The peaceful farming village of Umhlali is situated 3 kilometres inland from
the subtropical Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu-Natal with Salt Rock as its nearest
neighbour. About 50km (31 miles) from the major attractions of Durban, Umhlali
was originally established by the Byrne Settlers from Scotland who built a fort
there. The town was originally named Fort William. Umhlali derives its name from
Zulu for the monkey orange trees that thrive along the banks of the Umhlali
River. The name Umhlali also means "place of waiting", due to the fact that
early settlers would stop to rest on the banks of the river before eventually
crossing over. Umhlali retains a unique colonial atmosphere with the buildings
designed and decorated in old world style.
In addition to easy access to the pleasures of the coast, Umhlali boasts pleasures of its own. High amongst these is the impressive Umhlali Country Club with its picturesque golf course. The course is host to a total of seven waterholes which attract antelope and zebra to roam among exotic palm trees and sweeping fairways. Other courses in the area include the exclusive Zimbali golf course which was designed by Tom Weiskopf - former British & South African Open Champion. This course is said to provide a worthy challenge to players of all handicaps alike.
The shops are varied and visitors can enjoy a variety ranging from fast food, to homemade goodies and fresh farm produce.
Conducted tours of the nearby sugar-mill are also popular. Here visitors are allowed the opportunity of witnessing the process of sugar cane crushing up close and personal, after which they can try some freshly crushed, iced sugar juice. For the smaller children Flag Animal Farm at nearby Salt Rock provides hours of delight with carthorse rides, feed the chickens, ducks, rabbits, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, geese and birds. The farm also has a playground, picnic sites and a tea garden which serves light meals.
An experience in itself is a stay at the historical B&B Seaforth Guest Farm. The self-catering River Rock Chalets also provide a great hideaway. The Umhlali museum is another interesting place worth a visit housing various historical memorabilia, which includes an old steam locomotive originally used for transporting cane to the mill.