Discovering Something New
Just north of Durban is a place with 2 names: Dolphin Coast and Sugar Coast. The waters are home to bottlenose dolphins and the land is rich and fertile with sugar plantations everywhere. Dolphin Coast is not part of the mainstream tourist route because it not visible from the main highway. However, if one passes further down the coastal roads past the popular resorts and beaches, it would be impossible to miss the delightful sights of the dolphins, pristine beaches, and rolling hills of the Sugar Coast. Indeed, once visited, you may be inclined to check out the houses for sale in Pietermaritzburg!
Dolphin Coast is only 30 minutes away from Durban proper in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is labeled as a “small coastal village” that stretches from Tongaat River to Umhali River for about 10 kilometers. You will pass through at least 3 beaches if you travel down the length of Dolphin Coast.
History of Dolphin Coast
The history of Dolphin Coast is a confusing mix of migration by Indians, as being part of the great Zulu nation, and ending up as the sugar capital of South Africa. Since sugar originally came from Polynesia and then to India before being discovered by the European traders in 325 BC, it isn’t surprising that when the Europeans arrived in the Dolphin Coast and saw the land and the Indian immigrants, sugar was the crop they decided to plant. At that time, sugar was also considered as an expensive spice. The first sugar cane was planted in Dolphin Coast by Edmund Morewood who also established the first sugar mill. When mining became popular in other areas of South Africa, a shortage of workers was solved by bringing in more Indians to work the land. By 1887, Dolphin Coast and the surrounding areas were producing up to 2 tons a day from 74 sugar mills. This was the peak of the sugar industry in the area. By the 1900s, the number of sugar mills decreased although there were still 2,600 hectares of land used to plant sugar cane with a production output of 16,000 tons a year. As of 2008, sugar production has increased to 2.3 million tons annually by just 14 sugar mills covering 423,000 hectares of land.
In fact, there are a number of sugar barons in Sugar Coast who have helped create a community of upscale exclusive amenities like golf clubs, private beaches, and grand estates. One legend about the Dolphin Coast that refuses to die is that decades ago, the place was the execution spot of criminals by the king of Zulu. Their style of execution was to throw them to the sea as food for the sharks and other predator fishes.
Dolphin Coast Today
Aside from the luxurious entertainment and leisure activities in the area, there is an abundance of seaside resorts, B&B, animal farms, cultural villages, nature reserves, and historical sites.
The Dolphin Coast is made up of the following attractions:
Ballito – This is the center of the coast and borders the sugar cane fields and the beaches. The village is provincial, welcoming and equipped with all the modern amenities someone from the big cities would expect.
Shaka’s Rock – A perfect beach to stop by with its own tidal pool
Umhali – Visit the Sugar Village with theme buildings resembling pre-war time
KwaDukuza Stanger – This town is where you will find the memorial to King Shaka
Other places to visit are Zinkwazi, Chakas Rock, the home and gravesite of Chief Albert Luthuli, Sheffield Beach, Dukuza Museum, Salt Rock, and Blythedale.