The Dolphin Coast of South Africa. That’s how they call the part of the KwaZulu-Natal coast that’s situated North from Durban, between Umhlanga and Tugela Mouth. Sugar Coast, is also a name they sometimes give to this area, because of all the sugar cane plantations in this area. The name Dolphin Coast is – obviously – because of all the dolphins that swim and play in the Indian Ocean, as well as sharks and whales, on their way to or back from Mozambique. Places as Umhlanga, Zimbali, Ballito, Thompson’s Bay, Shakas Rock, Salt Rock, Umhlali, Shakaskraal, Zinkwazi and Kwadaduzu are all part of the Dolphin Coast of South Africa.
Tropical climate, sea, sand and Indian curries
Sea and waves are wild at the Dolphin Coast, but the water is warm, perfect for swimming all year around (but be careful for dangerous undercurrent and for sharks). The beaches are pretty and tropical, the temperature is good, all year around. And the food is Indian inspired, and therefore delicious! (hello curry heaven!) I find the whole Durban/Dolphin Coast area a lovely part of South Africa to spend a few days eating, drinking and having fun in the sea. My best South African friend Gigi is a real Ballito girl, and she invited me a while ago to join her on a trip to curry-heaven, hot surf dude heaven, peri-peri prawn heaven (the best ever!), mango, avocado heaven and tropical beach picnic heaven. One day during our stay we decided to drive to Umhlanga Rocks for a decadent wine and curry lunch at the iconic Oyster Box Hotel, thé place to be when you ever are in this area. Today I’ll tell you more about our experience!
The Oyster Box Hotel
The Oyster Box Hotel, that exists already since 1954, is situated in the heart of Umhlanga Rocks, next to the iconic white and red lighthouse. The hotel offers 86 luxurious rooms, suites and villas, as well as The Grill Room semi-formal fine dining, The Ocean Terrace (including The Curry Feast Buffet), the famous High Tea at The Palm Court, and the several bars (The Lighthouse bar, the Oyster bar and the Chukka bar) of the hotel. ‘Where the old world charm meets modern day comfort’ kind of feeling, is how I would describe it. Very classy and elegant, but with modern day comfort and luxury. Red Carnation is the Hotel Group the Oyster Box is now part of (since 2006). It’s the same Hotel Group as where Twelve Apostels (Cape Town) and my favourite place in Cederberg Mountains; Bushman’s Kloof, are part of. We had lunch at the Ocean Terrace and enjoyed it very much!
The Ocean Terrace
The Ocean Terrace is the place where Gigi and I had lunch during our visit at the Oyster Box. Curry is what you eat here! You choose from the bistro-style menu, or you simply join the curry buffet. Indian and international inspired cuisine, excellent service and a stunning location. It feels like going back in time, like the 70’s meeting modern comfort.
The curry buffet includes meat, fish and vegetarian option, as well as side dishes as raita, salsa, sambal, naan bread, poppadum and coriander!
We decided to share 1 curry with rice, and to share a Durban Bunny Chow!
High tea is served every day during the afternoon at The Palm Court in the center of the Oyster Box Hotel…
….a very nice place with friends or family! Perfect for weddings or baby showers.
This Bunny Chow is huge, but so delicious!
Indian curry with lots of coriander! Gotta love cilantro (and otherwise stay home!) #teamcilantro
The Ocean Terrace @ The Oyster Box hotel in Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They serve International food as oysters, Caesar salad, fish and chips or steak, as well als the Indian buffet and some Indian inspired à la carte dishes. The hotel is part of the Red Carnation Hotel Group, where quality, eye for detail and excellent food and service is very important. I was the lucky one to stay in two of their hotels (Twelve Apostels and Bushman’s Kloof) and next time when in the Durban area I will try to book a room at the Oyster Box too. Do travel to Umhlanga soon and feel like curry now? Then click here to book your table at the Ocean Terrace.
*Note: I have not been asked, paid or invited to write about The Oyster Box. It was my own idea. All images are mine.