The Dolphin Coast Region, KwaZulu Natal

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.

Did you know? Once you've booked your hotel or Dolphin Coast accommodation, explore the suburbs and destination pages below for info on all the attractions, activities and things to do in the Dolphin Coast.

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.

Did you know? The tidal pool at Salt Rock, just north of the beach and directly opposite the campsite, is a delight and perfect for first-time snorkellers and children. It is very safe, calm and easy to access.

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.

Find accommodation on the Dolphin Coast

South Africa Accommodation / KwaZulu Natal Accommodation / Dolphin Coast Accommodation

Destinations in the Dolphin Coast Region


Overnight? Ballito accommodation
With so many B&Bs, guesthouses and options for accommodation in Ballito, this is a favourite for the traveller to South African. It is situated along the Dolphin Coast, nestled among the fields of KwaZulu-Natal, and flanked to the east by golden beaches a...

Blythedale Beach

Overnight? Blythedale Beach accommodation
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. What makes Blythedale Be...


Overnight? Darnall accommodation
Just inland from Zinkwazi beach, between the seaside village of Blythedale Beach and the Tugela River mouth, lies Darnall - a small sugarcane village close to Nkwazi. Darnall has largely managed to stay 'off the map' in the sense that you can snap up...


Overnight? Kearsney accommodation
Kearsney lies just outside Stanger, now known as KwaDukuza (locals called it Dukuza long before the official name change), just inland of Durban's north coast. To some of us 'Kearsney' immediately brings to mind the boys school up on Botha's Hill. And ...

La Mercy

Overnight? La Mercy accommodation
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. La Mercy is a coastal conservancy that, together with Umdloti, is also one of the best places from which...

Princes Grant

Overnight? Princes Grant accommodation
Prince’s Grant lies on the scenic Dolphin coast about 75 kilometres north of Durban close to Blythedale Beach. 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 i...

Salt Rock

Overnight? Salt Rock accommodation
Booking accommodation in Salt Rock means enjoying the charm of this seaside village on the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, just 30 minutes from the metropolis of Durban. This picturesque beach getaway is ideal for a family holiday in South Africa that is the ult...

Shakas Rock

Overnight? Shakas Rock accommodation
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 stretch ...

Sheffield Beach

Overnight? Sheffield Beach accommodation
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. Renowned as one...


Overnight? Stanger accommodation
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. KwaDukuza-St...

Thompson Bay

The province of KwaZulu-Natal continues to be the destination of choice for those that love the extensive, beautiful coastline of South Africa. The warm Indian Ocean waters are inviting and the waves are excellent for surfers who want to while away their ...

Tinley Manor

Overnight? Tinley Manor accommodation
Just 15 minutes’ drive north of Ballito, via Salt Rock, Sheffield Beach and Umhlali, lies the hamlet of Tinley Manor, reputed to have some of the most magnificent sea views and glorious beaches, and regarded as the closest beach to Johannesburg. Tinle...


Overnight? Tongaat accommodation
Mention the name ‘Tongaat’ and the next word on the average South African’s lips is ‘sugar’ and indeed, Tongaat is a sugar-producing town with a quintessentially English colonial flavour that lies on the banks of the Tongati River, about 37 kilometres nor...


Overnight? Tugela accommodation
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 Ocean north of...


Overnight? Umdloti accommodation
Umdloti is the ideal place to unwind and enjoy the sunshine, beaches, rock pools and sea. There are a number of activities for the more energetic - the inshore reefs provide plentiful excitement for anglers, (surf, rock and ski boat) and for divers and wa...


Overnight? Umhlali accommodation
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’. Umhlali l...

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 local fishermen...


Overnight? Westbrook accommodation
Pretty Westbrook, lying between La Mercy and Ballito on the north coast roughly a half hour's drive from Umhlanga, is a pretty beachside resort with a wonderful swimming beach and sands that stretch for miles. The little seaside town that has sprung up...


Overnight? Zimbali accommodation
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 Estate - in a tr...


Overnight? Zinkwazi accommodation
Finding a place to stay in Zinkwazi is an excellent option for locals and tourists in South Africa that want to enjoy the tranquillity of a KwaZulu-Natal village. Zinkwazi, which takes its name from the Zulu word for white-headed fish eagle, is a small vi...

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