The South coast, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

The South coast region in KwaZulu Natal stretches south of Durban to Port Edward,a perfect destination for all that seek quality of life in a secure, unspoiled and friendly environment.

The South coast region in KwaZulu Natal stretches south of Durban to Port Edward. The pristine golden sandy beaches are lined by coastal forests and subtropical vegetation.

The water is clean and clear and some of the beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag Label, an international reward for excellent water quality, safety, service and ecological responsibility.

Amanzimtoti Beach

The climate

The climate is subtropical with summer temperatures often rising above 30 degrees, with precipitation particularly during December, January and February. Winters are mild to warm with temperatures averaging over 20 degrees and the probability of rain is low. Swimming is good in the Indian Ocean throughout the year.


Just 24 km south of Durban the part residential/part industrial Umbogintwini came into its own with the construction of an explosives factory on the banks of the Mbokodweni River in 1909. Today’s urban sprawl has linked it inextricably to the town of Amanzimtoti.


After the start of the construction of the South coast railway line from Durban in 1895 the town of Amanzimtoti evolved around the railway siding on the bank of the Manzimtoti River.


Named after its pleasing sweet water by the Zulu King, Shaka. Legend has it that when Shaka tasted the water in 1828, he said 'Kanti amanza mtoti', meaning 'So, the water is sweet'


Named in memory of Dick King, who passed away in 1842 on his famous 1000 kilometer ride to Grahamstown, Kingsburgh is a town made up of several smaller holiday resorts, namely, Karridene, Warner Beach, Winkelspruit, Doonside and Illovo - a total of 8km of beaches.


During the First World War a Rand mining magnate, Walter Karri-Davis, built a curative centre among the trees on a long ridge overlooking the Indian Ocean. It was for mine workers suffering from phthisis, a respiratory ailment caused by inhalation of rock dust.

Warner Beach

So named because in 1910 P A Warner, the then government surveyor, was sent here to survey an area planned for the settlement of pensioners. Quite prophetic in a way for the KwaZulu Natal South coast, like Florida with its warm climate, has become a real pensioner’s paradise.


In 1875 a schooner, Tonga foundered off the coast bound for Durban. A store was quickly erected to sell the salvaged goods. One theory is that the name was derived from the Afrikaans ‘Shop on the Stream’. Another theory says that it is from periwinkle which is found here.


The name originated when a railway siding was built close to a house named Lorna Doone, after the heroine of the famous novel by R D Blackmore.

Illovo Beach

The river named by the Zulus iLovu (now corrupted to Lovu), because of the mlovo trees growing on its banks, flows into a spacious lagoon. There is a beach overlooked by a long ridge covered with tall trees, creepers and flowering plants. Illovo Beach’s recorded history stretches back to about 1860 when MacDougal’s riverside store was a welcome watering hole for passing travelers. Then, with the increase of traffic, a Mr Pearce opened an inn on the southern bank in 1862 and it was his son, William, who eventually started the Illovo Sugar Mill in the year 1890.


The uMgababa River (the place of jealousy) enters the ocean at Umgababa. The name is derived from an ancient feud between the Luthuli tribe who used to live in the valley.
There is a large tourist stall in this area on the old main road and at the Shell Ultra City petrol station on the freeway. The stalls display beadwork, grass work, carvings, mats and fruit.


Named ‘South Barrow’ until 1924, was formed when a harbour was built in1861, to export sugar, on the mouth of the navigable Mkhomazi River. Umkomaas takes its name from the mighty river. Large number of whales once used the estuary as a nursery, giving birth in the shallows. The Zulus named the river after this spectacle (uMkhomazi means the place of cow whales).Its also the launch venue of one of the top ten dive sites in the World, The Aliwal Shoal.


The Mpanbonyoni River, was named by King Shaka. It is said that while resting on its bank with a regiment of soldiers, Shaka was fascinated by the myriad of birds nesting among the reeds and, wondering how each pair could possibly find its nest, he coined the name Mpanbonyoni which translates into ‘the confuser of birds’. During 1860, Scottburgh was the first town to be laid out south of Durban and was named after Sir John Scott, the Lieutenant-Governor of Natal.

Port Shepstone

Port Shepstone, situated on the mouth of the largest river on the South coast, was founded in 1867 when marble was discovered nearby and is named after Sir Theophilus Shepstone of the Natal government of the 1880s. William Bazley built a harbour and the first coaster entered the harbour on the 8th May 1880. In 1882 a party of 246 Norwegian immigrants settled here and played a large part in the development of the area. The 27,000 candela lighthouse still stands at the mouth of the Mzimkulu River (the great home of all rivers).

Illovo Sugar Ltd

Today, Illovo Sugar Ltd is a leading, global, low cost sugar producer operating five sugar mills in South Africa, two of which have refineries and three have packaging plants. It has four cane growing estates, and produces a variety of high-value downstream products, which include the manufacture of syrup, furfural, furfuryl alcohol, diacetyl, acetoin, 2.3-Pentanedione, ethyl alcohol, lactulose and dextran.

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Hyperolius Pickersgilli (Pickersgill’s Reed Frog)

Hyperolius Pickersgilli (Pickersgill’s Reed Frog)

Hyperolius Pickersgilli (Pickersgill’s Reed Frog) - this species is endemic to the coast of KwaZulu Natal, ranging from Kingsburgh in the south to Bonamanzi Game Park in the north.

It occurs close to sea level. The males small (to 22 mm), females to 29 mm. Ph. J light to dark brown with a dark-edged silverish canthal and dorsolateral stripe, sometimes brown with dark spots and with a light spot on the heel, thus almost indistinguishable from H. mitchelli from further north. Ph F, dorsum brilliant green separated from the light yellow to white ventrum by a distinctive irregular margin.

Sometimes with a light lateral line. Ventrum off-white and smooth, concealed surfaces of limbs, feet and digits pale or colorless.

Voice - Males call from elevated positions in dense vegetation, often Cyprus, and remain well-concealed. The voice is a very soft cricket-like chirp repeated at irregular intervals with a frequency-intensity maximum at 3000 cps. The eggs are apparently placed above water. The jelly is clear and the eggs have a brown and white pole. Tooth formula of tadpole 1/1+1,2.

This account was taken from ‘Tree frogs of Africa’ by Arne Schiotz with kind permission from AmphibiaWeb.

Annual sightings , the 'Sardine run'

Each year massive shoals of pilchards migrate from the Cape originating from their breeding spot in Antarctica. Nearing KwaZulu Natal, they begin to hug the coastline, the sea currents bring them ever closer to shore. Following the millions of pilchards all the way down the coast are plenty of bird life, dolphins, sharks and whales. This migration is recognized as a unique occurrence to be seen nowhere else in the world, making it an unforgettable experience not to be missed. June/July heralds the start of this famous Sardine Run. Make sure you don’t miss out on the whale and dolphin sightings all along the South coast which are a daily occurrence during autumn and spring!

Bird watching and fishing

With its diverse range of habitats, the KwaZulu Natal South coast promises bird watchers an exciting time. The region's numerous beaches, estuaries, lagoons, wetlands, coastal forest, river ravines, gorges and open grassland present birders with the opportunity to discover any of the 386 resident species – a full one third of all recorded southern African species.

Our crowd free beach stretches over 2,5km between the Illovo River and the Umsimbazi River (Karridene), which boasts unique dune vegetation and provides excellent fishing for Garrick, Shad, Grunter, Stumpnose and a variety of other fish. Don’t be fooled into thinking the beach is only about sunshine, sand and marine life…For the nature lovers, there is an abundant species of bird life including Osprey, Fish Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Yellow-Billed Kite and Kingfisher species.

La Mer

La Mer has its very own resident Yellow-Billed Kite (Hawk) and juvenile Fish Eagles, nesting in amongst the Silver Leaf along our boundary. Feeding time is a splendid sight!
Small game such as the Blue Duiker, Mongoose and Grey Monkey can also be spotted.
Lifeguards monitor the beach at certain resorts in season and are very accessible with the closest being 795m away from La Mer

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Lagoon at night

Lagoon at night

Illovo Beach

Illovo Beach

The Lagoon

The lagoon