We are nearing the end of another topsy turvy year – and most of us are ready to take a break. Normally December holidays are carefully planned out and booked months in advance. But this might be another thing Covid has changed. We’ve all become skittish about making long term plans… who knows when the next lockdown might hit. So if you are staring down the barrel of a December at home – it’s not too late! You can still have an insta worthy vacay – and we’ll show you how.
Why holiday in Umhlanga
If you are planning a last-minute getaway – travel time has to be taken into account. You probably don’t have the time or patience left for a long dusty drive. KwaZulu-Natal is perfect for a zippy travel time. By plane, it’s just over an hour from Joburg to Durban – and if you decide to drive – a reasonable 6 hours through gorgeous landscapes is all it takes (from Johannesburg). While travel time is a big consideration the following might also convince you – lush subtropical landscapes, long pristine beaches, a warm and inviting ocean and varied, exciting activities to enjoy. Convinced yet?
Where to stay in Umhlanga
First things first, stop stalling and book your accommodation now. In this case, holding out might have even worked in your favour. With most countries suddenly closing their borders – and restricting travel to South Africa, venues lost a lot of bookings. Unlike other years around this time – there is still accommodation available at the coast – and if you are lucky you might even score a great deal. Take The North Star for example – normally our gorgeous sea fronting suites would be full of overseas guests – but now you can still grab a spot for December if you act quick.
What to do in Umhlanga
Where do we even start! The area is full of fun activities, gorgeous nature and great places to explore. If your last minute break is on the short side and you want to pack as much in as possible – here are our top five things to do in Umhlanga:
Oh sorry – you thought this was going to be a frantic do-as-much-as-you-can kind of a list? No – it is enough of a rush to plan and get there. Once you arrive please try your best to relax. Sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, stare at the ocean, take a nap, stare at the ocean again but with a sundowner in hand. You’ve worked hard this year, give your mind and body time to recover.
2. Umhlanga Lighthouse and Whalebone Pier
Fine, fine – apparently you can’t sit still for that long. How about a relaxing stroll along the Umhlanga promenade to take in the iconic lighthouse and Whalebone Pier. The lighthouse was constructed in 1954 and is fully automatic. The Whalebone Pier has won engineering awards and is a must-visit in Umhlanga.
Another relaxing activity is a walk through the verdant Umgeni River Bird Park. With more than 800 birds and 200 species – this is your chance to see some rare and exotic birds up close. The park covers 3.5 hectares of lush tropical landscaping and is perfect for a laid back outing.
4. Have a Beach Day
You can hardly travel all the way and not make time for a proper beach day. Pack all the beach paraphernalia and settle in for the day. The area has some amazing beaches and tidal pools – a favourite among them is the Umhlanga main beach. Remember to pack enough snacks – swimming is hungry work! Or even better – let the North Star staff do all the hard work for you!
At The North Star, we set up a picnic on our beach for you. Umbrellas, chairs, towels, sunscreen, snacks and drinks are all set up – so you can stroll out and enjoy the beach with none of the normal hassles!
Nothing recharges a tired mind like nature. Explore the Umhlanga Nature Reserve through this 2.1km loop. Well maintained pathways take you through coastal forest, across the lagoon and along the beach. Perfect to spot a large selection of indigenous birds and even small mammals like vervet monkeys and duikers.
Hopefully, you are now inspired and excited to quickly make your December getaway happen. Get the wheels rolling by booking your stay at the North Star Micro Hotel. Right on the beach, with only seven sea-facing guest suites – you’ll have a private paradise from which to explore the surrounding areas.