This well established, leafy garden suburb has long been the area of choice for those opting to make the South Coast home and, unlike its more commercial neighbours, comprises approximately 80 percent permanent residents.
Umtentweni has all the trappings needed for suburban bliss. The little pocket of peace and tranquillity is flanked by the Umzimkulu and Mtentweni Rivers, offering some of the most magnificent natural surrounds and scenery on this section of the South Coast. Much in demand thanks to its treed, forest-like ambiance, this fashionable suburb has proved to be an attractive option for holiday home owners who enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle associated with busier coastal suburbs and towns, especially during peak holiday seasons.
The appealing swimming beach and tidal pools are a favourite for young and old alike. Unfortunately, in March 2007 large parts of the east coast of Southern Africa were hit by both an unusually high spring tide and stormy seas. The unparalleled battering many of the beaches in towns all along the coast received severely damaged the natural coastline as well as the infrastructure, costing municipalities millions of rand to repair and rehabilitate. Although Umtentweni beach escaped relatively unscathed, there was some damage to the surrounding fauna. The dunes have since been fully rehabilitated.
The area boasts a number of restaurants, a small shopping centre, medical facilities and its own library. The Sportweni Sports Academy, the first of its kind in South Africa is a private establishment situated in the heart of the suburb. The Academy hosts between three and four thousand children annually, from all over the country, who attend intensive coaching and training programmes during the school holidays.
Much of Umtentweni's appeal lies in the excellent mix of modern mansions and older, more colonial style homes, catering for every taste. The average property size in terms of the Hibiscus Coast municipal by-laws is 2000m², ideal for those who favour sprawling, spacious surrounds.
The suburb boasts a number of historic homes including some of the original farmhouses which add to the charm of the borough. The elegant Royston Hall is a fine example of a bygone era. Often described as a ‘stately old Victorian dame’, the property dates back to 1899. Ravaged by fire in 1986, the property has been lovingly restored to her former glory and has recently been converted into a magnificent guest house. Nestled on the hillside, Royson Hall boasts unsurpassed sea and valley views and overlooks the mighty Umzimkulu River.
In terms of general property trends, recently released statistics reveal that there have been a total of 61 transfers in the area in the last 12 months. Lightstone statistics indicate that the average price paid for a full title home was R957 000 and sectional title averages came in at R723 000. The highest price paid for a property was R3 450-million, and this sale fell into the freehold sector of the market.
Offering a laid-back lifestyle, a strong sense of community, easy access to numerous good schools and a host of features which make it a nature lover’s paradise, Umtentweni has managed to stand the test of time. The area has retained its ranking against some of the other top, perhaps more well-known and popular South Coast suburbs such as Shelly Beach and Ramsgate, and is sure to remain a favourite with the locals and visitors alike thanks to its unique surrounds and natural splendour.