That’s according to former mayor of Umhlanga Rocks, Henry Reynolds who has kept a keen eye on the villages development over the years.
A solitary beach cottage, The Oyster box, was used by passing ships as a navigational point and was built out of Burmese teak, corrugated iron and reinforced concrete.
Today Umhlanga Rocks is one of South Africa’s premier holiday destinations. A number of beds await holidaymakers, with restaurants, movies, malls, pubs, clubs, amazing beachfronts and amazing tourist attractions eagerly waiting for the areas many visitors.
But not only is Umhlanga a tourists heaven, it’s also a sportsman’s paradise. Surfing, swimming, scuba diving, fishing, sailing and running are just a handful of sporting activities within the area. That’s not even talking about the many world-class sports’ clubs in the greater Umhlanga area.
“Originally part of the canelands owned by the Natal Estates Limited, which was based in Mount Edgecombe, and founded by Sir Marshall Campbell in 1885, Umhlanga Rocks was a paradise for a few farmers who either leased or had consessions on the beach.
“Oysters and mussles crowded the rocks, the crayfish abounded and stumpies, Garrick, snoek, shad, barracuda were plentiful, “Reynolds said. Many rocky outcrops along the shore provide safe splash bathing for children, while the sea is a surfer’s joy.
In 1860 a French Mauritian, Melidor Cheron, bought a cane farm along the coast, known today as Glenashley. The farm was named after his daughter, Virginia, and part of the farm is where Virginia Airport is today.
It is believed that Virginia Cheron had an amazing voice and was locally dubbed the Nightingale of Natal. Having being married three times, Virginia and her third husband, an Irishman, Ancrum Marcus McCausland built the then Victoria Hotel in 1920.
The second article on Umhlanga will be forwarded later this month.