KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsThe Dolphin Coast
KwaZulu Natal’s north coast has become known as the Dolphin Coast, due to frequent sightings of bottlenose dolphins who ride the waves of the Indian Ocean in large frolicking schools.
It is an enviable strip of coastline that stretches from the Tongaat River at Zimbali to Zinkwazi Beach and the Tugela River mouth in the north, including the inland areas of Umhlali and Shakaskraal.
The Dolphin Coast is a beautiful playground of warm waters, incredible waves, and glorious beaches set alongside fields of sugarcane in a part of the world endowed with humid and warm weather almost throughout the year. Pretty coastal holiday towns like Ballito, Salt Rock, Umdloti and Zinkwazi bask in effortless sunshine-filled days with perfect swimming and surfing conditions, and a collection of tidal pools and excellent fishing spots.
The north coast of the KwaZulu Natal Province is not short of other little towns worth visiting either – perhaps not as well known as the Ballitos of this world, Princes Grant, Tinley Manor and Umhlali are nonetheless quaint and pretty, with beaches to match.
Attractions abound on the north coast and one can visit Shaka’s grave at Kwa-Dukuza, take a ‘muti’ trail through the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve, which includes picnic sites, or visit the historic battle sites of Ultimatum Tree or Fort Pearson. Golf courses at Umhlali Country club and Princes Grant golf estate add further appeal, whilst simply the welcome idleness and access to lazy beach-filled days is why the Dolphin Coast is one of the province’s main attractions.
Popular Towns in the Dolphin Coast
Overnight? Accommodation in Ballito
In the heart of the Dolphin Coast, Ballito lies nestled between the fields of KwaZulu Natals famous Green Gold and is flanked to the east by golden beaches and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The waters off Ballito's Beach are the...
More information and photographs: Ballito Information
Stay? Accommodation Blythedale Beach
Just north of Tinley Manor, some 72 kilometres outside of Durban, Blythedale Beach is one of those unspoilt havens of white sand and beautiful, warm sea that resides amongst the subtropical vegetation so prominent in the area...
More information and photographs: Blythedale Beach Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Darnall
Darnall has largely managed to stay 'off the map' in the sense that you can snap up property here for next to nothing still, a situation I would not imagine will remain long, given that Darnall is so close to the growing in popularity northern...
More information and photographs: Darnall Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Kearsney
To some of us 'Kearsney' immediately brings to mind the boys school up on Botha's Hill. And well it might as Kearsney manor, a beautiful old estate just outside KwaDukuza, was the original Kearsney College before the boys were moved. Kearsney...
More information and photographs: Kearsney Information
Overnight? Accommodation in La Mercy
La Mercy, a secluded little village on the southern edge of the Dolphin Coast, is set just south of Ballito and roughly 25 kilometres north of Durban. It is a coastal conservancy that, together with Umdloti, is also one of the best beaches...
More information and photographs: La Mercy Information
Stay? Accommodation in Princes Grant
Before the arrival of the much touted Prince’s Grant golf estate, the little enclave of Prince’s Grant was one of those relatively unknown idylls that idled away in subtropical splendour, known only to those who ventured up this part of the...
More information and photographs: Princes Grant Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Salt Rock
Once the home of Shaka, King of the Zulus, whose maidens used to come here to collect salt to trade with and to use in the king’s household, Salt Rock is, figuratively speaking, just up the road from Ballito. When surfers aren’t riding the...
More information and photographs: Salt Rock Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Shakas Rock
Named after a rocky outcrop of the north coast believed to have been used by Shaka, the great Zulu chief, as a lookout, Shaka’s or Chaka’s Rock - depending to whom you are speaking - is today a small residential village and a wonderfully graceful...
More information and photographs: Shakas Rock Information
Stay? Accommodation Sheffield Beach
Just north of Salt Rock and virtually ten minutes from Ballito, is the beautiful beach of Sheffield with its sheltered coves and wonderful rock pools that invite little people to spend hours collecting shells and admiring sea anemones...
More information and photographs: Sheffield Beach Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Stanger
KwaDukuza-Stanger lies inland from Blythedale in the midst of sugarcane fields, its streets lined with Jacarandas, home to King Shaka’s memorial monument and part, not only of the Zulu Heritage Route, but the proposed Sugar Route as well...
More information and photographs: Stanger Information
Stay? Accommodation in Thompson Bay
Thompson Bay is a sheltered little inlet that is nestled between Chaka’s Rock and Ballito. Because it is somewhat protected from the elements, it is ideal for fishermen, as well as friends and families that want to spend the day swimming in...
More information and photographs: Thompson Bay Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Tinley Manor
Tinley Manor is one of the few places that has yet to feel the push of development and still regarded as an area with ‘growth potential’ by property gurus. Tinley Manor’s southern boundary is graced with a long lagoon that opens into the...
More information and photographs: Tinley Manor Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Tongaat
Tongaat is also the oldest Indian community in South Africa. During the 1860s indentured Indian labourers arrived to work in the sugar plantations. The town is now one of the largest sugar-producing districts in the world, and the Hindu...
More information and photographs: Tongaat Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Tugela
The Tugela is KwaZulu-Natal's largest river. Its source is in the Drakensberg Mountains, whereafter it travels some 500 kilometres, via the 947 metre plunge of the Tugela Falls, through the Natal Midlands and on, until it reaches the Indian...
More information and photographs: Tugela Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Umhlali
The quaint little sugar farming village of Umhlali is found on the banks of the river of the same name, where in times gone by settlers and locals would sit a while before venturing across - hence it’s name which means 'the place of waiting'...
More information and photographs: Umhlali Information
Umvoti River Mouth
Stay? Accommodation Umvoti River Mouth
Drive up the north coast from Durban to Blythdale Beach, park at the ski-boat launch and you can stroll from there, a little further south to find the Umvoti River Mouth. It is a protected estuary about which people know little, other than...
More information and photographs: Umvoti River Mouth Information
Stay? Accommodation Westbrook Beach
The little seaside town that has sprung up around the beach, just south of Tongaat, is fairly modern, and a drive along North Beach Road that runs between the sea and the ridge of residences reveals mostly modern apartment buildings and...
More information and photographs: Westbrook Beach Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Zimbali
Just 20 minutes’ drive from Durban and 65 kilometres from the airport, Zimbali is 925 acres of tropical coastal estate that manages to combine a residential and resort estate - the Zimbali Coastal Forest Estate and the Zimbali Golf Course...
More information and photographs: Zimbali Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Zinkwazi
Zinkwazi, which takes its name from the Zulu word for white-headed fish eagle, is a small village with an unexploited 7 kilometre lagoon that lies amongst lush sub-tropical vegetation that is typical of the north coast of KwaZulu Natal...
More information and photographs: Zinkwazi Information