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Pic credit:  SHAKA’S ROCK-THOMPSONS BEACH

WORDS: NICOLA JENVEY IMAGES: STEPHEN PILBROUGH, SHANE VAN ECK, TERRY HAYWOOD PHOTOGRAPHY

Last year, the AfrAsia Bank South Africa Wealth Report 2019 identified the Durban-Umhlanga-Ballito corridor, specifically the region within close proximity to the proposed aerotropolis development around the King Shaka International Airport, as the country’s fastest growing wealth market. The 25% growth trajectory achieved in the past decade had outstripped both Joburg and Cape Town, with the ripple effect impacting the towns slightly further along the coastline.

Property

Dominating the residential property market throughout the KwaZulu-Natal north coast towns are multi-billion-rand gated housing estates developed on former sugarcane land. Older properties are holiday accommodation apartments capturing idyllic views over the Indian Ocean, while standalone mansions complete the options.

Seeff North Coast principal Tim Johnson says given the developments happening within the neighbourhood, the north coast broadly is South Africa’s investment and lifestyle darling.

HBR Projects director Horst Keil says Ballito’s unprecedented growth is driven by the steady demand for accommodation and retail property as families increasingly opt to live permanently in the former holiday town. “A good gauge of growth is retail demand. The addition of the mega Ballito Junction Mall to the existing offerings at Ballito Lifestyle Centre speaks volumes. Not only does the centre imply a growing retail market, but clearly the 1,500 people employed there need homes.”

Must-do activities

Given the sub-tropical climate, outdoor activities dominate the KwaZulu-Natal north coast lifestyle. Both Shaka’s Rock and neighbouring Salt Rock have long been favourite holiday destinations with their myriad fishing spots, quaint small-town environments and breath-taking beaches. The Shaka’s Rock Beach tidal pool is a protected environment well-known for its snorkelling opportunities.

Award-winning golf courses have been a mainstay of the new multi-billion-rand developments including Zimbali, Prince’s Grant and Simbithi, while Umhlali and Maidstone have been long-standing favourites for local residents. The short drive to Durban also offers the Mount Edgecombe, Beachwood and Durban Country Club courses.

Also not to be missed is a visit to The Litchi Orchard. Not only is this a functioning fruit farm, but it’s a green haven for good food, decor and design that has evolved into a meeting place for the North Coast community. From humble beginnings as a wholesale nursery amid more than 300 litchi trees to the rustic early morning Farmers’ Market, the business has grown into a collection of passionate food, home and lifestyle small businessowners.

Shaka’s Rock is a small residential area home to a beautiful stretch of sandy beach from which ski-boats often launch, a tidal pool flanked by picturesque rocky cliffs, and the sight of daredevil wave riders returning to shore CHERYL PETERS, SANGWENI TOURISM CENTRE

BALLITO JUNCTION MALL

SCHOOLS

SHOP

MOUNT EDGECOMBE GOLF

EAT

MEDICAL FACILITIES NEARBY

BUSINESS INSIDER

Second Chance owner Penny Dudley acquired the second-hand furniture shop located on the Umhlali railway station platform six years ago and has transformed the business and its surrounding grounds into more than just a space into which people dump unwanted goods.

Today, tables, chairs, sofas and dressers sprawl over the lawns she has meticulously developed while waiting for new homes to create a green space. The formerly boarded railway buildings have also been given a second chance.

Her dynamism is infectious as she proudly contributes to positive change in her home town and seeks to make a difference in everyone’s lives. “Umhlali has a host of growth opportunities emerging – the buildings across the road was boarded up and abandoned until late last year when investment converted them into a modern facility. Most significantly is the opportunity to create employment as small efforts can make significant changes in other people’s lives,” Penny says.

LITCHI ORCHARD