Umhlanga Rocks – Coastal Getaway
Situated approximately 20 kilometers from the city center of Durban, Umhlanga Rocks is a substantial settlement with a permanent population of around 50 000 people. Its border merges with the suburb of Durban North and its proximity to the city center makes it the perfect place for a short escape from the bustle of the city. Whether you’re looking for a great stretch of beach for swimming or walking, a quiet evening meal or even some great holiday accommodation, Umhlanga Rocks is the perfect place to go.
The name ‘Umhlaga’ is Zulu for ‘Place of Reeds’. Indeed, this well watered area must have been quite reedy when it was initially inhabited by the San people and later by the Zulu people. In more recent years, however, Umhlanga Rocks has gained a reputation for being a great holiday location with top-notch hotels. This trend was started in 1869 when the Oyster lodge, Umhlanga’s first beach cottage, was built overlooking the sea. It not only offered guests beautiful accommodation and wonderfully warm hospitality, but also offered tea and scones to passers-by. Its roof was also used as a beacon to help ships navigate their way around the coast until 1954 when the current light house was built for this purpose. The first official hotel in the area was built in the 1920s and more hotels soon followed. Before long, Umhlanga Rocks became the most sought after holiday destination in the area and from there it slowly grew into the ever popular resort town that it is today.
If you visit Umhlanga Rocks, you will find the pleasant, sandy beach is dominated by a red and white lighthouse with an interesting historical background. During holiday season this delightful stretch of beach is usually bustling with activity and many people find themselves looking for other forms of entertainment. Chartwell Drive is the best place to go shopping in this resort town, with a good selection of smart, well stocked shopping malls. Another option is the monster Gateway Mall at Umhlanga Ridge – a massive shopping center complex with some 400 shops and 14 cinemas. For those who are fascinated by the hunters of the deep blue ocean, the Natal Sharks Board is situated just a couple of kilometers north of the town. Here you will not only be able to enjoy a multi-screen audiovisual about sharks, but you will also be able to see a recently caught shark dissected in front of your very eyes! So visit Umhlanga Rocks and discover the charming beauty of this coastal getaway that has helped it to remain the popular holiday destination that it is for centuries.