Winter Wonderland

Umhlanga … the best place to be this winter

Teremok owner, Debbie Davidson, reminisces about five decades spent in Umhlanga Rocks and the seaside village’s unrivalled winters.

It is 19 years ago – almost to the day – that I tentatively drove through the gates of a home for sale in Marine Drive named Teremok, and it was love at first sight! I was captivated by the fairytale history, the angular lines of the designer home, the tranquil park-like garden, all of which ignited the lingering idea that Umhlanga was lacking a bespoke boutique hotel as the expansion north was gaining momentum.

Since 1972 this seaside village has been home to me, and my daughters Tracy and Kim, as well as our various businesses. I have watched with equal amounts of pride and angst as skyscraper developments forever altered the skyline, all the while marvelling at the fact that the spirit of the village has stood the test of time. I want to share with you some of the things that I love and which bring a sense of never-ending joy.

Every year, around May when the aloes come into bloom, the KZN coast finds itself in the grip of one of the most magnificent wildlife migrations on earth – the Sardine Run. This phenomenon sees millions of sardines (followed by many predators) make their way north up the coast in seething masses known to be over 7 kilometres in length and 30 metres deep, earning it the title of “the greatest shoal on earth”. Locals eagerly track the sardines’ progress, waiting in anticipation for them to hit our beaches. The magnificent sight of a feeding frenzy out at sea, to the sight of people arriving en masse to scoop up bucket loads of these silver fish never fails to stir. And hot off the press at noon today (Sunday), the first big shoal has arrived at Port Edward with plenty of reported dolphin and whale activity at Ramsgate.

Our world class Durban promenade is the longest in sub-Saharan Africa at over 8km, and stretches all the way from Blue Lagoon – the mouth of the Umgeni River – to the entrance of the Durban Harbour. You can stroll, run or hire bikes and enjoy this amazing stretch of shoreline known as “the Golden Mile”. Worthwhile stops along the way are coffee at Bike and Bean; breakfast at Circus Circus; awesome burgers at Surf Riders; with my particular favourite port of call being Maha Cafe right harbour entrance. Umhlanga’s promenade is not as long, but provides equally beautiful vantage points with an extended walkway through Hawaan Forest at the north end. And the start of the promenade is just 200m from Teremok! Did you know that the award-winning pier (see picture below) is designed to look like the skeleton of a whale, and that we have more whales that pass by our coast than the Cape does?

Situated on the east coast of Africa, Durban has breathtaking views of the sun rising over the Indian Ocean, and nothing beats taking an early morning boat ride with one of the Sharks Board crews as they inspect the nets along the Golden Mile. This not only offers another spectacular vista of the city, but you can count on dolphins adding to the excitement and perhaps also witness a shark being released from the nets that protect the bathers.

Durban has the biggest Indian population outside of India, which makes the city colourful and eclectic, and so different to the rest of the country. Us locals are mad about curries, and very proud of our culinary contribution to the world, the bunny chow. It is a quarter or half loaf of white bread stuffed with curry (it soaks up the delicious gravy) and is eaten with your hands and great gusto. There is no better time to tackle a great curry than in winter, however mild it is. And by that, I mean the weather and not the curry!

I get that winter inland is a time to curl up and hibernate, but I want to let you in on a secret.

In our part of the world the months of June and July are spectacular! The average high temperature is a glorious 24 degrees – balmy weather without the humidity and because the warm Benguela Current passes our shores taking a dip in the ocean is sheer joy.

Why not visit Teremok Lodge & Spa soon to partake in some of the things that I love so much?

We are about to launch the Teremok Private Residence Club (PRC). If you like the idea of pre-buying accommodation at a reduced rate, let us know. As an existing guest, we will give you a pre-launch advantage as only limited accommodation is on offer.