February 09, 2023
A running vest is a useful addition to any outdoor adventure. Whether you’re heading over rough terrain on the outskirts of Durban or taking a light run through your local trails, a running vest will allow you to keep all of your essentials at your back. If you’re interested in taking to the trails on the sweltering East Coast, then keep reading to learn a little more about our top picks for running trails in Durban.
Trail running is a simple way to improve physical and mental health, with a social and personal challenge aspect. You can choose to challenge the outdoors in groups or pairs or challenge yourself by taking to the trails alone. Trail running can form part of a healthy daily exercise routine, and it’s also an excellent way to stay fit whilst exploring the outdoors on foot. There is not much equipment needed for running, but one recommended must-have is a running vest from Ultimate Direction.
Ultimate Direction running vests are designed for adventurers and athletes of all levels, including trail runners, hikers, and endurance athletes. Our products are designed to comfortably carry water, nutrition, and other essentials while on a run or hike, allowing athletes to stay hydrated and fueled without having to carry a bulky backpack.
Runners need hydration vests for the comfort and carrying capacity, enabling athletes to carry essential items like water, nutrition, phones, and other items, without being bogged down by a jostling backpack. Our vests are designed with a snug fit and minimal bounce, so they won't slow down the runner or cause discomfort during trail runs. With a vest from Ultimate Direction, you’ll be able to navigate the trails with ease. Additionally, our vests offer multiple storage options, allowing runners to keep their items organised and easily accessible while on the go.
Durban, South Africa offers a variety of running trails for both recreational and competitive trail runners. The city has a mild climate, with warm temperatures throughout the year, which makes it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. There are so many options to choose from when planning a trail run in Durban. The city and its surroundings have a variety of scenic trails that offer stunning views of the Indian Ocean, lush green spaces, and diverse wildlife.
Alternatively, Durban's main beachfront promenade is a popular destination for runners who favour flat terrain, with a well-maintained pathway along the coastline and plenty of attractions, including Ushaka Marine World and a variety of piers. Durban is also home to many nature reserves that offer a more challenging terrain with stunning views that make the journey wholly worthwhile.
Durban hosts several running events throughout the year, including road races, trail runs, and ultramarathons, attracting runners from around the world. One of the biggest attractions is the Comrades Marathon, which is the largest and oldest ultramarathon in the world, with a distance of approximately 90 km the race brings in over 40,000 spectators and runners annually.
No matter what level or skill a running, walking, or cycling enthusiast may be, one thing they all have in common is the need for the right equipment to ensure a comfortable and well-equipped journey, and we’re sure you'll agree. When it comes to trail running and hiking on the East Coast, a running vest is the right kind of equipment you’ll want to have at your disposal.
Besides recommending the perfect gear to suit your trail running needs, we also want to kindle your thirst for adventure by compiling a list of the top 5 running trails in Durban. Keep reading to learn more about these thrilling trails and get ready to start planning your next outdoor adventure.
For the trail running enthusiast that prefers to immerse themselves in nature, Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve is the full package! The 253-acre reserve is found near the Yellowwood Park area in Durban and has a 13 km foot trail as well as a 10 km biking trail. Running this trail will take you deep into the reserve, where you can expect to encounter a variety of wildlife including duiker, monkeys, bushbuck, rock dassies, and the reserve’s resident zebra; there is also a small castle on the grounds.
When it comes to any nature trail, there are a few recommended essentials to take along. This list includes bug repellent, water, small energy snacks, and plasters or bandages in case you catch yourself on a branch or thorns. The small number of essentials you need can be comfortably stored in your Ultimate Direction running vest, and can sit safely on your back until you may need them. You may also want to carry binoculars, a small camera, or your smartphone if you plan to stop and admire any creatures you spot along the way.
While not a natural trail, the Umhlanga Promenade is a scenic running route that veers off into a small bush trail at the end, where you will run along a wooden track and possibly pass some monkeys on your way to a small coffee shop and viewing point at the finish.
If you prefer a promenade trail that has no bicycles and less foot traffic then you're in luck. The Umhlanga Promenade houses runners at all hours of the day. Runners who enjoy a bustling environment in the heart of Umhlanga and a view of the ocean will not be disappointed with this trail. It is one of the safest locations to run in Durban and although it is smaller than the Durban Promenade, it doesn’t allow skateboards or bicycles which leaves the space open for runners and walkers.
The promenade also has a variety of restaurants and hotels along the way where runners can stop to enjoy breakfast or morning coffee whilst watching the world go by with the ocean in the background. Among the scenery of the Umhlanga Promenade are the Umhlanga Lighthouse and the pier, which are easy to spot along the trail.
Giba Gorge is located in the Hillcrest area and is a popular spot for mountain biking, but also offers some exciting trail runs. This location is a hidden gem for runners, as many simply assume that the park is for mountain biking only. The park offers over 45 km worth of trails to run, with varying distances and terrain.
With everything from flat gravel paths to rocky uphills and even rivers to cross (don’t forget to pack some extra socks for that one), Giba Gorge boasts beautiful scenery and promises runners an exciting outdoor adventure. Anyone planning to explore the trails can download the Giba Gorge interactive app with access to all maps on the route, to ensure there is no getting lost. Furthermore, the trails are often praised for being safe and excellently maintained.
The Holla Trails are situated a little bit further out of Durban, but the trip is well worth it. Holla trails boast a variety of different running, walking, and biking trails for every level of athlete, from beginner to advanced. Stock up your running vest, put on your running shoes, and choose between three different running trails offered at the park. There is a 5km, an 8,5 km, and a more challenging 14 km route that takes you through flat sugarcane trails, through rocky terrain surrounded by trees, and to some truly spectacular viewpoints.
The longer the route, the more challenging the trail, with some hilly scrambles and technical sections. One of the best parts about Holla Trails is the versatility of the routes. Runners can combine two trails to lengthen their run or take a shortcut back if they are finding their chosen trail too tiresome. Holla Trails also offers to recommend a route to runners who want a tougher challenge than the 14km run. The Holla Trails has a variety of different activities to choose from for the whole family. There is putt-putt, paintball, adventure activities, and a restaurant too, so why not make a day of it?
The Umgeni River Path is a shorter trail that offers some breathtaking scenery. Runners start near the Umgeni Bird Park near the Ruth First Highway and follow a well-maintained brick path along the Umgeni River whilst enjoying the views. After a short 2.5 km runners have the option to continue towards Blue Lagoon and swap the river views for ocean views by continuing their run on the far side of the Durban Promenade, or runners can choose to enter the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve and enjoy a route along the dirt trails whilst immersing themselves in nature. This is a great introductory trail and offers a few different choices depending on the runner’s preferred terrain.
While not a natural trail, one cannot mention running in Durban without mentioning the Durban Promenade. Holding the title for the longest promenade in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Durban Promenade is also referred to as “The Golden Mile”.
This 8 km long brick promenade is brimming with life from start to finish. Runners can enjoy a view of the beachfront and ocean on one side, and the town’s historical buildings on the other. Runners will pass not only restaurants and cafes but a waterpark and traditional vendors. The promenade is wide enough to allow space for everyone, whether you are simply passing through to the beach, taking a leisurely walk, a cycle, or a run.
The only possible downside to the promenade is that there is not much shade offered – this is why packing sunscreen would be essential. Anyone living in Durban will tell you about how great the weather is, but for runners, sunshine is not always ideal. Equipping yourself with an Ultimate Direction vest will allow you to easily carry essentials like water, sunscreen, and snacks as you breeze past the beach.
Now that you have some great Durban running trails to choose from, it’s time to decide on which Ultimate Direction running vest is best suited to your needs; to keep you fuelled, hydrated, and organised on your next outdoor adventure.
Ultimate Direction strives to be ahead of the game by offering a variety of running vests suited to your specific needs. It’s time to get yourself a running vest and ensure that every run goes smoothly, no matter the distance, the location, or the terrain. With a running vest, you will have everything you need to confidently tackle anything that comes along your path.
For convenience and peace of mind, head to Ultimate Direction where our experienced and helpful staff are ready to equip you with everything you need for your next adventure.
Our running vests are made from sustainable materials, designed and tested over and over again with the input of athletes from around the world, and of the highest quality. So what are you waiting for? Strap up your Ultimate Direction running vest and take to the trails!