Umkomaas was formed when a harbour was built in 1861 to export sugar. The town rests beside the mouth of the navigable uMkhomazi River. With the successful dredging of Durban harbour’s sandbar and arrival of the railway, the harbour fell into disuse, but the town came to life.
A large number of whales once used the estuary as a nursery, giving birth in the shallows. The Zulus named the river after this spectacle (uMkhomazi means the place of cow whales).
The Umkomaas or uMkomazi River is a dominant feature of the area, being the largest river on the South Coast. The river is 298 kilometres long, from its source just south of Giant’s Castle in the Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site to its mouth on the Indian Ocean. The river begins its journey at an altitude of over 3,000 metres.
Occasionally, raft races, canoeing, and other sporting events are held on the river. The river is a popular white-water rafting destination.
Additional tourist attractions include the Umkomaas Golf Course, home of Tim Clark and widely regarded as being one of the best in KwaZulu-Natal. The beautiful Empisini Nature Reserve, a forested area features a delightful waterfall and a number of bush walks.
Umkomaas is most renowned for the superb diving opportunities created by the Aliwal Shoal, a volcanic reef about 5 kilometres offshore. Ragged-tooth sharks, rock cod, and a number of other species can be found in the shoal.
Growth in diving-related tourism has grown dramatically in the past decade, although the Shoal features two especially fine shipwrecks, the Nebo and the Produce, that long predate the Shoal’s current surge in popularity. The Aliwal Shoal was formed about 80 000 years ago.
To add to Umkomaas and activities is a newly established airfield called “Umkomaas Airfield” just outside of Umkomaas where microlight and aeroplane joyrides and training takes place
|Country name||South Africa|