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FAIRMONT ZIMBALI HOTEL & RESORT

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Welcome to Umhlanga Rocks

Visitors from around the world flock to the holiday resort village of Umhlanga to relax and have fun on one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.  Situated on the east coast of South Africa just north of the vibrant Port City of Durban on the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Umhlanga has the best South African accommodation, with superb holiday apartments, luxury hotels, lodges and B&B’s etc, it also has up-market Office Parks and first world Shopping Centres.  The golden sandy beaches stretch northwards for more than 200 kilometres, all the way to the spectacular Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, A World Heritage Site.  Inland from Umhlanga, endless fields of sugarcane give way to the tumbling area of the 1000 Hills, the massive Inanda Dam and mystical hidden valleys of Zululand.

Umhlanga offers excellent up-market accommodation, the best South African tour operators, a wealth of entertainment, shops, restaurants and nature trails, all in a secure environment.  The spectacular Gateway shopping centre and Sibaya Casino are some of the key attractions that Umhlanga Rocks has to offer.  Ocean enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers will be in their element - surfing, deep-sea fishing, whale watching and dolphin viewing, scuba diving, kite boarding and microlight flips are just some of the many activities available on this wonderful stretch of coastline. For the serious golfers there are many superb golf courses all within a 15 minute drive of Umhlanga. Umhlanga is also a paradise for the romantically inclined and many people either tie the knot here or spend their honeymoon here.

 

Umhlanga is perfectly positioned for any leg of your south African adventure.  It’s 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.  From Umhlanga it’s also just an easy three hour drive north along the superb N2 toll road to the World Heritage site of St Lucia, or the many and varied Zulu Kingdom Game Reserves, or still further north onto Swaziland and Mozambique.  Alternatively you can go south on the N2 to Port Shepstone and the holiday resort of Margate and then onto the Wild Coast, or continue all of the way to the Cape Garden Route and ultimately on to Cape Town.  For those who want to explore the mountains, head inland on the N3 to the world heritage site of Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Mountain Park and then onwards to Johannesburg, Mpumalanga and the fabulous Kruger National Park.  Many South African Tour Operators are based in Umhlanga and are ready to guide you on your holiday of a lifetime

Whether you choose Umhlanga to start your holiday, or to relax at the end your South African adventure, Umhlanga is the place where your holiday can begin or end.

Climate

The Durban / Umhlanga coastline enjoys a warm sub-tropical climate. Summer (Nov - Feb) temperatures are hot, from 24 - 33 degrees Celsius, with high levels of humidity and Winter temperatures (June – August ) of between 12 and 22 degrees Celsius.

Sea temperatures vary from 25 degrees in Summer to 18 degrees in Winter, which allows for comfortable year round swimming, without the need for a wet-suite to keep warm. The average rainfall for the year is in the order of 900mm, with the main precipitation taking place during Spring and early Summer and the least rainfall during the dryer Autumn and Winter months.

A history of hospitality

Originally home to San hunter-gatherers, the area south of the Tugela River (incorporating present day Umhlanga) was later occupied by Nguni-speaking people who were unified under King Shaka in the early 1800s into the proud Zulu nation.  The area came under British control soon after, becoming part of the large estate belonging to the great sugar magnate, Sir Marshall Campbell, who sailed to South Africa from Glasgow in 1850.  Indian indentured labourers were brought in to work on the sugar estates in 1860, bringing with them a vibrant and colourful culture, which gives the area its unique multi-cultural flavour.

In 1869, Umhlanga’s first beach cottage, the Oyster Lodge was built on a rocky site overlooking the sea and in the true spirit of Umhlanga hospitality, tea and scones were served to passers-by.  The reflective roof of the cottage was also used as a beacon by passing ships captains to navigate safely around Umhlanga’s rocky headland.  However in 1954 Umhlanga's distinctive red and white lighthouse was built to warn mariners away from the dangers of the rocks.  The first hotel The Umhlanga Rocks Hotel was built in the 1920’s and The Oysterbox Hotel was built on the site adjacent to the lighthouse in 1947. Other hotels soon followed and the village of “Umhlanga Rocks” soon became the most sought after area for local’s to go on holiday. The rest as they say is history.

The name “Umhlanga” means "place of reeds" in the Zulu language.

 

 
  
Maxi Clippers at Durban Harbour

Round the world yacht race -  ready to depart for Fremantle, Western Australia

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