By Minoshni Pillay

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, Dec 15– A worldwide vote has listed Durban as one of the New Seven Wonders Cities of the World, placing the Indian Ocean city alongside others such as Doha in Qatar, Havana in Cuba, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, La Paz in Bolivia and Beirut in Lebanon.

This is South Africa’s second New 7 Wonders claim after Table Mountain in Cape Town which has previously been named a New Seven Wonders of Nature.

Sun, surf and fun all year round — possibly an apt summary of one of South Africa’s warmest cities — Durban, whose its warm Indian Ocean waters are matched only by hot curries spilling over the sides of the city’s famous bunny chow.

The city is perhaps best known for its beautiful beaches, stretching from north to south. Durbanites, walking the Golden Mile stretch lined with hotels and restaurants overlooking the ocean, say the city’s diverse cultures creates interesting menus and meet-ups.

“We enjoy coming to the sea. It’s so cool here, children are swimming, we’re all swimming. The hotels as well, you pick and choose the one you like and can afford facing the beach. It’s a very nice place,” says a local resident.

The head of Durban Tourism, Phillip Sithole, said here Sunday that the exciting news confirmed the city’s reputation as a leading tourism destination. Sithole said Durban’s emphasis on environmental sustainability also set it apart from the rest.

“The city of Durban is very friendly when it comes to the issues of the environment in as much as there is a huge growth when it comes to urbanisation. But the city has been able to deal with such a growth. It says that the city of Durban is a city that is able to connect with tourists and people who are visiting the city. It’s a step forward, we are one of the best cities in the world when it comes to the hosting of visitors.”

The chief executive officer of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Andrew Layman, welcomed the announcement, saying that the City of Durban would push ahead with its inner city rejuvenation plans come the new year.

“It will give Durban greater prominence in the global sphere particularly as tourism is concerned. We know that we need more international tourists to Durban and this will be of great assistance in that quest. The new seven wonders are not just cities so I think the people across the globe are aware of the programme. It’s absolutely great news that Durban is one of the new seven wonder cities.”

The city is also home to the ninth largest harbour in the world, houses the largest shopping mall in Africa and boasts the world’s fifth largest aquarium. Add to that some fiery food and long summer days, and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty neat place to call home.