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 of 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 a 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 makers 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. 🙂
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.