A perfect autumn day in paradise.

Some of you who haven’t seen me on your blogs, might have been wondering what I’ve been doing for the past couple of days. Well, the weather here has been absolutely perfect, around 26 C, humidity in the low 50’s and wind speed only about 8 km. This is the best time of year here on the south-east coast of South Africa.

On Tuesday I had to spend some time traipsing around our local ‘Theatre of Shopping’, as our nearest big mall is described. I was looking for suitable presents for my mom and sister who both have birthdays within a day of each other. I found mom a lovely duvet  set, but do you think I could find the elusive turquoise top that my sister wants. Not a chance, so when I see her today, we’ll go searching again at a different mall.

Yesterday, after playing piano for two hours at our local shopping centre, I definitely needed to get out and breathe in the fresh sea air. Our shops are full of winter boots, jerseys, jackets, scarves and woolly hats, but this is the best way to dress for our wonderful climate.

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The beach wasn’t very busy, except for a few fishermen on the rocks.

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There was also someone doing a bit of spear fishing.

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I didn’t see him spear anything, I just saw his flippers disappearing under the water.

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In a couple of week’s time, these aloes, of which there are many along the beachfront, will be blooming bright orange.

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I was delighted to see that the missing piece of plaster at the top of the lighthouse, had been repaired and repainted, although the red doesn’t quite match, as the original paint has faded. I think they should have splashed out and repainted the whole thing.

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Of course, not everyone here is on holiday, and these window cleaners were busy on one of the apartment blocks. Their platform was swaying around quite a lot, and I was really glad it wasn’t me up there.

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There was one little snag here in paradise. The tractor which is used to launch the boats at Grannies Pool,

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seems to be somewhat out of action. I wonder how this happened.

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I’m off up the hill to meet my mom and sister for lunch, and then I’m bringing mom back to stay with us here in paradise for a few days, as it’s her 88th birthday on Sunday. We’ll probably be out and about quite a bit, so I may not be on the blogs much, but will endeavour to catch up as and when I can. Have a great weekend.

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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 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.