Umgababa, South Coast

The little coastal town of Umgababa lies roughly 36 kilometres south of Durban, just south of Illovo Beach and north of Umkomaas, in the same stretch of coastline as Amanzimtoti.

At first glance Umgababa is little more than a rural town with a smattering of little houses, nothing untoward, nothing fancy - reminiscent, in a way, of much of the south coast way back in the 1980s. Umgababa is, in fact, something of a legacy of the apartheid area, set aside as a beach for black South Africans during the time when there was very obvious segregation and the country was cut up into blocks of 'white only', 'black only' areas.

A fire during the late 1980s put paid to Umgababa as a very popular beach resort to which hundreds, if not thousands, of people would flock during the holiday season. But that has not stopped locals from trying to revive the town. Now on the first day of every year there is a a Umgababa Festival at the holiday resort site in an attempt to attract visitors back here.

It is not the only development. The train station has received something of a facelift and now includes a taxi rank and a range of new government homes to replace those destroyed, with the help of a Habitat for Humanity project, has transformed the landscape. There has also been a R25 million project to rejuvenate the beach area, making the virtually unspoilt beach more accessible to visitors and residents alike.

This is one of the main advantages to staying here - the remoteness and the seriously unspoilt beauty of the little town.

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