Monday, 15 September 2014

Three (more) reasons why Umhlanga ROCKS

Umhlanga Rocks is our favourite place in the world. That's why we live here, of course. And it's why we love inviting you to share the vibrant beauty of the place with us - in luxury, of course. The name says it all: Umhlanga rocks!

Our little town has been making headlines recently, and we're thrilled to share the news here on our blog:

Three Reasons to Visit Umhlanga

The Umhlanga Pier was voted the most beautiful pier in the world

Umhlanga Pier has just been voted the most beautiful pier in the world by Media giant CNN.

This awesome achievement comes hot on the heels of CNN proclaiming that Durban was one of the most underrated cities with a host of wonderful attractions, all-year sunshine and a cosmopolitan vibe.

Now CNN has given the pier the “most beautiful in the world” title after freelance writer Tamara Hinson began researching piers worldwide.

The pier has previously won the South African National Award for Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievements. The pier is not just an architectural masterpiece and a place for locals and tourists to grab a great picture.

It is also an extension of an underground culvert that helps disperse excess storm water from the land into the ocean.

The article recently appeared in the Daily News with a photo of Peter Rose, Director of Umhlanga Tourism (and co-owner of Anchor's Rest), Briony Smith, Tourism KZN’s regional manager for Africa and the domestic market and Phillip Sithole Head of Durban Tourism.

The Lighthouse Bar at the Oyster Box Hotel was voted one of the top 12 roof top bars in the world


Another incredible achievement for Umhlanga, as the beautiful Lighthouse Bar at The Oyster Box is rated as one of the best rooftop bars in the World. CNN rated the Lighthouse Bar as one of the top 12 rooftop bars in the world!!

With panoramic views of the Indian Ocean along Umhlanga Beach, this is a top spot for romantics, shutterbugs and those who just like to sit, sip and smile. You can also watch sport on the large, flat screen TV while sipping a chilled local beer.

We always recommend the Lighthouse Bar to our guests to get their weekend off to a tremendous start.

Umhlanga Main Beach voted one of the top 20 beaches in S.A. by Travel Start


Our beautiful Umhlanga Main Beach has been listed by Travel Start, as one of the top 20 beaches in South Africa! Three of the top beaches are in Durban: Umhlanga, South and North Beach - not bad!!

Umhlanga is one of KZN’s most popular beaches as the warm Indian Ocean draws millions the world over to it's gorgeous golden sands. Added appeal is that Umhlanga has great nightlife, hotels and shopping too!

Another great beach which needs no introduction, is Durban’s South Beach which is right in the heart of the city’s famous beachfront, and is a great spot for swimming or just lazing about people watching.

Durban’s North Beach is what it is - the king of holiday beaches. Also how epic is this night shot?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Balmy days, arty adventures and evenings of luxury

Maybe it's the fresh sea air … the balmy ocean breathes a mystical creativity into the souls of each person it touches. Maybe it's the holiday atmosphere that seems to permeate the very fabric of the city. The air is thick with creativity, with an indolence that delivers the cognitive bandwidth so vital to true artistic expression. Or perhaps it's the amazing Durban curry firing up those creative juices.

Whatever it may be, there's no denying that Durban is a creative hub, a mecca of sorts for the artistic heart. There's little finer than a decadent day spent in Durban's enchanting galleries and art centres.

We've curated a list of the must-see stops for our aesthetically-motivated guests:

AFRICAN ART CENTRE | 94 Florida Road, Durban

True to its name, the African Art Centre showcases the work of both new and established black artists in its charming spot, nestled in the heart of Durban. Styles cover the spectrum from print-making to bead work, woodwork to textiles, sculpture to ceramics. Visit them online to find out more.

ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE | 22 Sutton Cresent, Morningside, Durban

The Alliance Française is a non-profit organisation focused on promoting French culture around the world. Their beautifully curated gallery supports work by local artistes and often plays host to travelling installations with a Gallic flavour. See more on their website.

ANDREW WALFORD SHONGWENI POTTERY GALLERY | Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal

Andrew Walford takes the inspiration for his beautiful porcelain and stoneware from the lush nature surrounding his home studio in the inigenous Shongweni Nature Reserve, on the banks of the dam of the same name. His unique style and attention to detail have gained him international renown, and a trip to his gallery (by appointment only) is well worth it. Pair your visit with a trip to Durban's local micro-breweries and get an all-day adventure to appeal to both your inner art patron and foodie. Both Robertson's and Quill's micro-breweries are an easy drive from the Walford Studio.

THE ART ROOM | 3A Chartwell Centre, Chartwell Drive, Umhlanga Rocks, Durban

The Art Room is just minutes from your luxurious home base at Anchor's Rest, and exhibits works by leading and emerging South African artists. Masterpieces in oils, digital graphics, mixed media and sculptures in bronze, wood and bone offer a range of artistry to suit every temperament.
Website

ARTISAN CONTEMPORARY GALLERY | 344 Florida Road, Durban

Conventionally, the word artisan describes a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand. The Artisan Contemporary Gallery has taken the true meaning of the word and expanded it to include an acronym for ART In South Africa Now. Artisan's collection is an eclectic mix of fine art prints, original paintings, collage, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, glassware, textiles and wood. The range is a sensory treat and conveniently located near some of the trendiest coffee shops in town.
Website

ARTSPACE DURBAN | 3 Millar Road, Stamford Hill, Durban

ArtSpace combines a visual arts exhibition gallery with dedicated artist studio spaces. Artists, and anyone interested in developing contemporary visual arts, have the opportunity to use the space for exhibitions, marketing, sales and venue hire. It's a tranquil space, with light filtered through the greenery of neighbouring trees, and an underlying buzz of creative energy. Visit their website or just pootle along for an exquisite artistic experience.

BAT CENTRE 45 Maritime Place, Small Craft Harbour, Durban

No discussion of Durban's most arty is complete without  mentioning the famous BAT centre. This non-profit centre, originating from a grant by the Bartel Arts Trust, exhibits temporary shows by young, mainly black artists and craftspeople. It encourages first-timers in the Democratic Gallery and more established artists in the Menzi Mchunu Gallery. Housed in a converted wharfside building, it has a café and overlooks the harbour. It is also a popular venue for music gigs.
Website

DURBAN ART GALLERY | Second floor, City Hall, Smith Street, Durban

Durban's stately and elegant City Hall is home to the Durban Art Gallery and features a permanent collection of Victorian and contemporary South African art. While the focus of the collection now concentrates for the most part on demonstrating South Africa's rich cultural heritage, the European collection is a treat for afficionados as well. Donated in 1920, the collection includes British, French and Dutch paintings, objets d'art such as French and Chinese ceramics, early glass vases by Lalique and bronzes by Rodin. Website

FAT TUESDAY GALLERY | Bellevue Campus, 5 Bellevue Road, Kloof

As you head back from the Walford Studio, stop in at the renowned Fat Tuesday Gallery in Kloof. The arboreal feel of the open plan setting lends a timeless quality to the display, which features a photography primarily, although traditional and new media art works are welcome, too. Ceramics, books and vintage collectibles  round out the collection and offer the ideal stop for the whimsical traveller. Every item is unique and desirable – the perfect solution to that old “what-should-I-buy-my-friends-back-home” dilemma. Their quirky website is a treat as well. Visit it here.

IMBIZO GALLERY | Shop 7A, Ballito Lifestyle Centre, Ballito - (032) 946 1937

The M4 wends it winsome way north from the bustling heart of Umhlanga, home town of Anchor's Rest, to the growing metropolis of Ballito. Here's where you'll find the well-known Imbizo Gallery. Imbizo features paintings by leading local artists in a wide range of style, as well as a remarkable range of bronzes and pots. Their up-to-date website includes news of latest exhibitions.

KIZO ART CONSULTANTS AND ART GALLERY | Shop G350, Palm Boulevard, Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Umhlanga, Durban - (031) 566 4324

Umhlanga's popular Gateway Theatre of Shopping offers so much more than just chic shopping and retail therapy galore. It also houses the renowned Kizo Art Gallery, owned and curated by experienced couple Craig and Barbra Mark. This artistically-motivated couple has over 20 years of experience, including coordinating exhibitions in the USA, the UK, India, Switzerland and for the UN. Kizo is actively involved in creating and promoting arts awareness programmes, including KZN's premier arts festival: The Heritage Arts Festival.

KZNSA GALLERY | 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban 

KZNSA Gallery is a non-profit gallery serving the members of the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts. The gallery's appealing space was designed by an award-winning architect and showcases masterpieces by established local and national artists on a well-organised rotation (see website). Up -and-coming artists and established experts are given the opportunity to showcase their work.

Unwind in Style

After filling your creative tank, immersing your soul in the creative expressions of others, heading for the comforts of Anchor's Rest's beautifully appointed Cheetah Room. Replete with all you need for a luxurious, private escape, you'll feel right at home in this traditional African-inspired space. The comfortable sleeping area opens onto a fully equipped kitchenette. From there, the room flows out onto an inviting shady patio adjoining a verdant lawn bordered by lush indigenous Durban foliage.

Watch the sunset over this tranquil garden space, relax on the sumptuous sofa in the lounge, or stretch out on the generously-proportioned bed, with its comfortably-padded headboard. Stretch back and watch TV, read a book, or just take some hard-earned down time.

We've got your room ready. All you need to do is book. Call us today on 031 561 7380 or visit our website to book: www.AnchorsRest.co.za.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Muse over a simpler, more stylish time with the Oyster Box and Anchor's Rest

The early dusk sends its velvet ribbons through the mist and salt spray. Durban's iconic landmark sends a warm, inviting beam through the settling twilight, calling weary travellers to rest. Reclining opulently at its base, The Oysterbox, South Africa's best-loved restaurant shines as a beacon of its own, calling guests to sample the gracious hospitality

More than 60 years old, The Oyster Box exudes Olde Worlde charm redolent of a bygone era. Having been lovingly refurbished over the years, this grand old lady now boasts every modern convenience as well.


A popular highlight is the tea room, and an Oyster Box High Tea is the stuff of legends.
An afternoon of leisurely luxury begins with a table spread with every delicacy to grace the nostalgic afternoon teas of yesteryear: fresh-baked scones, delicious cakes, pastries and quiches, and dainty sandwiches will adorn your plate and soon have you convinced you've stepped into an episode of Downton Abbey. (Click here to book your table).


Round out your journey down memory lane with an evening spent lounging on the spacious balcony at Anchor's rest. Gracious elegance enfolds you as glorious views draw the eye and calm the mind. The crystal clear waters of the sparkling swimming pool are simply irresistible. Nothing rounds out a day of luxurious indulgence like a leisurely swim and sundowners on the patio.

It's the little things that leave an imprint on the senses, making a luxury get away one to remember. Discerning guests will revel in our attention to detail. Book today or call us now on 031 561 7380 to experience it first hand. Email enquiries@anchorsrest.co.za and we'll answer all your questions.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

The beauty of a holiday in Umhlanga is that it combines the best of most worlds. Nestled into one of South Africa's most beautiful coastlines, you're treated to wonderful waves for surfers, incredible coastal views, and nature's jungle-y encroachment wherever you look. At the same time, you're minutes form the world-class King Shaka International Airport and Africa's appropriately named mega-mall, Gateway Theatre of Shopping.

Even so, the wild is calling.


Aeons-old nature is on your doorstep. All it takes to immerse yourself is to take a walk on the wild side with a guided tour of Umhlanga's near-primordial lagoon land. Wooden board walks lend a Lord-of-the-Flies authenticity to your adventures as they lead you along the banks of the Ohlanga River. Buttressed by dunes many metres high, these dunes, grasslands and forests house hidden communities of indigenous fauna, from monkeys to small buck, incandescent butterflies and a profusion of bird life set to enchant even the least ardent bird watcher among us.

Start your escapade on the shore-hugging O'Connor Promenade, wending your way into the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Trail. The trail leads through beach and lagoon wilderness, earning a growing reputation as a nature-lover's hideaway. Strategically placed benches and picnic spots allow the ambling adventurer a break from the pace, and a chance to stop and smell the – well, wildlife.

For the history buffs there's even a stone-age seashell midden lurking at the entrance of the lagoon.

Round your adventures off with a return to the convenience of modern luxuries at Anchor's Rest.
Umhlanga's upmarket luxury and first world convenience are right at home in our opulent serviced rooms, lending a feeling of elegance to your leisurely escape. Our lounge area is a tastefully decorated home from home, complete with a fully stocked bar to cater to your post-exploration requirements.

Soothing neutral hues are subtly complemented by shades of classic gold and warm umber. Large sliding doors invite you out onto the sheltered balcony, where deep-cushioned chairs offer the ideal spot to watch the sunset while sipping sundowners. Or slip into the pool for a refreshing dip on the languorous summer days beckoning holiday makers to Umhlanga.

The bar's wide screen TV keeps you connected to current events, or affords the opportunity to unwind with a relaxing movie if you prefer. It's the perfect end to a perfect day in Umhlanga.

As dusk settles in, head for bed in one of our comfortable rooms, fully-equipped with every convenience for the world traveller.

Bookyour stay at Anchor's Rest and then enjoy the journey into the dawn of humanity by contacting Umhlanga Tourism on 031 561 4257 to arrange an appointment. Email enquiries@anchorsrest.co.za and we'll answer all your questions.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Combining the honey tones of two of South Africa's trademarks ...


The majestic yellow wood tree is the national tree of South Africa, and rightly so. True to the adage “slow and steady wins the race”, this slow growing tree forms a wood of exceptional quality, while decking its branches with the pale yellow-gold leaves that have earned it its name.


Our sumptuous Yellowwood Room is aptly named, offering an elegant and hospitable escape from the bustle of modern life. Well-appointed with a king-sized bed and a gold-hued living area, this peaceful private room is your perfect honeymoon suite.

Romantically-inclined guests can take advantage of our honeymoon package, which includes all the essentials for a romantic escape, from sparkling wine to scented candles, floral flowers to decadent chocolate. Bliss!

Waking up from a rejuvenating rest in your luxuriously proportioned Yellowwood Room bed, top up your tank with a delicious breakfast and then it's time to take in the sites and sounds of Durban. What better tribute to Durban's ingenuity and leisurely lifestyle than a sample of KZN's fantastic beer route? This great tour allows you the unparalleled opportunity to sample a range of unique and delicious beers, each with its own distinctive flavour. The tour takes you on an easy-going amble through the magnificent Zulu kingdom, letting you enjoy the wonders of home-brewed beer from smaller boutique breweries in park-like gardens and relaxed surroundings.

Home-cooked meals and chef-prepared delicacies are available at many of the micro-breweries, and are certainly worth the taste bud effort. The brewers and their teams offer a wealth of knowledge about both the beautiful area and the subtle nuances of the beer brewing process. Combine your adventure with a fascinating journey into the secrets that go into one of the staples of South African “chilling out”.
Our recommendations for Top Five Microbreweries include:
  • Robson’s (Shongweni) - Valley of a Thousand Hills – famous for their Durban Pale Ale, we also recommend the coriander spiced wheat beer. Delicious!
  • Quills - Botha’s Hill – offering no less than five distinctive brews, and often more, Quills at the 1000 Hills Chef School is rapidly becoming an institution in Durban's Outer West
  • Unity Brasserie’s Signature “Cow Bell”- Musgrave - Although not technically a micro-brewery, Robson's delicious Cow Bell Pilsner is brewed specifically for Unity Brasserie's collection, and rounds out the menu nicely. It's helpful to have great beer so close to your lodgings, too.
  • Nottingham Road - Midlands – perfect for the adventurer keen to wander further afield, this award-winning brewery is complemented by breathtaking scenery and craft shopping opportunities.
  • Mtunzini Brewery- Eshowe- if the north coast's rugged wildness is more to your taste, Mtunzini's Eshowe-based brewery is the place to visit. A scenic drive takes you into the heart of Zululand, where you'll be well rewarded by a pint of their award-winning English Bitter or Chilli Blonde.

Of course, no tour of KZN's beer route would be complete without a visit to South Africa's favourite: SA Breweries. This is a tour you'll be sure to remember. Officially tipped as the second biggest brewer in the world, SAB has operations around the country and the Prospecton operation boasts one of the Southern hemisphere's most modern breweries. Call 031 910 1111 to book your guided tour of SA Breweries in Propsecton.

Your day out and about sampling the delights of KZN artisanal food and drink and South Africa's finest is rounded out by the enticing prospect of another unhurried evening in the Yellowwood Room at Anchor's Rest, giving you the rest and rejuvenation your busy lifestyle needs.


Book your stay with us today or call us on (31) 561 7380 and get a taste of KZN's finest in accommodation and ambling adventure. Email enquiries@anchorsrest.co.za and we'll answer all your questions.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Dolphin and Whale Viewing

Experiencing the thrill of dolphin viewing on the shore of Umhlanga Rocks is a memory to be treasured. Spotting whales, whale sharks and other dolphins is far from uncommon in Umhlanga Rocks and it's a magical treat viewing these mammals in their natural habitat. 
 
Off the coast of Umhlanga you can enjoy watching playful dolphins frolicking in the wake created by your boat, with Humpback whales passing by in their annual migration to their breeding grounds in Hermanus.
 
Marine biologists have been whale watching for years with the aim of monitoring the breeding patterns and behaviour of the largest mammal in the world. You don't have to be a marine biologist to go whale watching.  Anyone can do it, thanks to experienced skippers and local tour companies. 

South Africa has some of the best whale and dolphin watching spots in the world. In some locations around South Africa fantastic views can be obtained from rock edges and cliffs, which is ideal for those who may suffer from sea sickness and don't want to go out in a boat. 

There are over 37 species of whales and dolphins in the seas surrounding South Africa, which is a great reason to come back time and time again to view these magnificent mammals to see something new each time.

A day spent in or on the water is a perfect outing for the whole family, watching these graceful creatures glide by, which will give you happy memories for years to come.

We recommend the boat trips organised by the Sharks Board as this gives you the opportunity to go out to sea and watch the shark safety gear being checked by experienced staff early in the morning.  This two hour trip is an extraordinary experience to also see Durban's beachfront in the early morning light with the sun just rising over the ocean. 

Sharks Board boats out at sea off the coast of Durban returning from a working trip


For dolphin and whale viewing we recommend Durban Charter Boat Bookings as they have a variety of boats available and can also take you out on sailing and boat cruises, as well as fishing trips.

A unique experience for anyone to see these magnificent whales close up


A magnificent whale breaching off the beach of Umhlanga Rocks
 
A playful dolphin showing the grace and agility they are so well known for
 
A pair of dolphins frolicking in the warm Indian Ocean water


Dolphins gracefully swimming in the ocean