What started out as a sleepy seaside village has been transformed into a major commercial hub.
Although Umhlanga Rocks has changed dramatically over the years, surprisingly, there is still a village feel to this beautiful suburb.
One has to wonder if entrepreneurs like Sol Kerzner owned a crystal ball or had insider knowledge on what a hot spot Umhlanga was going to become. Born into a family of hoteliers, Kerzner graduated with a degree in accounting before taking over the family business. One of his earliest projects was building South Africa’s first-five star hotel – The Beverley Hills – in 1964. The hotel has maintained its rating and shares its five-star status with the nearby The Oyster Box hotel.
It's easy to see the appeal the area has. The village is situated close to one of South Africa’s largest shopping centres, Gateway Theatre of Shopping, and is close to various highways and freeways linking it to Durban and King Shaka International Airport near Ballito. In addition, it is just a stone’s throw from the La Lucia business hub. With its mild winters, the region holds great appeal for retirees as well as upcountry businessmen and women who enjoy the idea of living on the coast and commuting to work in Gauteng.
The area is also home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country. Lightstone statistics reveal that 58 freehold properties have changed hands over the past 12 months. Of these, 47 sold for an average price of around R6m. In the sectional title sector 227 units were sold – the average price of these units was roughly R4m.
I've lived in Umhlanga for over 17 years and, as far as I'm concerned, it's one of the best places to be in KZN. I love the convenience of having the beach on my doorstep as well as a world-class shopping and entertainment centre just up the road.
Jade Hodgkinson, resident.
- Crawford College La Lucia
- Atholton Primary School
- Umhlanga College
Other schools in nearby La Lucia include Danville Park Girls’ High School and Northwood School
Best in food
For innovative food and dining head to Harvey’s
- Enjoy five-star luxury at The Oyster Box
- Old Town Italy specialises in authentic Italian cuisine
- All-day, late night hot spot Remo’s Fratelli Villagio
- Award-winning The Beverley Hills Hotel is a favourite among tourists and locals
- Nurture Umhlanga Hospital
- Netcare Umhlanga Hospital
- Gateway Private Hospital
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.
Take a spectacular tour through Umhlanga neighbourhood here: