Friday, 8 April 2016

Falling for Fall in Umhlanga

Meet Benson: the World's Most Indulged Dog!

Autumn has arrived … although you’d never know it here at SA’s sunny North Coast.

While towns and cities further inland are starting to feel the first crisp turn in the air, it seems no one has sent the message to Umhlanga yet.

We’re revelling in hot summer days, lush green jungles, and clear skies that stretch all the way to the distant horizon, where they dive into the rolling ocean and tumble into infinity beyond the line of sight.

Summer’s height had its furnace, and that has passed. Now we ease lazily into Autumn’s amber glow with long, slow, languid days and blissful evenings, kissed by Fall’s zephyrs and soft sea-salted mists.

It’s the perfect time to visit.

South Africa - and Durban in particular - is blessed with sun, scenery, sea ... and a Rand so low that our international visitors can enjoy a more luxurious holiday (and finer dining) here than almost anywhere else on earth.

Paradise found indeed.

What to do in Umhlanga in April

Jet-setting business execs love to use Anchor’s Rest as their home-away-from-home when they fly in for business. Conveniently close to their airport and the major business hubs in both Durban North and Durban Town, Anchor’s Rest is an oasis of calm on a busy business trip - a luxurious place to unwind and recharge.

Stunning Sunrise
Morning Run
Breakfast on the Beach
Benson loves Jade
The Beautiful Umhlanga Pier

But if you’re not in town for business, (or if you have a gap between meetings) there is so much to see and do while you’re here. The beautiful ocean sunrises that greet each day make the perfect backdrop to an invigorating run on the beach. Chase your workout with a delicious breakfast on the beach and you’ll know for sure: you’ve woken up in heaven.

Umhlanga’s beach is ideal for walking along the promenade, or catching the waves with your surfboard if you’re that way inclined. For the tamer at heart, a walk on the pier is a balm to the soul, connecting you with the ocean and all of a creation.

The Gateway Theatre of Shopping is just a short drive away, and offers all the entertainment you can imagine - shopping, movies, beauty treatments, eateries and more.

Natal’s Sharks Board is even closer. What an experience! Learn all there is to know about our local shark life. These majestic creatures are quite beautiful to watch, and the Shark’s Board has a range of activities and information to show just how incredible sharks can be.

Not far away, the upmarket Suncoast Casino beckons gamblers and fun-seekers alike. Replete with a range of casino options, and some of the finest eateries in Durban, as well as movies and direct access to the beach, Suncoast makes a wonderful destination for an evening out.

Peter and I have lived in Umhlanga since it was a charming seaside town, long before it became the cosmopolitan metropolis it is today. We know it inside out, and we’d love to help you plan your outings while you’re here.

Just give us a call on +27 (0) 31 561 7380, or visit us at, and we’ll make your stay one to remember.

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

Warm summery regards,

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Rags to Riches - the Tale of Benson, the World’s Most Indulged Dog

Meet Benson: the World's Most Indulged Dog!

The beginning of 2008 was a sad time for us at Anchor's Rest.

Usually, we love the Autumn in Umhlanga. The air, while never cold, turns crisp and fresh. And our lush coastal greenery gets decked in colours of fire and flame. Walking our dogs around the Greyville race track is even nicer in Autumn than at any other time. All their friends come out to play as owners no longer find themselves deterred by hot summers or chilly winters. (Well, chilly for Durban :)).

But not that year.

That was the year we lost two of our beloved dogs in quick succession. We had just lost a beautiful male German Shepherd, Marcus to old age. And then - three short weeks later - we had to put our first rescue dog, Amber, to sleep as well. At a ripe old 18 years of age, she had suffered a stroke.

Our home was suddenly very empty indeed, as we went from three dogs to one in less than a month. And poor Darcy, our sole surviving German Shepherd, missed her playmates enormously.

Then - Serendipity!

One morning, as we walked dear Darcy around the Greyville track, we bumped into a friend we'd come to know during these walks - a fellow dog lover, like us. Wondering where the rest of our pack had gone, we told her the sad tale of the weeks that had just passed.

That's when she told us she was a volunteer for the animal rescue charity, Animal Action. She took our details, and less than 24 hours later we had a call: a blonde Africanis pup had been rescued from Hibberdene beach! At that stage we didn't even know what an Africanis was - but what we did know was that we had found a new friend for Darcy.

When Sandy and I went to see him, we were introduced to a gentle, friendly puppy of about ten months. He was so emaciated that every rib stuck out, as well as his hip bones. He had mange all over his body, and lots of nicks and scabs (which I am sure were due to other stray dogs fighting with him). He was a pitiful sight indeed. But his warm, friendly nature won our hearts. We said we would adopt him - and we took him home straight away!

That was the day Benson joined our clan.

He quickly filled out, and within three months there was little trace of the hard life he'd led before. (In fact, my sister Helen says he's the most indulged dog in the world!)

Over the years Benson has crept into the hearts of many of our guests - several of whom said they were going to take him home with them! The truth is, you just can't help loving Benson. He loves to greet guests when they check in. And he had offers to live in Australia, England and Thailand.

Skinny Benson in the Early Days
Playfighting - Sabre & Benson
Head of Guest Relations - Benson and Kevin
Besties: Benson and Darcy
Darcy, Benson and Cilla
The Brat Pack: Sabre, Darcy and Benson

An Irish guest once said, “If Benson's life story was written, it could be called ‘From Rags to Riches'.”

Well, I don't know about riches. But I do know that he has a life of love and contentment - and that's what he brings into our lives, too.

Why not spend a night with us, and get to know Benson a little better, too? He can't wait to greet you at the door!

Click here to book your spot or call on +27 (31) 561 7380.

Warm festive greetings,

Monday, 12 October 2015

Getting FRESH with Anchor's Rest

As the weather warms and Spring simmers its way into a mellow summer, it gets harder and harder to stay indoors. Everything out of doors is exquisite.Durban is gorgeous all year round … lush greenery shades the highways and byways, lawns roll smugly into hazy distances and burst of colour decorate almost every space. Even in the middle of winter, Durban’s a beautiful place to be.
But as Spring’s pretty pastels are painted into vibrant Summer shades, it’s simply irresistible.
Peter and Benson vegging out with the veggies!And I’ve got an added incentive. You see, for the past few months my garden has been so much more than just the beautiful and tranquil frame for Anchor’s Rest, our personal Happy Place. In recent weeks,  our garden has also become a growing space of fresh, organic health and happiness.
That’s right: Anchor’s Rest now boasts our very own organic herb and vegetable garden.
I was inspired to start my own herbs and vegetables while visiting a friend. She had arranged charming hanging baskets of strawberries and herbs in the trees in her garden.  They looked  so fresh and cheerful … and nothing on earth beats the taste of fresh!
Jane Griffiths signing copies of her books.I just loved the whole idea! So I thought I’d start an organic garden on our patio - in containers.
Never one for half measures, I dived in and bought the best books I could find:  Jane’s Delicious Garden and Jane’s Delicious Herbs by SA’s organic gardening guru, Jane Griffiths. I pored over the fascinating pages and devoured all the bits I liked best - and then I just went for it!
I was also lucky enough to attend Jane’s workshop on Organic Gardening, which she presented in the Midlands. I took Joyce, my live in housekeeper with me. She is also growing vegetables for herself in the garden, so she was delighted to have the chance to learn to do it even better. We have a great system in place: I buy the seeds for us both, and we plant them together in containers on our patio.
Delicious displays of herbs and veggies in the MidlandsWe’ve been very busy! We’re now growing the following:
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Delicious displays of herbs and veggies in the MidlandsChillies
  • Thyme
  • Pak Choi
  • Beetroot
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes (not as easy as you’d think!)
  • Strawberries
  • Scented Geraniums (to help deter unwanted pests - they work very well!)
  • Nasturtiums and Marigolds in amongst my herbs and veggies, to deter pests
It’s been a very therapeutic way to pass the time, and I’m enjoying it thoroughly. I feel like I learn something new every week.
Joyce picks out her favourites.As I’m sure you can imagine, I have found some things easy to grow and others difficult. Watercress isn’t really suited to our warm climate, which was a bit disappointing. I haven’t had much success with peppers, either ... and those traditional climbing tomatoes are also difficult.  I’m growing cherry tomatoes instead, which are absolutely delicious.
I only use organic potting soil, fertilisers and an organic spray to control pests.
In the evenings I go onto our patio and pick my salad ingredients – what a pleasure!!  All of the garnishing on the breakfast plates is what I have grown.
Why don’t you come and enjoy a delicious, FRESHLY picked, organic side dish to your next breakfast with us … after a restful night in luxury in one of our inviting rooms. We can’t wait to see you.
Click here to book your spot or call on +27 (31) 561 7380.
Warm summery regards,

Friday, 31 July 2015

Warm Wonderful Winter in Umhlanga

It's cold outside. But not here! Yes, it's Umhlanga in winter. So it's a good deal warmer than - well, almost anywhere else that isn't directly on the equator. In fact, in recent weeks we've even had people splashing in shallows and surfing the swells that grace the view from our gorgeous Anchor's Rest deck.
This wonderful warm weather has brought its share of unseasonal surprises. The rain we so badly needed has fed our parched gardens, and the riot of green everywhere we look is a potent disguise. You'd never think it was winter. 
So yes, folks, it's cold outside ... somewhere else.
But we're warm and toasty here at Anchor's Rest. And our warm and welcoming winter weather is only part of the reason why. The real reason we're feeling so warm on the inside, is because of the amazing opportunity we've had this year to invest in our local community.
You see, there's something about us that you may not know. Of course, by now you're well-acquainted with Peter and Cilla's infamous hospitality and perennial good cheer. But did you know that her husband and Anchor's Rest co-founder, Peter, is the chairman of Umhlanga Tourism?
His heart, like Cilla's, is with the people of this beautiful town - the true beneficiaries of local tourism and growth.

In fact, we feel so strongly about our duty to invest in the community that we've teamed up with KZN-based training company, Tourism World Academy. This development-focused team has been charged with implement the locally-brewed hospitality learnership programme, "Tourism Buddies" - a Department of Public Works initiative.
Peter has even taken on the role of student liaison and manager. These students - unemployed matriculants are placed with host employers who host trainee staff for a period of nine months, receiving practical training and mentorship from these hosts .As the 'anchor man' for this year's 76 students, Peter monitors their progress, and makes sure they're learning as much as they can.
The course wraps up with written exams that earn students the certification of Tourism Professional when they pass. And for the duration of their training, the Department of Public Works pays each learner a monthly stipend.
Thandeka Qwabe,
                                                    Anchor's Rest's own
                                                    Tourism BuddySo not only do they get first class, real-world training, they are able to start earning an income almost immediately. What a great way to get into the working world and develop a truly global, valuable skill.
We've loved being able to contribute to Tourism/Hospitality Development in the province by providing hospitality skills to unemployed matriculants.
Best of all, we all benefit from the influx of new, innovative ideas into our business from youth with a passion for this industry. Our fellow hosts have reported the same thing, and we're seeing the industry improve as a whole thanks to the investment in the youth of our area.
Thandeka's happy smile has graced us each day as we train her in the practical aspects of hospitality. We'll miss her when she goes, and we wish her well."
There are so many ways we can contribute to a better world. With Tourism Buddies, we have helped at least one person have a better future.
The programme is nearly over, but if you'd like to spend a night or two to get to know Thandeka and find out more about the programme, or even catch a rare glimpse of a cool Umhlanga day, don't delay. Book today!

Click here to book your spot or call on +27 (31) 561 7380.
Warmest Regards,

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Yumhlanga! Delicious Durban Dining just minutes from Anchor's Rest

The smell of garlic and origanum surfs subtly above the ocean breeze, teasing your senses with a promise of pizza and Italian cooking. The sizzle of fresh steak crisping slightly over the grill plays mouthwatering music in your mind. Exotic island dishes with names that hint at their French origins dance playfully across your tongue, like the most delicious pre-workout warm up you’ve ever imagined. The lure of piping hot curries and fragrant spices beckons the imagination.

The Press Club
Remo's Villagio Steak & Ale

The Press Club
(031) 561-7117
Umhlanga Shopping Centre
185 Ridge Road

Remo’s Villagio
(031) 561-7143
Shop 2/3 Protea Mall
Chartwell Drive
Steak & Ale
(031) 561-7234
15 Chartwell Drive

It’s dinner time!
Get ready to tantalise your taste buds, inhale amazing aromas and masticate mouthwatering menus: we’ve got a treat for you! Over the years, we’ve seen Umhlanga blossom from her humble beginnings as a charming seaside village, into the bustling metropolitan city she is today. While she still nestles her hidden-away seaside lanes and beautiful parks, the heart of Umhlanga pulses with a vibrant energy that makes even the most well-travelled guests feel right at home. Truly cosmopolitan, Umhlanga offers something for everyone’s tastes.
And tastes there are - in abundance. We’ve never been short on delicious eateries here in Umhlanga. And as the city grows into the tantalising tourist destination it’s become, chefs from far and wide, as well as our local ingĂ©nues, have risen to the challenge. Umhlanga now boasts some of the most popular restaurants in KZN … and the best of the bunch are just a few minutes walk from Anchor’s Rest.

Angelo’s Trattoria
(031) 561-3245
Granada Centre, Chartwell Drive

Bar Ba Coa
(031) 561-4106
Lighthouse Mall, Chartwell Drive

(031) 561-2930
Granada Centre, Chartwell Drive

In this month’s news, we’ve included a list of Umhlanga’s best spots on the right. But here are our very favourite, tried and trusted - and tantalisingly tasty:
  • Angelo’sExquisite home-cooked Italian food to ignite your imagination.
  • Little HavanaWorld-class Cuban-inspired grills and seafoods, perfectly paired with the finest wines - all set in an atmosphere of trendy sophistication.
  • Olive & OilFrom the far side of Greece to the other end of Morrocco, the Mediterranean is a hothouse of delicious culinary combinations - all of which find their contented home in Olive & Oil. They put the mmmmm in Mediterranean.
  • FishFresh fish and seafood straight from the sea, in a vibrant atmosphere.
  • Il MauriceFrench cuisine with an Asian/Island twist inspired by the exotic dishes native to Mauritius.
  • The GeorgeClassic pub fare with a charming ambience - the perfect end to a day at the beach.

(031) 561-2912

Protea Mall, Ridge Road

The George Tapas & Wine Bar
(031) 561-5850

The Lighthouse Mall, Chartwell Drive

Little Havana
(031) 561-7589

16 Chartwell Drive

Romantically lit streets, festooned with a hint of ocean mist, scented by the ever-shifting ocean make the perfect pathway to an abundance of appetising destinations just moments away from your home-from-home at Anchor’s Rest. There’s certainly no reason to go hungry in Umhlanga.

Book your stay and tell us your meal preferences. We’ll help you pick the perfect spot for your night out - and even arrange the bookings!

Your room is ready, the perfect spot for a post-prandial sleep. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Click here to make it yours or call on +27 (31) 561 7380. 

Warm regards from balmy mmmmHlanga,

Kashmir Indian Restaurant
(031) 561-7486
McCausland Crescent

Olive & Oil
(031) 561-2618 19
Chartwelll Centre, Chartwell Drive
The Ocean Terrace Restaurant
(031) 514-5000
The Oyster Box Hotel
2 Lighthouse Road

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Where winters are warm ...

It's darkest before the dawn -
but beautiful and amazingly safe.

One of our diligent lifeguards
shines a light on the dawn with the
lights from his car.

We're not the only ones drawn to the
beach and the early morning sun.

The end is in sight!
Umhlanga's iconic lighthouse is a welcome
landmark at the end of a challenging run. 

Nothing beats an early-morning run. The sky hangs like a curtain of Indigo Velvet, its base skimming an ocean as still as glass. Truthfully, we're not runners. We head out along the promenade at a brisk walk, and then run back home - at least as far as we can. Our efforts are applauded by the dawn. A golden bead of fire kindled on the horizon. Its flames soak into the deep night canvas, and set the sky ablaze.

It's nearly 6 AM. The world glows a pink hello, and already the day is warm.

This is winter in Umhlanga: idyllic.

South Africa's climate is truly enviable. But the weather in Durban is the best of all. Here in Umhlanga, the long, sunny days stretch languidly into the evening dusk. Dawn kindles a warm ocean and stretches across the day like honey, melting lazily into warm evenings that barely demand a light shawl, let alone anything warmer.

When you need a place to stay, Anchor’s Rest is the place to be. Elegant luxury makes a welcome respite from a busy day spent shopping, working, or soaking up the warm winter sun on our beautiful beaches.

Why not come and see for yourself?
Book online or call on +27 (31) 561 7380.

Your room is ready and waiting, just for you!
Warm regards,