Jake’s Sunday Post challenge: Village

I decided that for Jake’s Sunday Post challenge this week, I would show you my seaside ‘village’ of Umhlanga Rocks, situated on the east coast of South Africa, facing the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Visitors from overseas, as well as all over South Africa, flock to our resort village, to relax and have fun on one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. The warm subtropical climate means that one can have fun in the sun all the year round. We are so proud ofΒ  this brilliant new pier, which was built only a couple of years ago.

This area was once the home of the San hunter-gatherers, but was later occupied by Nguni-speaking people who were unified under King Shaka in the early 1800’s into the proud Zulu nation. It came under British control soon after, and became part of the large estate belonging to Sir Marshall Campbell, who sailed to South Africa in 1850. Indian indentured labourers were brought to work on the sugar plantations, with the result that today this area has a vibrant and colourful multiracial flavour. The sugar plantations in our area have all but disappeared to make way for property development.

In 1869, the first beach cottage was built on a rocky site overlooking the sea. The owners served tea and scones to passers by, and the reflective roof of the cottage was used as a beacon by passing ships’ captains to navigate safely around the rocky headland. This cottage was converted into the Oyster Box Hotel hotel in the 1930’s, and in 1953, this distinctive red and white lighthouse was built right in front of it. This hotel has recently been upgraded to the highest 5 star standards, and is an absolute pleasure to visit. It has some of the best restaurants you could ever wish to dine in.

Umhlanga was a favourite family holiday destination for us for many years, and when we retired, we decided to leave Johannesburg and settle here at the coast, as the climate is wonderful. Over the past few decades we’ve seen a lot of change, and the older hotels have either been refurbished into magnificent 5 star establishments, or demolished to make way for huge holiday apartment buildings such as this one.

The village as such hasn’t got any bigger, but of course it’s changed a lot. There used to be just aΒ  few small shops along the main street, mostly selling buckets and spades, sun hats and swimsuits, but now, there is a plethora of restaurants and pubs in order to cater for the increased inflow of tourists.

The George pub is a well known watering hole in our village.

and of course there are the african curio shops for the overseas visitors.

Holiday makersΒ  and locals alike come here in winter and summer to catch a tan,

paddle around in the rock pools,

do a bit of spear fishing,

or even fly fishing, which I found rather unusual. πŸ™‚

Mostly it’s just nice to relax and watch the surfers doing their thing.

At peak times, it seems a rather overcrowded village to us locals, and we can’t get a parking space for love or money, but for the rest of the year, it’s the ideal village to live in.

91 comments on “Jake’s Sunday Post challenge: Village

  1. Beautiful, warm, vibrant SA. Thanks AD for such a lovely post, the village has certainly changed a lot:-)

  2. Love your beautiful village. Have yet to visit South Africa. We are hoping to do it with the kids sometime in the next couple of years.

  3. When we were still living in Pretoria we used to visit Umhlanga regularly, but we haven’t been there in the last 14 years and by the looks of it, it changed quite a lot! The weather was always wonderful, even in winter months!!

  4. My favorite destination. My first holiday in Umhlanga was slightly more than 30 years ago, and yes it has changed quite a bit!

    Your photographs once again are brilliant.

  5. I ‘spose all the quaint old family hotels I knew as a child have gone : Umhlanga Rocks, Chaka’s Rock, and so on. Progress 😦

  6. we used to stay at the Umhlanga Rocks hotel when I was a child. So much along that coastline has changed. I remember (rather fondly) those little shops that sold, buckets and spades, kiddy sized fishing rods, shells on a string, and icecream

    • Yes, we’ve also stayed at the Rocks Hotel, The Edge of the Sea, and also at the old Oyster Box in the late 70’s. The other times, we stayed in The Sands. I used to love those little shops too. They really felt like “holiday” to me. πŸ˜‰

      • that was part of it, one place had a wonderful bakery that made wonderful crusty bread. we’d get a loaf and just share that with orange juice on the beach

  7. I was amazed at how much development has gone on there! And some of the houses are HUGE! It is a lovely place to live AD πŸ™‚

  8. great photos AD. I haven’t been to Durbs for years. My most vivid recollection being alighting the aircraft into humidity as thick as quick-sand. How do you cope?

    • Now is the best time of year here. We go to Florida for their winter, so miss out on the humidity here and there. Best of both worlds. πŸ˜‰

  9. Wow it looks awesome (thanks for sharing your lovely pics), that bridge especially – very whale-y? How windy does it get over there?

  10. Umhlanga is beautiful,sometimes one forgets how our country South Africa is, thanx for the reminder πŸ™‚

  11. Great work , Your Village represent the advance technology of living a very unique idea, thanks for sharing my friend πŸ™‚

    • I took those photos up near the lifeguards centre, the only place which is really safe to bathe. It was a public holiday, so was very crowded. Usually it’s not at all busy, and where we live, you’d be unlucky to find even half a dozen people. πŸ˜‰

  12. Hi,
    Great photos, it looks like a lovely area. We have the same problem with parking in summer anywhere near a beach. πŸ™‚
    I love the pier the design is different and it looks great, it is fantastic that there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy watching the world go by.

    • We’re lucky that we live almost on the beach, so don’t have to drive there. I was referring to the parking in the shopping malls. For some strange reason, the holidaymakers seem to spend an awful lot of their time in them. Shopping is a national sport. πŸ˜‰

  13. Umhlanga is beautiful,sometiimes one forgets how beautiful our country South Africa is, thanx for the reminder. πŸ™‚

    • So true, matron. It’s not surprising that most South Africans are so passionate about their country, and want this economy to thrive and not be ruined.

  14. Even being a bicyclist-lifestylist (no,that isn’t a Steve-ism,I saw that on a bumpersticker oddly enough πŸ˜› ),I like those Benze SUV Limo’s,LOL! Beach looks inviting,awesome pics and read (as always,my friend) πŸ™‚

    The DC

  15. I can’t imagine living in such a beautiful place! No wonder where you got the name of your blog! I went to South Africa 7 years ago and loved it. Beautiful, fascinating country. I hoPe to visit again!

      • I sure hope so! I truly loved South Africa and actually follow quite a few bloggers from SA. πŸ™‚ I have such an insatiable wanderlust that it drives me crazy as I want to see everything and go back everywhere. Oh well…keeps me dreaming!

  16. Used to go there on holiday when a child… lived in Southbroom for 4 years and have since returned to Pretoria,,, it is nice down there and we’ll return for holidays and stay in one of those cheaper places that are also so good….

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