5 reasons to include Umhlanga on your South African vacation

Umhlanga is a seaside resort located on the east coast of South Africa. A tropical paradise facing the Indian Ocean and immersed  in lush green vegetation. One of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, with golden beaches stretching northwards for more than 200 kilometers. Only a 10 km drive from the international King Shaka airport and perfectly positioned for many daily excursions.

The long beach

The Umhlanga main beach is the perfect place to go for a walk and breathe in the wonderful salty air that blows in from the mighty Indian Ocean.You can walk on the sand with the sea caressing your feet or the more comfortable promenade with many seating areas to stop and admire the view . Con’t miss walking to the unusual Whalebone Pier from where you can experience the force of the powerful waves of the ocean beneath your feet. The iconic red and white lighthouse sitting stoically between the path and the rocks is the local landmark.

The Oyster Box Hotel

Acclaimed as one of the best hotels in South Africa, a stay at the graceful Oyster Box is not to be missed. The sea-facing rooms have spectacular views, amazing sunrises and crashing waves to lull you to sleep. This historical hotel has been renovated to the highest standards yet maintaining many of it’s original colonial features. On arrival you will feel like stepping back in time. An award-winning spa is tucked away in the jungle-like gardens amidst tropical flowers and exotic birdlife. Enjoy the best High Tea in Africa in the conservatory Palm Court, or a giant curry feast on the Ocean Terrace with views over the lighthouse. The hotel has direct access to the beach and the promenade.

Gateway to shopping

Situated a few kilometers on the hills above Umhlanga you will enter into a wild world of shopping, entertainment and eateries. The Gateway Mall is the biggest shopping center in the Southern hemisphere and is the perfect place to spend a rainy day. Hosting a large variety of international chains and many smaller and unusual stores. Children can choose from many entertainment options, from skate parks and bowling, to a thrilling wavepark. An Imax theatre and many cinemas are also on hand , not to mention more than 70 restaurants.

The Thousand Hills

A short and scenic drive inland will take you into this mesmerizing valley of unending, tumbling hills. Offering stunning views and quaint curio shops along the way. Become immersed in the local Zulu traditions and culture while watching their ancestral dances and visiting the thatched beehive huts where you will get a glimpse into the past of this mighty tribe. Many quaint places to stop for a bite while admiring the rolling green hills stretching into the hazy blue horizon. A total contrast to the Umhlanga coastline!

Hluhluwe Game Park

A couple of hours drive from Umhlanga up the coast and you will find yourself in a completely different side of Africa, the typical wildlife reserve. The Hluhluwe Park is one of the oldest reserves in Africa and boasts a high density and variety of game. Being a white Rhino conservation habitat it has the largest concentration of Rhinos in Africa. The vegetation is quite dense as it is in a subtropical forest between rolling hills and palm-fringed rivers. Being a rather small park it is quite easy to spot a number of animals in a short time, and due to the fact that it is not crowded, these animals are relaxed and allow visitors to get up close.The park is a bird-lovers paradise, displaying an incredible diversity of birdlife.

The Kwazulu-Natal region of South Africa is one of the most diverse and breathtaking areas of the African continent with many things to do and see. It is definitely the Gateway to the rest of the country.

Anna Moggia is Owner of Boutique Hotel Zenana. Boutique Hotel Zenana is a charming, family-run B&B in the mountain town of San Candido/Innichen in the UNESCO Dolomites.

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  1. Tiziana says:

    Hi Anna just got back from 2 weeks in Umhlanga with my family. We had the best time relaxed got fit sae dolphins and ejoyed the delicious foods and vibrant atmosphere. I cannot wait to explore some of the other places you suggest. Thank you for your informative post.

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