Umhlanga at a glance
Claiming the title as the most prosperous town in KwaZulu-Natal is uMhlanga- an area synonymous with opulent buildings, breath-taking sea views, lavish holiday-homes and big blue chip business. The area is a tourist attraction owing to its array of world-class restaurants, accommodation, and natural beauty.
Place of Reeds
uMhlanga means “Place of Reeds”, is a direct translation from the Zulu language which was derived from reeds growing along the Ohlanga River in the north of the suburb. It is located just 21 minutes away from the Durban CBD and 18 minutes (18.9 km’s) from King Shaka International Airport. The suburbs surrounding areas include, Durban North and Mount Edgecombe.
Peeling away the reeds reveals just how a small town transformed into an urban hegemony to become a commercial, residential, retail and holiday powerhouse.
A sweet history
In terms of colonial history, the town was founded in the 19th century by Sir Marshall Campbell, a British descendent, who was a powerful businessman in the sugar industry. The area back then was renowned for its sugar estates, but prior to this, it was home to San hunter-gatherers and this was followed by a strong Zulu monopoly the era of King Shaka during the early 1800’s.
The first remnants of the uMhlanga we know today began coming together as far back as 1869 when the first beach cottage, The Oyster Box, was built. Back then, the cottage had a reflective roof, which was used as a landmark for passing ships to navigate safely around uMhlanga’s rocky terrain. Today, it is a game-changer in the luxury hotel sector, providing five star accommodation to wealthy tourists, celebrities and professionals.
Accommodation with international-lure
uMhlanga is synonymous with world-class accommodation such as The Beverly Hills Hotel, Coastlands and Oyster Box. However, due to the area’s rapid development, choices available to holiday-makers continues to increase remarkably. This means that those looking for five-star luxury accommodation have a host of self-catering holiday apartments to choose from that are affordably priced and ideally located near the beaches of the North Coast.
In no doubt, the Oyster Box was the catalyst for world-class accommodation that positions “the place of reeds” in a league of its own. Continuing this legacy Chas Everitt Holiday Rentals has established a platform that delivers the very best holiday apartments, complexes and cottages in uMhlanga right at your fingertips. With well over 100 luxury accommodation options in the area, tourists are spoilt for choice.
The Holiday Rentals’ division brings you holiday-apartments from the following complexes:
• Terra Mare
• The Breakers Resort
• Wedgewood Terraces
• The Shades
• Ben Siesta
• Park Lane
• Bronze Bay
• San Antonella
• Sea Lodge
• The Oyster Development/The Oysters of uMhlanga
• The Pearls Development
Activities and attractions in uMhlanga
Beaches of uMhlanga
The white sandy beaches of uMhlanga exudes everything that makes the Indian Ocean great namely, warm and inviting crystal blue waters that are ideal for surfing or dipping your feet in. Most of our self-catering holiday-homes are just a walk away from the beach, many of which are situated on Lagoon Drive, Lighthouse Road and Park Ln. Paved walk-ways meanders alongside the uMhlanga beach, allowing for early morning jogs or afternoon strolls.
uMhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve
The lagoon comprises of coastal dune forest and aquatic habitats including reed beds and vegetated ponds. For those on holiday, it is the perfect location to relax and unwind while enjoying a hearty picnic with the entire family. It is located at the edge of uMhlanga Rocks and is home to an array of wildlife including 215 bird species such as African Jacana, Village Weaver and Dark-Capped Yellow Warbler.
A first of its kind in the world, The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (KZNSB) Maritime Centre of Excellence has promoted tourism in the area like no other through bather safety gear against sharks that spans over 37 beaches. Touring the Sharks Board is a rich and educated experience that comprises activities such as audio visual shows, a presentation on shark dissections and boat trips out to sea where holiday-makers can observe the staff at work while having the opportunity to spot a myriad of marine life.
The uMhlanga Lighthouse
One of the most famous landmarks in uMhlanga is the uMhlanga Lighthouse which adorns a white shiny exterior with a red top. Facing the sunrise, it serves as a guard to passing ships and warns of potential dangers or welcomes them to safety. The lighthouse stands 21m above the beach and has a range of 24 sea miles.
Built in 1954, today the towering circular building is synonymous with the landscape of the area, and those enjoying a day out at uMhlanga beach are greeted by the lighthouse which continues to be a guard for ships entering and exiting the Durban harbour.
The once undeveloped lands of uMhlanga defined by reeds and sugar production, has now accelerated to a major player in KZN’s tourism industry and has cemented its name as a tourist destination for locals and international holiday-makers.
Restaurants of indulgence
uMhlanga and hospitality go hand in hand, and this translates into restaurants that provide to a diversity of tastes. Renowned restaurants in the area include:
• Little Havana
• Olive and Oil Umhlanga
• The Greedy Buddha
• Ile Maurice
• Ocean Terrace Restaurant
Little Havana offers a dining experience for those who love food with a dash of Cuban inspiration. It specialises in premium grills and sea-food, matched with only the best local wines.
Olive and Oil uMhlanga is most definitely a restaurant that has upheld good quality food over the years, whilst maintaining a high standard. It has been around for more than a decade and specialises in Greek, Moroccan and Mediterranean food. The people behind the restaurant have over 100 years of hospitality experience collectively, they infuse this wealth of experience in the food that graces each table on a daily basis.
From old to new, The Greedy Buddha in the Gateway precinct has added opulence to the Palm Boulevard. Situated across from the Gateway Shopping Mall, it is relatively new, specialising in an Asian dining experience. Its main attraction is its tapas menu which takes diners on a culinary journey in which they can taste the entire menu in small bite size portions.
Ile Maurice, positioned between Beverly Hills and Oyster Box has a panoramic view of the uMhlanga Ocean. The menu is French/Mauritian inspired, with unique flavours that are hard to find anywhere else in South Africa. One of this includes, The Camembert Aux Amandes, deep fried with almonds, sesame seeds and served with red currant jelly.
For those special occasions, look no further than the Ocean Terrace Restaurant, perfect for anniversaries and birthdays. It overlooks the Indian Ocean and is situated in the Oyster Box Hotel. Great food is always expected as the head chef’s mission is to consistently “use the freshest ingredients available and source it locally where possible.” It comprises of three separate dining sections, including, The Grill Room, The Ocean Terrace and The Palm Court. The menu ranges from authentic Indian cuisine, to a full English breakfast and finally, a la carte menu for light lunches and dinners.
Considering that uMhlanga is the hub of all activity and a place where development consistently takes place, it has positively affected the property market. The most noted transformation is the morphing of its skyline that is now strewn with high-rise apartment buildings.
This transformation has come about due to an expanding commercial sector that is demanding modern office space, which is drawing an ever-growing professional demographic. Both residential and commercial properties in uMhlanga has witnessed significant economic growth, with return on investments sky rocketing. The area is predicted to continue showing remarkable growth in the future, making it one of the best places to invest in South Africa.
Demand for opulence
Two developments indicate that the urban populace is demanding luxury and convenience in a way never seen before. This has given rise to upmarket residential and hotel developments including, The Pearls of uMhlanga and Oceans uMhlanga.
Both developments take opulence to the next level. The Pearls is in a prime location opposite the uMhlanga beach-front and takes up a total of 50 000 sqm. It comprises of top-end security, with a total of 414 units, towering 32 floors. Luxury finishes is its selling point, and is fitted with a 24m lap pool, Jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor gym, Zen garden, prayer room and business centre.
Oceans uMhlanga promotes the latest concept of urban living, namely, “Live, work and play”, encompassed in a mixed-use development. Such a development is made-up of retail, commercial, residential and hotel components. Oceans features two residence towers, comprising of 444 apartments and penthouses.
Each unit is privileged with panoramic views. The retail aspect consists of a shopping mall that is pegged to be one of the top 3 malls in the country, consisting of exclusive international brands such as, Versace, Paul Smith and Armani. The third aspect of the precinct will be a lavish internationally branded hotel.
Both Oceans uMhlanga and The Pearls of uMhlanga are the catalysts of a new era that the suburb is entering into, one defined my opulence, luxury, convenience and a functional precinct that delivers to a wide range of needs.
Choosing a holiday destination also requires careful thought of health-care facilities in the case of an emergency. Professional health-care with only the best service gives one incredible peace of mind and ensures that you (and your family) are adequately taken care of, in any situation. uMhlanga is said to have one of the best health-care facilities in the country, owing to the following hospitals:
• Netcare uMhlanga Hospital
• Gateway Private Hospital
• Mount Edgecombe Hospital
From humble beginnings to one of residential, commercial, hospitality and retail prowess, uMhlanga has undoubtedly placed KZN and South Africa on an international level. It is due to this, that growth and development continues to take place, making it the ideal holiday destination.