Coast KZN

18 Apr 2023

Easter weekend brings waves of holidaymakers to uMhlanga

(Northglen News) Picture: Visitors and beachgoers enjoy the autumn sun on uMhlanga Main Beach on April 13

Umhlanga’s beaches were transformed during the Easter weekend as thousands of visitors and locals flocked to its shores.

Last week marked exactly a year since the devastating floods in the province that damaged millions of rands worth of sewerage infrastructure across eThekwini, resulting in the pollution of most of the City’s beaches and rivers.

In uMhlanga in particular, there was substantial damage to the sewerage network affecting the Ohlanga Sewerage Pump Station (Blackburn), prompting the closure of two of its swimming beaches, Bronze and Main, due to high E. coli levels. In fact, the floods led to the closure of uMhlanga’s beaches for more than 250 days last year.

A year on, however, and there has been a complete turnaround, both in terms of water quality safety and visitor numbers. Chairperson of Umhlanga Tourism Duncan Heafield said he was buoyed by the influx of visitors to uMhlanga over Easter.

“All the businesses along the promenade and in the village were at capacity during the long weekend. The occupancy rates also improved at the hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area. It was also encouraging to see how many people were able to swim at uMhlanga’s beaches again. Since last year, there has been a lot more transparency from the City, certainly in terms of publishing water quality results. There are also more people testing the water which is another way of promoting openness.

“Beaches are a major tourist attraction in uMhlanga, especially over the Easter weekend, and as local businesses in the hospitality industry, we were determined to make the most of the long weekend, come rain or shine. I do feel many of the tourists who travelled down to the coast from other provinces see that you cannot get a better, more cost-effective holiday experience than by coming to the coast,” he said.