Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal

South Africa’s New Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal Opens In Durban

The R330-million Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal was officially inaugurated in Durban, marking the dawn of the 2023-2024 cruise season.


  • The new terminal is spearheaded by MSC Cruises and the African Armada Consortium, in partnership with Transnet National Ports Authority.
  • It’s a monumental project which is South Africa’s first public-private partnership in the cruise sector.
  • The 6’000 square meter, energy-efficient cruise terminal stands as a testament to innovation and progress benefiting the greater cruise industry.
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MSC Cruises, having arrived in South Africa in the early 1990s, has played a pivotal role in showcasing the beauty of the KwaZulu-Natal Province to thousands of cruise guests. The Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal is poised to welcome passengers from over 100 nationalities, offering them a unique experience both on board and during visits to the enchanting destinations at Portuguese Island and Pomene in Mozambique.


The inauguration of the terminal is the culmination of a decade-long journey since the inception of the public-private partnership. The collaboration between MSC Cruises, African Armada Consortium, and Transnet National Ports Authority has resulted in new infrastructure that supports the expansion of South African cruise tourism, drawing praise from cruise companies worldwide.


Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises and Chairman of KwaZulu Cruise Terminal, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to honor Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

Nelson Mandela was an incredible statesman and leader who continues to inspire progress around the world, and we are honored that the Nelson Mandela Foundation allowed us to use his name for what is the gateway to the Zulu Kingdom.

// Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises and Chairman of KwaZulu Cruise Terminal, Pierfrancesco Vago


Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal
With the capacity to handle 4’000 passengers daily, the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal is poised to become a bustling hub of activity, fostering economic growth and providing a gateway to the Zulu Kingdom. Image: MSC Cruises

The project has already made a significant impact on employment, creating 10’000 construction jobs sourced predominantly from the local communities in Durban and across South Africa.


MSC Cruises’ parent company, MSC Group, stands as the world’s largest container shipping company with over 50 years of operation in South Africa. The group has become the largest shipping agency and investor in the country, facilitating the passage of more than one million MSC containers through South African ports annually via 750 ship calls.


To further contribute to South Africa’s growth, MSC Group established the Shosholoza Academy in 2019. This initiative focuses on educating and training young people in hospitality skills tailored for the cruise industry. The academy is set to welcome 5’000 new crew members to MSC Cruises’ fleet in the coming weeks and months.


The opening of the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal coincides with the arrival of MSC Splendida to South Africa, as the ship makes its first call to the country, set to depart on her first cruise for the season. Over the next six months, MSC Splendida will offer south African guests 35 sailings to destinations including Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Pomene (Mozambique), Walvis Bay (Namibia) and Port Louis (Mauritius).


MSC Splendida offers six dining venues including two specialty restaurants serving refined international cuisine. Full-scale shows grace the stage of the magnificent 1’603 seat Strand Theatre, while the Royal Palm Casino and the Club 33 Disco offer gaming and dancing respectively every evening. For the sports enthusiasts, the ship offers swimming pools, a jogging track, a squash court, and an ultramodern gym. Those looking to recharge and replenish can opt for the MSC Aurea Spa, offering a sanctuary to enjoy relaxing massages and a range of other treatments.


As the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal opens its doors to a new era of maritime tourism, it not only signifies a remarkable achievement in infrastructure development but also underscores the potential for economic growth, job creation, and cultural exchange in the heart of South Africa. The inauguration marks the beginning of a voyage towards a vast ocean of possibility for the nation’s cruise industry.


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Sandton Times Correspondent

Sandton Times Correspondent

Curated content from The Sandton Times newsroom desks.


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