I had left it late. In my twenty fifth year of travels to KwaZulu Natal I had finally got around to spending a few days in Umhlanga Rocks. Why had I left it so long before booking a stay here? Thinking about it, I have no idea, but here I was.
The Anchors Rest Guest House made the perfect base for me and owners Cilla Rose & Peter made excellent hosts. My room was ideal, separate from the main building, laid out and furnished very nicely, and opening up through French doors onto the garden. The interior contained a kitchen, tea & coffee making facilities, large en-suite bathroom, a couch and one of the most comfortable beds I have slept in. Beyond the doors on my personal patio was an outdoor table and chairs plus two sun-beds. Even in mid winter it was warm enough to relax on a sunbed and enjoy the warm subtropical sunshine.
The main building is stylish with an Italian feel. When I commented on this to Peter he told me they had worked with an Italian architect on alterations made to the building and interior in the early days of the guest house. The bar seemed like an ideal place to chat with both Peter and Cilla and enjoy a cold beer at the same time. I learnt a lot about the ‘village of Umhlanga’. The name Umhlanga itself means place of reeds. Not too many reeds these days as there has been a huge amount of development and new apartment blocks and hotels are still going up. The conversation turned to food and drink, restaurants and bars, and my hosts certainly knew what to eat and where. On the subject of eating, the breakfast at Anchors Rest was a feast and the presentation of the food was just out scored by the flavours.
The guest house is situated in the village and only a very short walk from the centre and then the beach beyond. I strolled along the Ken O’Conner Promenade to the iconic lighthouse and modern pier, the latter designed to resemble whale bones. The pier seemed to be a magnet for visitors taking selfies. Families were taking advantage of the warm winter sun and enjoying the beach. There were also swimmers, paddlers and plenty of fishermen casting their lines from the rocks. Early mornings and late afternoons runners, joggers and power walkers were out in force on the promenade.
There is a huge choice of restaurants and bars in what is a vibrant village. You can probably eat your way around the world here. Traditional South African steaks and seafood are accompanied by Spanish Tapas, Greek Souvalaki along with a mix of Asian flavours from Thai to Chinese. I had done my research in advance and wanted to see if Umhlanga Rocks could compare to Durban for its Indian food. I am big fan of curries so picked out a couple of places to try. I ate at ‘Masala Masala’ and was not disappointed in my combination of Durban mutton curry & chicken curry served with roti’s and several accompaniments. My other choice was ‘Rock Bunny’, a specialist bunny chow bar. And again, no disappointment in my spicy hot curry served in a scooped out soft white loaf. Another highlight was ‘The George’ pub which felt like home from home with its mixture of draft and craft beer choices.
So after twenty four years I had finally spent a few days in the coastal village of Umhlanga Rocks. I was not disappointed in any aspect and will be highly recommending Umhlanga Rocks as a top destination for visitors, tourists and holiday makers alike.