Areas and Places

uMhlanga Rocks – Interesting Facts

uMhlanga Rocks History
– uMhlanga means Place of Reeds in Zulu, referring to the beds of reeds that accumulate on the banks of the Ohlanga River a few kilometers north of present day uMhlanga Rocks.
– San hunter-gatherers were the first to make uMhlanga Rocks their home after which it was occupied by Nguni-speaking people.
– uMhlanga came under British control when it became part of the large estate belonging to the 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.
– The Oyster Box Hotel, or “The Oyster Lodge” was built in 1863 as a navigational beacon.
– When a track was made from Mount Edgecombe to uMhlanga Rocks, the area became popular with the local farmers who leased small plots on the shoreline and built holiday cottages.
– In1952, the Oyster Box Hotel, then an overgrown property was sold to the O’Connor Family who started a tea garden, which was eventually turned into The Oyster Box Hotel.
– The uMhlanga Promenade was originally called the O’Connor Promenade.
– The Beverly Hills Hotel opened her doors in December 1964 as Sol Kerzner’s first hotel, and the first five star graded hotel in South Africa.
– Named after his daughter Beverly, Sol Kerzner built the hotel which attracted celebrities from abroad, and Maurice Chevalier and Marlene Dietrich were the first celebrities to grace the floors.
– The Borough of uMhlanga was formed in 1972 through the merger of uMhlanga Rocks and the suburb of La Lucia.
– The Borough of uMhlanga was incorporated into the eThekwini Municipality in the early 2000’s and uMhlanga Rocks now forms a strategically important node in the broader eThekwini Municipality.

uMhlanga Rocks Icons
– The uMhlanga Lighthouse is 21m tall and was installed on 24 November 1954
– The Oyster Box Hotel is the official warden of the uMhlanga Lighthouse, with the controls in the hotel office where staff monitor the controls and report to Portnet Lighthouse Services.
– The uMhlanga pier was built in 2007 to re-route storm-water outflow into Granny’s Pool with the aim of improving the quality of the beach in area.
– The uMhlanga pier was voted by CNN as “The World’s Most Beautiful” in 2014 and the whalebone structure won the South Africa national award for outstanding engineering.

Green Facts About uMhlanga Rocks
– The uMhlanga Lagoon is a 26 hectare (64 acres) Nature Reserve on the shore of the Indian Ocean

The nature reserve boasts…
– The Nature Reserve boasts the remains of a prehistoric shell midden.
– Plans are in place for a reserve upgrade project with improved infrastructure; operational management and on ground safety services.
– The Hawaan Forest lies on the inland side of the M4 adjacent to the uMhlanga Nature Reserve and is set on a sand dune that dates back 18 000 years
– This 65 hectare forest Hawaan Forest , protected from development since 1860, boasts over 100 indigenous tree species.
– The name Hawaan is thought to originate from ceremonies performed in the forest by Indian labourers that worked on sugar farms in the area.
– The Hawaan Forest now also falls within the Sibaya Coastal Precinct footprint and will be made accessible to residents and visitors alike through a responsible eco-tourism plan that will be managed by the Sibaya Conservation Trust?
– For now, as a way to maintain the pathways and forest itself, only guided walks through the Forest are allowed and can be arranged at the Breakers Resort in uMhlanga Rocks.

uMhlanga Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP)
– 55 properties and 3 000 members of the UIP
– R7.5billion+ municipal valuation roll
– R9 million operational budget (2016/17)
– 12km of public areas serviced
– 75 permanent jobs created
– There are 2 official uMhlanga UIPs, the uMhlanga Promenade UIP (PUIP) established in March 2003 and the uMhlanga Village UIP (VUIP) established in July 2008.
– The PUIP and VUIP are collectively known as the uMhlanga UIP and represent 29 large erven, with the boundary from the Lagoon to Durban View Park, the sea and up to the M4.
– In KwaZulu-Natal, the Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP) structure is based on the Municipal Property Rates Act of 2004, which makes provision for the establishment of what is technically termed a Special Rating Area (SRA).
– The R5million paving upgrade project in the uMhlanga Rocks Village completed by the eThekwini Municipality is one of the best examples of the effective partnership between the City and the UIP.
– As a partner delivering the uMhlanga Rocks vision the UIP will re-brand, with roll-out planned for December / January.

Development Facts
– The value of reinvestment and upgrade in uMhlanga Rocks since 2008 is estimated at +R1 billion and includes work completed on Breakers Resort; uMhlanga Sands; Cabana Beach Resort; Oyster Box Hotel; uMhlanga Centre; Protea Hotel, and many other residential complexes.
– Investor confidence in uMhlanga Rocks is evident, with new or current developments said to total a conservative R5billion, and include Beacon Rock (phase1) @ R500 million; The Pearls of uMhlanga @ R1 billion; The Oceans Development @ R3.8 billion.
3/ The combination of reinvestment …

– The combination of reinvestment + new investments total + R6 billion and an additional rates base to the City of +_ R105 million p/a.

General uMhlanga Rocks Facts
– The uMhlanga Promenade has 2.3km of flat brick track running north to south
– Originally a sheltered bathing area formed by two natural rock outcrops, Granny’s Pool became the natural launching site for the first ski boats off uMhlanga
– The Oyster Box has been included in Monopoly Mzansi, along with Florida Road, Durban beachfront and uShaka Marine World, as top local destinations in the new version of the game.
– Since 2004, uMhlanga Rocks has been a go-to-destination for some 7 500 Matric Ragers who spend almost 10-days between uMhlanga and Ballito during the annual Matric Rage Festival
– Mythos will open in Chartwell Drive (where News Café used to be) in April 2017