IntroductionThis coastal suburb of Durban is around 30 minutes north of the city center, and its Zulu name means "Place of Reeds," in reference to years gone by when reeds were washed down to the beach by the Ohlanga River. In the 19th century, local farmers leased small plots on the beach to build holiday cottages—the first of which was built in 1869 and called the Oyster Box (today the site of the five-star Oyster Box Hotel). Umhlanga remains a popular, upmarket seaside resort and has beautiful, protected swimming beaches. It also has numerous restaurants and pavement cafes, and the mega Gateway Shopping Theatre. The Umhlanga Lagoon lies just to the north of town at the end of the promenade, where the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve (open 6 am-6 pm; free) has 2.5 mi/4 km of walking trails through coastal forest and dunes. Also on the promenade, you won't miss the large red-and-white Umhlanga Lighthouse, which was completed in 1954 and is still in use today. Information can be found at Umhlanga Tourism. Open Monday-Friday 8 am-4:30 pm, Saturday 9 am-noon. Chartwell Centre, Umhlanga Drive, Umhlanga. Phone 031-561-4257. http://www.umhlanga-rocks.com.
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