With a vibey, beachy atmosphere, Umhlanga sings with a high-class yet welcoming appeal. If you’re not at the beach, visit outdoor locations like the Hawaan Forest and the Lagoon Nature Reserve to really take advantage of the beautiful Durban weather.
Why you should visit: Without a doubt, the one place you should visit whilst in Durban should be the beach – and Umhlanga sure does offer up some gems when it comes to coastal wonders. While there are a few, Umhlanga Beach itself consists of clean, white sands and the immeasurably warm waters of the Indian ocean that lap away at them.
Points of note along the Umhlanga beach stretch are the Umhlanga Lighthouse, built in 1954 and the “Walkway to the beach” – a paved walkway that stretches along the beach and is perfect for those sunset strolls.
How to get there: Umhlanga Beach is a 17km drive out central Durban via the M4.
Why you should visit: Declared by CNN as the World’s Most Beautiful Pier in 2014, the Whalebone (Umhlanga) Pier is a sight to behold. The pier is an engineering marvel made out of fibreglass (not actual whale bones) and resembles the skeleton of a whale – hence the name. Visit at night for some extra wow-factor when the pier is all lit up.
How to get there: The pier is situated close to the Umhlanga Lighthouse on Umhlanga beach.
The Hawaan Forest
Why you should visit: The Hawaan Forest is the remnant of a dry coastal dune forest and dates back 18 000 years. Said to be the last of its kind, the forest is home to various plant species and wildlife, including bushbuck, African Rock Pythons, bushpigs, dwarf chameleons, birdlife and more. Walking trails are not open to the public in order to maintain the ecosystem, but guided Wildlife Society tours are available. Bookings are essential.
How much does it cost: R30 per person
How to get there: Located in Hawaan, it’s an 18 km drive from central Durban via the M4
Gateway Theatre of shopping
Why you should visit: If you’re looking for some indoor fun during your visit to Umhlanga, look no further than the Gateway Theatre of Shopping. One of the top 100 largest malls in the world, Gateway wows in all departments. Shop until you drop in over 430 stores, or try out different cuisines at the many restaurants. Kids will find delight in the Snow Wonderland, Wave park, bowling alley and Action Karting.
How much does it cost: Enquire for individual activity prices.
How to get there: Find it at 1 Palm Blvd, Umhlanga Ridge.
Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve trail
Why you should visit: The Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve is a 26 hectare reserve situated on the shores of the Indian ocean in Umhlanga Rocks. A wooden bridge meanders along for 1.6km across the Ohlanga River, wetlands and a dune forest. Embark on the trail yourself, or opt for a tour guide to help point out the various wildlife and birdlife along the way.
How much does it cost: Entrance to the reserve is free.
How to get there: Find it in Hawaan, Blackburn – close to the Hawaan Forest.