Umhlanga is a Zulu word that means “place of the reeds” and comes from the Zulu language. It refers to the beds where reeds grow along the Umhlanga River, north of Umhlanga Rocks.
The OysterBox is a luxurious hotel that has been in operation since the 1950s. It was initially built as a beach house in 1869 before the town was even founded.
Sir Marshall Campbell established Umhlanga in 1895. In 1920, Umhlanga’s first hotel opened. A shop and a lighthouse followed it. The Natal Anti Shark Measures Board, now known as the KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board, was also established.
Umhlanga Rocks, a beachside resort town, was combined with La Lucia to form Umhlanga Borough. Rodney Rindel was the former chairman of La Lucia’s town board and was elected mayor of the newly created Borough of Umhlanga.
Riedel stated that although the people of La Lucia were openly against the amalgamation and did not like the name, they now see the benefits of the new Borough of Umhlanga.
Rodney Rindel, Mayor of Umhlanga 1972
The 1980s saw the development of inland, from a small village east of the M4 highway to an expanded town that occupied most of the N2 highway area and south of Hawaan Forest. The Hawaan Forest is to the north of the city, which is the natural habitat for many creatures like the vervet monkey. Residents and tourists are often the ones who lure the monkeys into the town to feed them.
Umhlanga is a diverse city with many people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. English is the first language of 78.9%, 9.0% Zulu, and 6.12% Afrikaans. A significant Portuguese community is also found.
Between 2001 and 2011, the number of people belonging to each racial group grew. While the number of white people increased by 11,523 to 12,925, their percentage fell from 74.9% a 53.3%. The number of blacks grew from 1,770 to 4,147. The number of “Indians” or Asians grew from 1,953 up to 6,353. The number of coloreds increased from 141 to 297.
The new town center, which is 24.1% of total black as per the 2011 census, is the most black. On the other hand, the northern coast area, including Umhlanga village, is the most white. It is 66.9% of the total area. Higher white populations are found in the older regions of Umhlanga than the average.
Umhlanga, Umdloti and Umdloti make up the Sugar Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Umhlanga is a popular tourist destination in South Africa. In 2015, Umhlanga saw 1.2 million tourists and generated a gross domestic product of R20 billion. However, Peter Rose, the chairman of tourism, stated in 2016 that “I can confidently state that within five years you won’t recognize uMhlanga.” Residents of Umhlanga are mixed about the changes. They feel that Umhlanga is losing its village appeal, but they also appreciate the improved infrastructure and higher property values.
Weitere tourist attractions in Umhlanga include the Umhlanga Country Club and The Mount Edgecombe Country Club near Mount Edgecombe.