“Umhlanga” is a Zulu word that means “place of reeds”. The town is named after the nearby Ohlanga River and covers a total area of less than 20 square kilometres. As part of the KwaZulu-Natal province, though, Umhlanga is near to a number of attractions and activities that are associated with this tourist base.
Umhlanga was founded in 1895, but it was only from the 1980’s onward that it began to be developed as a tourist, residential and commercial epicentre. Despite this development, Umhlanga retains a small-town look and feel. As such, it is a fabulous place to be based during your time in KwaZulu-Natal and its surrounds, particularly the metropolis of Durban. Today, it is known as a holiday retreat; an escape from city living.
Umhlanga Rocks is known for its opulent beachfront accommodation and is ideal for those that want a luxurious South African experience.
KwaZulu-Natal is popular for its heat and humidity. Summers are sweltering and sunny, while winters are temperate and warm. This makes Umhlanga and its surrounding towns and cities ideal for your beach vacation, regardless of what time of year it is. In summer, the sea temperature averages around 25 degrees Celsius, which drops to about 20 degrees in winter. Of course, those that cannot handle the heat are advised to schedule their visit for autumn or winter, when the temperatures drop.
Having originally been inhabited by Zulu tribes, this culture remains a significant one in terms of the history and heritage of Umhlanga.
Because of the excellent weather conditions, and the fact that this is a year-round holiday hub, there are a number of activities for visitors to Umhlanga. These are suited to individuals, couples, families and retirees alike, depending on personal preferences.
Here are just some of the things to do and see:
- The beaches – these are not negotiable! You simply have to spend some time relaxing on the sand, jumping in the waves, swimming or surfing.
- The Valley of 1000 Hills – picturesque beauty dominates this area.
- Umhlanga Promenade – stroll, jog or take your children for an energy-sapping run along the prettiness of the promenade.
- Water sports include deep-sea fishing, angling, whale watching, SCUBA diving, kite boarding and snorkelling.
- Adventure sports are popular here since the surrounding beauty is just so abundant. Enjoy micro-lighting, sky diving, hot air ballooning, forest canopy tours and helicopter flips to see these vistas from a new perspective. Alternatively, try river rafting or quad biking if you prefer to stay out of the air.
- Dolphin watching is a fabulous past time all year round, since these mammals surf, jump and dive in the warm waters on a regular basis. Although they can usually be seen from the coast, dolphin watching tours allow you to see these majestic animals up close.
- Hazelmere Dam offers plenty in the way of water sports. It is also perfect for a picnic on the banks of the dam, from which zebra and wildebeest can be spotted.
- Croc Valley invites visitors to watch as crocodiles and snakes are fed and to witness their power and beauty. Bush walks and a tea garden make this facility both fun and convenient.
- The Old Mutual & MTN Science Centre is situated at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping and, while there is no age limit, it is particularly fascinating for young ones and teens.
- Durbs and its international airport (King Shaka) are situated nearby. Therefore, Umhlanga is especially convenient in terms of situation and accessibility.