The burgeoning village of Umtentweni lies on the south coast of the KwaZulu-Natal Province in an area billed the Strelizia Coast for the vast number of wild bananas found here. Plenty of greenery surrounds the town which is fast becoming a sought after holiday destination. Umtentweni is flanked by two large rivers that drain out into the warm Indian Ocean.
The village is named after a type of grass that grows on the river banks and was only recently developed. Umtentweni beach is easily reached with a rock pool for children to explore and lifeguards on duty during the holiday periods. All amenities are nearby, tropical fruit is available direct from farms inland and restaurants offer freshly caught fish.
Umtentweni has a relaxed feel and the residents are welcoming. Many South Africans spend their annual summer holidays here, relishing the serenity and perfect climate to enjoy the surf. The town’s long stretch of beach is appreciated by swimmers, surfers and anglers too and there is a lovely elevated boardwalk to watch marine life.
Top 6 reasons to visit Umtentweni
1. Spend your days reclining on the magnificent beach and swimming in the warm ocean. There is a grassed area for braais (barbeques) and a whale deck for sightings of passing whales and dolphins. It’s also a great location to watch the sardine run in the winter months.
2. Surfers visit Umtentweni beach to ride the long uniform waves that can reach 2.5m in height. Hire a board in town and get surfing!
3. Angling is a popular pastime in Umtentweni where visitors can try surf fishing off the beach, catch freshwater fish on the river and charter a boat for deep sea game fishing. There’s even an opportunity to try kayak fishing!
4. Face off with the fearsome tiger shark in the waters around Aliwal Shoal reef. Experienced dive operators offer diving trips to the reef and the chance to encounter the tiger and other sharks up close.
5. Take a break from all the water-related activities and head for the South Coast Mall at Shelley Beach. The mall has a number of large retail outlets and 8 eateries. Limber up with a massage at the beauty salon in the mall.
6. Travel to Oribi Gorge to attempt the world’s highest swing. The swing plummets 165m from the top of Lehr’s waterfall into the gorge below. The area is scenic, however, we doubt this will be on your mind during the swing.
The nearest airport is King Shaka International Airport, 150km from Umtentweni. Margate has a small airport for chartered flights, 22km away. A few car rental agencies are based in Port Shepstone and at King Shaka airport to hire a vehicle, or you could order a rental online. Metered taxi companies are located in Port Shepstone. Margate Coach & Shuttle Services operate a daily shuttle between King Shaka Airport and Margate that passes Umtentweni.
Did you know?
The heroic 10 day ride undertaken by Dick King and his 16-year old servant Ndongeni in 1842 to appeal for British reinforcements to repel Boer forces in Natal is well-documented in our history. Although the teenager Ndongeni only managed to accompany King for 5 days, he rode bareback before returning home exhausted. Ndongeni is buried a few kilometres outside Umtentweni.
There are several Blue Flag appointed beaches around Umtentweni, as well as a host of top golf courses. Umtentweni is also a short drive from the resort town of Margate.