jumping dolphins in the dolphin show

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.

Visitors can take part in an 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[edit]

uShaka Wet 'n Wild is a water park inside uShaka Marine World.

Slides: The Body Tornado; Mamba Tunnel Slide; Squid: Mini Supertube; Cuda: Supertube; Zoom Zoom: Multi Lane Racer; Torpedo: Kamikaze Speed Slide; Plunge: Free Fall Slide; The Drop Zone; Jika Jika (Family Rafter); Toti Splash (Kiddies Slide); Fast River Ride (Pre-adventure); Dizzy Duzi (Adventure Ride)

'The Drop Zone' is the highest slide in Africa, with an 18-metre drop.

uShaka Beach[edit]

uShaka Beach is a beach which has direct access from the amusement park. It has sand beaches and a large pier leading out into the ocean.

uShaka Village Walk[edit]

uShaka Village Walk is designed similar to an African village, and includes restaurants, cafes and numerous shops.

uShaka Dangerous Creatures[edit]

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. Home to Dart Frogs, Tarantulas, Bearded Lizards, which never let go once they bite down, a False Water Cobra, Goliath Bull Frogs, Tree Vipers & more.

Chimp & Zee[edit]

Chimp & Zee has the longest continuous belay system in Africa, and is a rope adventure park.[7]

Financial troubles[edit]

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.[8]


  1. ^ a b "About Us". Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Durban Marine Them Park (Pty) Ltd. Trading as uShaka Marine World Annual Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  3. ^ "uShaka Marine World". Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Cargo Hold". Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  5. ^ "The Upper Deck at uShaka Marine World". Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Map". Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  7. ^ Chimp & Zee
  8. ^ Tolsi, Niren (4 February 2011). "Durban bleeds municipal funds". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2011.