I love a stroll along the Durban Beachfront Promenade – nothing like getting out from behind the desk, stretching the pins, gazing at the blue Indian Ocean and taking in that sea air to boost creativity and soothe the soul. But the eight kilometre round-trip walk from Suncoast to uShaka does rather work up a thirst! Thankfully, there’s quite a pleasant pit-stop around about halfway – Circus Circus Beach Café.


Circus Circus - a cool and colourful beachfront café

Watch the World Go By...

The brightly coloured umbrellas and deck chairs of this little beachside café implore to you to stop awhile – sit back and watch folks wander by…on foot, rollerblades, skateboards or bicycles. Getting out in the fresh air and sunshine sure makes a welcome change to slugging it out at the gym – since its revamp some four years ago for the FIFA 2010 World Cup, the Durban Beachfront has become a hive of activity for exercise enthusiasts and casual sightseers alike. But that’s not all there is to see – there’s the famous Durban rickshaw men, the talented sand-artists (who sculpt impressive structures from the beach sand – which often provide social commentary on current events), surfers and swimmers and – on my last visit – a navy helicopter and boat doing mock sea rescues (getting ready for the upcoming holiday season, no doubt). This is a great spot to relax and watch the goings-on in between dips in the sea, to catch one’s breath before cycling or running on, or to catch up with friends over a cool drink or cocktail.

What’s on Offer Here?

The central location is what makes Circus Circus Beach Café really great:

  • It’s right on the beach, in the thick of the action
  • This stretch of beach (the Bay of Plenty) is a swimming beach with lifeguards
  • Plenty of safe parking nearby (with car guards)
  • For tourists, in walking distance of the Beachfront hotels
  • A stone’s throw from other Beachfront attractions - curio stalls, Mini Town, Rachel Finlayson Pool, the skateboard park, etc.
  • Right next to toilet amenities
  • For parents, there’s a safe, supervised children’s playground to keep the tiny tots entertained whilst you chat with your mates
  • For the blissfully child-free, this playground is discretely tucked away, so it doesn’t impinge on your experience
  • It has a cocktail menu and a small wine list
  • The coffee is great – a good breakfast possie.  

What’s the Flipside?

While it’s most conveniently situated to refresh during a morning on the beach, bear in mind:

  • It’s a chain restaurant, so the menu is adequate rather than outstanding
  • It can get very busy, which means the staff are run off their feet – this can lead to wrong orders (last time, I got a smoked salmon ‘New Yorker’ ciabatta, instead of the Parma ham ‘Italian Job’ one I was after)
  • The cocktails are average – you could find a better spot to watch the sunset.

Will I Be Back?

Despite the odd glitches here and there, the convenience factor wins me over on my leisurely beachfront walkies. This ain’t fancy – it’s where you wander in off the beach in your wet cossie and plonk down for a quick re-fuel and then hit the beach again, and for that it’s a yes!

Try it for Yourself…

  • Call them on: 031-337 7700
  • Find them here: Shop 1, Snell Parade, Bay of Plenty, Durban