The first beach cottage, the Oyster Box, was built at Umhlanga Rocks in 1869 and has become the present day Oyster Box Hotel. The tin roof of this cottage was used as a navigational beacon until 1953 when the automatic lighthouse was built. By 1931 Umhlanga Rocks had become a village with additional hotels, guest houses, cottages and stores being built. The first hotel, the Victoria, has since been rebuilt and renamed as the Umhlanga Rocks Hotel.
The warm sub-tropical climate of the Umhlanga area makes this area a popular holiday destination. Sea temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees in winter which allows for year round swimming and surfing without the need of a wetsuit.
Overlooking what is affectionately referred to as the village of Umhlanga is Umhlanga Ridge, the new town centre. This bustling centre has seen phenomenal growth over recent years. Umhlanga Ridge has not evolved in the traditional organic way that towns generally do. Umhlanga Ridge is a prime example of town planning planned to perfection. The entire Umhlanga Ridge area, once endless rippling sugar cane fields, was devised from scratch as a single entity.
With strict development guidelines investors are safe in the knowledge that other developments in the area will not adversely affect theirs. Some of the completed developments to date include the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, La Lucia Office Park (a gated office estate), the Crescent lifestyle centre and the Umhlanga Hospital and Medical Centre to name but a few.
Umhlanga Ridge has easy access to a network of major roads including the N2 which allows easy access to Durban to the south and Ballito to the north. This easy access to Durban to the south and Ballito to the north. This easy access to the port, Durban International Airport and soon the King Shaka International Airport has been a massive advantage to many of the businesses located at Umhlanga Ridge.