Durban's Northern Surroundings & the Dolphin Coast

Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa

Umhlanga Rocks is a popular resort, where shark nets protect the beaches.

Stanger, South Africa

Near two other quiet resorts, Sheffield Beach and Blythdale Beach is Stanger (pop. 26,000), founded in 1873 on the site of Shaka's last royal kraal, Kwadukuza ("Place of the Missing One"). A monument in a small garden marks the spot where the great Zulu ruler was murdered in 1828. Annually on September 22nd, a day of great significance to the Zulus, they meet here to honor Shaka.
Stanger is now a busy commercial and administrative center, mainly inhabited by Indians, for one of South Africa's most important sugar-producing areas.

Tongaat, South Africa

Tongaat (pop. 50,000) is an important center of the sugar industry.
Tongaat was founded in 1849 by British immigrants. The town, named after the Tongaat River, was originally called Victoria. It preserves a few buildings from its early days. Also of interest is the Shree Marriamen, a tiny Hindu temple on the main street. The golf course, fringed by palms and surrounded by green fields of sugarcane, attracts golfers from far and wide.

Salt Rock, South Africa

Salt Rock is a quiet little resort with a hotel and a camping site. On the coast are piers and towers built for the benefit of anglers. Salt Rock Country Club has a wide range of sports facilities, including a boccia pitch, tennis courts, billiard tables and swimming pools.

Phoenix Park Settlement, South Africa

South of Verulam a road branches off R 102 and runs west to the Phoenix Park Settlement, where Mahatma Gandhi established a farm during his stay in Natal. His house now contains a small museum on his life and work.

Shaka's Rock, South Africa

Shaka's Rock has hotels and a sheltered beach, and there is a beautiful hiking trail running parallel to the coast. This is said to have been a favorite spot of the Zulu king Shaka.

Tongaat Beach

Tongaat Beach has a hotel and numbers of holiday apartments. The beaches are protected by shark nets.
The nearby Crocodile Creek crocodile farm is open daily to visitors.

Umdloti, South Africa

The bathing resort of Umdloti, at the mouth of the Mdloti River, has one of the finest beaches in the area. The river takes its name from a wild tobacco plant which grows along its banks.

Verulam, South Africa

15km/9mi south of Tongaat is Verulam (pop. 30,000). Founded in 1850 by Methodists, it is the oldest town in the province, with a majority of Indians in the population.

Ballitoville, South Africa

A popular bathing resort is Ballitoville (or Ballito for short), 45km/28mi north of Durban. It has a beautiful beach protected by shark nets.

Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

The Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve, area 214ha/529ac, contains a variety of indigenous plants, numerous birds, antelopes and rhinos.

Durban's Western Surroundings

Valley of a Thousand Hills

The Valley of a Thousand Hills, a beautiful region of gently rounded hills created since the Mesozoic era by the gradual recession of the Great Escarpment, extends along the Umgeni River between its outflow into the Indian Ocean, to the north of Durban, and the Nagle Dam to the east of Pietermaritzburg, which supplies Durban with water.
The old road between Durban and Pietermaritzburg runs along the southern edge of the Valley of a Thousand Hills, an area with magnificent views. After passing Hillcrest and Botha's Hill it comes to Phe-Zulu, a typical Zulu village where visitors can see something of the traditional Zulu way of life including performances of tribal dances and a visit to a witch doctor. There are similar opportunities for visitors in nearby Assagay Park, which also has crocodiles, snakes and lizards as tourist attractions.
Towards Pietermaritzburg is the Nagle Dam. The lake lies at the foot of the Natal Table Mountain (960m/3150ft), from the summit of which there are magnificent views.

PheZulu Safari Park

PheZulu Safari Park, containing a typical Zulu village, offers tribal dance performances. The park contains some of the oldest and largest Nile crocodiles in captivity as well as an exhibition of snakes. Off-road trips into the Valley of a Thousand Hills are available.
Address: Old Main Road, Botha's Hil, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal 3660, South Africa

Nagle Dam

Nagle Dam, laying at the base of Natal Table Mountain, is a venue for the African Canoeing Championships.

Marianhill Monastery

The Marianhill monastery, in the slum quarter of Pinetown, was founded in 1882 by a Trappist abbot, Franz Pfanner, and was taken over in 1909 by the Marianhill missionary order. It has developed into an important training center for Black South Africans.
Address: 10 Monastery Road, Marianhill, KwaZulu-Natal 3624, South Africa

Krantzkloof Nature Reserve

The Krantzkloof Nature Reserve, area, offers numerous scenic walks and viewpoints. It is very popular with bird-watchers.
Near the reserve's entrance, the Umgeni River plunges into a deep wooded gorge.

Palmiet Nature Reserve

This municipal nature reserve, area 50ha/125ac, lies near Westville, on the western outskirts of the expanding Durban conurbation. There are a number of short hiking trails which allow visitors to see the park's flora (mainly of indigenous plants) and its large numbers of birds.

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