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The verdant village of Pennington on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal is blessed with a gorgeous sloping beach that backs up against a coastal forest. The area has a number of elegant homes and two of the province’s best golf courses are situated on the village outskirts.
Much of Pennington was once owned by a sugar baron who conserved a large tract of land and left it in trust for the public to enjoy. The area is called Umdoni Park. He had a great admiration for the Union of South Africa’s Prime Minister at the time, General Louis Botha, and built a mansion for him. The house, known as Botha House, was later to become a holiday retreat for South African leaders.
South Africans living away from the coast travel to Pennington during the school holidays to enjoy a restful beach vacation. But Pennington has a lot more to offer: whether you are seeking a seaside holiday, a golfing sojourn, a discovery of nature’s rare offerings, a honeymoon destination, surfing/fishing road trip or just to get away from it all, Pennington ticks all the boxes.
Top 6 reasons to visit Pennington
1. Enjoy the sunshine, the unforgettable feeling of soft sand through the toes and salt coating your skin after a warm swim in the Indian Ocean at Pennington Beach. The beach has a tidal pool for children to safely explore.
2. Fishing north of the Pennington swimming beach is popular for shad and garrick, while Umdoni Point in the south has deeper waters frequented by sharks. Hire a rod and collect bait from the kiosk at the nearby caravan park.
3. For the adventure of a lifetime, take a shark diving trip offered by The Shark Diving Company, where you are given detailed instructions and equipment to prepare you for a 1-hour open dive with dusky and black-tipped sharks.
4. Two highly rated 18-hole golf courses, Selbourne Park Golf Estate and Umdoni Park Golf Course, are located in Pennington. At Umdoni, golfers must contend with a major distraction caused by the magnificent sea views along the fairways.
5. Take an exciting tour of a craft beer brewery at Basset Breweries in Pennington. The tours include a tasting and are conducted over weekends, twice daily. After the tour, sample the unusually labelled Befreckled Red or Pennington Pride supplied on tap at the brewery’s Range Bar.
6. The great Sardine Run passes Pennington Beach in the winter months. Huge shoals of sardines migrating along the coast are forced together, herded by dolphins, as birds, sharks, seals and game fish feast on the ball of sardines. The beaches are crowded with locals entering the sea in their bid to collect a share of the spoils.
The nearest international airport is Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, 100km from Pennington. Several car rental agencies are based at nearby Scottburgh, the airport and Durban city centre, or you could order a vehicle online. There are a few taxi companies operating in Scottburgh for transport in and around Pennington.
Did you know?
One of the first farm owners, Richard Pennington, after which the village is named, was fatally mauled by a leopard in 1865. Back then, leopards were regarded as ‘noxious’ animals and the government offered a £1 reward for every leopard kill. The last leopard in KwaZulu-Natal was killed in the Umzumbe district in 1921.
Botha House, built for General Louis Botha, was never occupied by him, as he died before the house was completed in 1920. His wife Annie lived there until her death in 1937. This gracious old home is now a luxury guest house and wedding venue.