Umhlanga Holiday Guide


Hard to believe that Umhlanga, the buzzing residential, commercial and resort suburb just outside of Durban, was once a seaside resort town called Umhlanga Rock. During the early seventies it merged with La Lucia to become what it is today – Umhlanga – pronounced Umhlanga and meaning “place of reeds” in Zulu.

Things have changed rather radically since the town acquired its suburban status. It remains a highly popular seaside resort, its wide, sandy beaches lined with exclusive hotels and apartment blocks, the beaches filled with umbrellas and sun worshippers, whilst locals enthusiastically walk the promenade at sundown. However, business has relocated here from central Durban, in a similar fashion to Sandton in Johannesburg, and Durban International Airport is set to move to La Mercy nearby.
The residential aspect of Umhlanga too has grown incredibly. Gated communities and luxury estates have sprawled their way across the suburb, and in particular, Umhlanga Ridge, which used to be largely sugarcane, is now a much sought-after retail, office and residential area due in no small part to the incredible views over the Indian Ocean.

Gateway Shopping Centre, one of the biggest shopping centres in the country, means that, whilst staying in Umhlanga, one has little reason to venture elsewhere. The O’Connor promenade that stretches from Durban View Park all the way to Breakers and the start of the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve, provides a wonderful way to stretch one’s legs right at the sea, past the famous Umhlanga Lighthouse, and numerous excellent restaurants pose only the dilemma of which to choose for dinner.

The Location of Umhlanga

Located at 29°43’S and 31°04’E on the east coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, is the bustling and popular seaside village of Umhlanga Rocks. Umhlanga Rocks is just a 30 minute drive on the N2 north from Durban International Airport and situated on the northern beaches, just 16 km from the centre of Durban.
The Umhlanga Vibe

Umhlanga’s first beach cottage, the Oyster Lodge was built overlooking the sea and tea and scones were served to passers-by in the true spirit of Umhlanga hospitality.

Umhlanga has transformed from a quiet little seaside town north of Durban, into the top holiday destination on the North Coast. Huge hotels line the seafront and the newly built Gateway shopping centre brings up the rear of the town. Development is rife as the town snowballs.

The general vibe in Umhlanga is hectic with loads of people and lots to do. The main beach took a knock from the 50 year swell which recently hit the east coast of South Africa, and it is a shadow of its former self. Still it is a great place to be seen, and probably the busiest beach on the North Coast. This is definately the place to be if you want to party … not so if you are keen to just get away from it all.

Umhlanga – Amenities

When it comes to entertainment and activities, Umhlanga has an amazing array to choose from.
Places to see in (or near) Umhlanga

  • Natal Sharks Board
  • Beachwood Mangoves Nature Reserve
  • Gateway Shopping Mall
  • Umhlanga coastal beaches
  • uSkaka Marine World

Umhlanga Activities

  • Golf
  • Swimming, sunbathing and collecting shells
  • Spa treatments
  • Shopping
  • Swimming with dolphins
  • Mountain climbing and biking
  • Hiking
  • Surfing and kite surfing
  • Game viewing
  • 4X4 Adventures
  • Fishing
  • Boat cruises
  • Diving
  • Whale and dolphin watching

Eating out in Umhlanga

It’s been a long, active day and now it’s time to chill and unwind with a candle-lit dinner at any one of our outstanding restaurants. Representing some of the best in local and international cuisine, the area offers a wide selection of restaurants to suit every taste, budget and mood. Pre-book for a seafood feast, enjoy the best of India, or savour a taste of Italy. For a more oriental flavour, visit any one of our outstanding Chinese restaurants or simply treat the family at any of a number of our more contemporary restaurants.

For a more informal adult atmosphere, call into a local pub and see the latest sports action while you sip a cool beer, or take the weight off with a light snack at a coffee bar. No matter what you choose, with the great vibes and good food on offer, the night is yours.
Umhlanga restaurants :

  • Oscars
  • Splashes
  • Mimmos
  • Angelo’s
  • Coimba Portuguese Restaurant
  • Al Firenze
  • Fego Caffé
  • Cape Town Fish Market
  • Spur
  • Maxi’s
  • Ocean Basket
  • Ile Maurice
  • Grillroom Café
  • Getaway to India
  • Jive Café
  • La Vuyetta
  • Gorima’s Spices
  • Razzmatazz
  • The Royal Palm

Guesthouses in Umhlanga

Please use the links below to access more details on the featured guest houses, where indicated read the owners/ manager page for the inside story!!

Umhlanga View Guesthouse

Alternatively access our comprehensive guest house directory here