About us – Find out About Umhlanga Rocks Tourism. Who we are. Where to find us. How to contact us. What we do. And when we started.
Why We Exist
Firstly, why do we exist? Umhlanga Tourism Information Centre (UTIC) exists to market and promote the northern region of Durban. It operates on behalf of the tourist and the tourism provider. I also promotes job creation and economic growth.
Its geographical area is known as the Umhlanga Coastline or ‘FunShine Coast’. The area extends from the Umgeni River in the south, to the Tongaat River in the north. Regions include Durban North, Umhlanga, Umdloti, Tongaat, Verulam, Mt Edgecombe, La Mercy and Westbrook. Visitors will not only find beautiful beaches in this region but also world-class bed & breakfast venues and guest houses. There are also lots of self-catering apartments, hotels, tour operators, restaurants and more.
Where We Are
Secondly, where are we? UTIC started in 1988 and currently operates from a small building in the bustling hub of Umhlanga Village. Do pop in and meet staff. They will help you find information on what to do and where to go. You could also use our small internet café. About us – find out about Umhlanga Rocks Tourism right here.
Another way of learning about Umhlanga itself is through Humphrey. Humphrey is Umhlanga’s local, friendly, regularly available pooch! He’s a dog in a million. Humphrey belongs to a local pharmacist and makes regular appearances in the village centre. He works hard at raising funds for Durban SPCA and is aiming to raise R1 million for the animal charity.
Where to from here?
Further, Umhlanga itself is perfectly positioned for discovering further afield. You can use it as your base for any leg of your South African adventure. The town is situated 16 kilometres north of the centre of Durban. And just ten minutes from the King Shaka Airport. It’s easy to get to the many and varied Zulu Kingdom Game Reserves from Umhlanga. Simply drive three hours north along the superb N2 toll road. If you travel still further north, you’ll reach Swaziland and Mozambique.
Alternatively, you can go south on the N2 to Port Shepstone. Past that you’ll reach the holiday resort of Margate and then the Wild Coast. Or continue all 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. The world heritage site of Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Mountain Park is a few hours away. Beyond that you’ll reach Johannesburg and Mpumalanga. And of course the fabulous Kruger National Park.
Another important thing about us is our weather. The Durban / Umhlanga coastline enjoys a warm subtropical climate. Winter time (June to August) is wonderful. Temperatures range between 12°C at night (no need for air-conditioning) and 23°C at lunch time. Summers are hot and humid, particularly during February and March. Temperatures then reach 30°C or higher.
Sea temperatures vary from 25°C in summer to 20°C in winter. This allows for comfortable year-round swimming. No wet suits required. Rainfall for the year averages at around 900mm. The main precipitation takes place during spring and early summer. Autumn and winter are drier seasons and filled with blue skies and sunny days.
Umhlanga’s History of Hospitality
Additionally, to learn about us – find out about Umhlanga Rocks Tourism – you need to go back to the 1800s.
Present-day Umhlanga is in the area south of the Tugela River. This location was originally home to San hunter-gatherers. It was later occupied by Nguni-speaking people. In the early 1800s King Shaka unified the Nguni into the proud Zulu nation. Then the British controlled the area soon after. This meant it became part of the large estate belonging to the great sugar magnate, Sir Marshall Campbell, who set foot in South Africa from Glasgow in 1850. In 1860 Indian indentured labourers arrived to work on the sugar estates. They brought with them a vibrant and colourful culture. This gave the area its unique multicultural flavour.
Building of Umhlanga’s first beach cottage was in 1869 on a rocky site overlooking the sea. Tea and scones were served to passersby from the site in the true spirit of Umhlanga hospitality. Captains of passing ships used the reflective roof of the cottage to navigate safely around Umhlanga’s rocky headland. In the 1950s builders converted the cottage into the Oyster Box hotel. At around the same time construction workers built Umhlanga’s distinctive red-and-white lighthouse. The lighthouse warned mariners away from the dangers of the rocks. In the 1920Virginia, daughter of Sir Marshal Campbell, built the first hotel in Umhlanga in the 1920s. Other hotels soon followed these two and the village of ‘Umhlanga Rocks‘ became the most sought-after area for locals to visit during their holidays. The rest, as they say, is history.
The name ‘Umhlanga‘ means ‘place of reeds’ in the Zulu language.
How We Support Our Community
Lastly, to learn more about us, you can learn about our community. Girls & Boys Town, situated in Verulam on the north coast, cares for children aged 10 to 17 who have been placed in care by the Magistrate’s Court.
The organisation was established in 1958. It has recently embarked on a journey to relaunch, renew and refurbish its programmes and residences. This includes increasing its family-style living facilities.
Umhlanga Tourism has partnered with Kwababa (contact 083-675-8749)
to collect much-needed items for the facility. The home needs non-perishable food items and toiletries, used linens, curtains, crockery, cutlery and furniture. Contact Umhlanga Tourism, Kwababa or Girls & Boys Town if you would like to donate.
Brought to you by the Umhlanga Tourism Information Centre