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Kwazulu Natal

Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa

Visitors from around the world flock to the holiday resort village of Umhlanga Rocks to relax and have fun on one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.  Situated on the east coast of South Africa just north of the vibrant Port City of Durban, Umhlanga faces the the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and has the best South African accommodation, with superb holiday apartments, luxury hotels, lodges and B&B's.  It also has up-market Office Parks and first world Shopping Centres. The golden sandy beaches stretch northwards for more than 200 kilometres, all the way to the spectacular Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a world heritage site. Inland from Umhlanga, endless fields of sugarcane give way to the undulating landscape of the Valley of 1000 Hills, the massive Inanda Dam and the mystical hidden valleys of Zululand.


Umhlanga is perfectly positioned for any leg of your South African adventure. It's just a ten-minute drive on the N2 (southbound) from King Shaka Airport and situated on the northern beaches of KwaZulu-Natal, 16 kilometres from the centre of Durban. From Umhlanga it's also an easy three-hour drive north along the superb N2 toll road to the many and varied Zulu Kingdom Game Reserves, or still further north to Swaziland and Mozambique.  Alternatively, you can go south on the N2 to Port Shepstone and the holiday resort of Margate and then onto the Wild Coast, or continue all of the way to the Cape Garden Route and ultimately on to Cape Town. For those who want to explore the mountains, head inland on the N3 to the world heritage site of Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Mountain Park and then onwards to Johannesburg, Mpumalanga and the fabulous Kruger National Park.


The Durban / Umhlanga coastline enjoys a warm subtropical climate. Winter time (June to August) is wonderful, with temperatures ranging between 12°C at night (no need for air conditioning) and 23°C at lunch time, with blue skies and sunny days. Summers are hot and humid, particularly during the months of February and March, with temperatures reaching 30°C or higher.

Sea temperatures vary from 25°C in summer to 20°C in winter, which allows for comfortable year-round swimming, without the need for a wet suit to keep warm. The average rainfall for the year is in the order of 900mm, with the main precipitation taking place during spring and early summer and the least rainfall during the dryer autumn and winter months


A history of hospitality

Originally home to San hunter-gatherers, the area south of the Tugela River (incorporating present-day Umhlanga) was later occupied by Nguni-speaking people who were unified under King Shaka in the early 1800s into the proud Zulu nation. The area came under British control soon after, becoming part of the large estate belonging to the great sugar magnate, Sir Marshall Campbell, who sailed to South Africa from Glasgow in 1850. Indian indentured labourers were brought in to work on the sugar estates in 1860, bringing with them a vibrant and colourful culture, giving the area its unique multicultural flavour.


In 1869, Umhlanga's first beach cottage was built on a rocky site overlooking the sea and in the true spirit of Umhlanga hospitality tea and scones were served to passers-by. The reflective roof of the cottage was also used as a beacon by passing ships' captains to navigate safely around Umhlanga's rocky headland. However, the cottage was converted into the Oyster Box hotel in the 1930s and in 1953 Umhlanga's distinctive red and white lighthouse was built to warn mariners away from the dangers of the rocks. The first hotel in Umhlanga was built in the 1920s by Virginia, daughter of Sir Marshall Campbell. Other hotels soon followed these two and the village of 'Umhlanga Rocks' became the most sought-after area for locals to visit during their holidays. The rest, as they say, is history.


Umhlanga offers the best South African tour operators, a wealth of entertainment, restaurants and nature trails, all in a secure environment. The spectacular Gateway shopping centre and Sibaya Casino are some of the key attractions that Umhlanga Rocks has to offer. Ocean enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers will be in their element ; surfing, deep-sea fishing, whale watching and dolphin viewing, scuba diving, kite boarding and microlight flips are just some of the many activities available on this wonderful stretch of coastline. For the serious golfers there are many superb golf courses all within a 15 minute drive of Umhlanga. Umhlanga is also a paradise for the romantically inclined and many people either tie the knot here or spend their honeymoon here.

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