Beaches & attractions
Whether you’re a party animal, sun worshipper, adventurer, nature lover, bird watcher, golfer, fisherman, or simply want to escape the rat race and chill, our little piece of paradise offers a variety of experiences.
Our movie location stretch of beach is among the finest Indian Ocean settings from which to experience one of nature’s greatest mysteries; the annual sardine run. Filmed by CNN, the BBC and National Geographic, it is the biggest faunal event to occur in our coastal waters and is a phenomenon not seen anywhere else in the world. Little wonder it has been dubbed “the greatest shoal on earth”. The winter migration of these fish can be sighted during June and July.
During the rest of the year, enjoy long solitary walks along the sands past the wreck of the “Nightingale” (1933) or an evening bonfire at the water’s edge as the lights of ocean liners drift by and the hurricane lamps of crab hunters dart through the darkness.
A short walk from The Merry Crab is the swimming and surfing bay known as Glenmore Beach. Here families play safely in the warm shark protected water, surfers ride the rollers and power boats put out to sea under the watchful eyes of lifesavers (during holiday seasons and over weekends).
At Dolphin Bay, the view of the waves crashing onto the outcrop of smooth giant boulders is spectacular. It is also an ideal fishing and whale watching spot. South of Dolphin Bay is Beacon Rock which, at spring tides when the moon is fullest, is excellent for crayfishing.
Across the Itongasi River a tavern and hotel are tucked away on the beach and, high above the lagoon to the south, a cafe and pub. Pulpit Rock, another favourite fishing spot, is located here.
Our stretch of coastline has become a world class golfing destination, earning it the title of “Golf Coast.” Six golf courses, four of which are a few minutes away from the Merry Crab, welcome visiting golfers and provide them with spectacular settings, excellent greens and fairways on which to play.
An easy walk takes guests of The Merry Crab to the Munster Sports Club where tennis, squash and bowls can be played by prior arrangement. Guests also have access to the Angler’s Club, a favourite fisherman’s watering hole situated above the boat launching beach.
There are several fine restaurants in the area (including Italian, German, French and Portuguese). For those seeking the bright lights the Wild Coast Sun with its restaurants, pubs, shows, casino and new water world is only ten minutes away.
Other activities to be enjoyed in the vicinity include beach horse riding, quad and mountain biking, hiking, kite flying, sea safaris, deep sea fishing and shark cage diving.
Truly something for everyone!
Beaches to visit nearby, go find some treasure!
‘Glenmore’ is flanked by two rivers, the Mkhandandlovu (‘Head of the Elephant’) to the north (which spills into Dolphin Bay) and the Itongasi (literally translated as the ‘I don’t know’ River!) to the south which ‘unofficially’ divides the area into two camps – Glenmore to the south & Munster (as it’s come to be known) to the north. However, the actual swimming & surfing bay IN MUNSTER is known as ‘Glenmore Beach’ (very confusing to the ill informed!)
‘Munster’, the smaller of the four resort areas, has a charisma all of its own. Long stretches of unspoilt beaches often strewn with interesting shells washed ashore from adjacent reefs and the remnants of the ‘Nightingale’ wreck (1933), are just some of the features that add to its magic.
Breaking through lush vegetation (north across the river) at Dolphin Bay, the wild sea crashing onto the smooth, giant outcrop of boulders below, is quite breathtaking – an ideal fishing spot and superb ‘whale-watching-look-out’ post. South of Dolphin Bay, at spring tide when the moon is at its fullest, Beacon Rock is excellent for ‘crayfishing’.
Glenmore Beach itself is ‘shark-protected’ and, because of its glorious setting, has become a favourite venue for events as diverse as Beauty Contests & Fishing Competitions. An excellent ‘surfing’ beach, the ‘mouth’ of the Itongasi River has made it ideal for boat launching.
It’s not unusual to see a group sitting around a bonfire at the water’s edge, soaking up a balmy evening, the lapping of waves drowning the sound of voices, the twinkling lights of an ocean liner cruising by or the ethereal sight of ‘jumping’ hurricane lamps ‘moving’ along the beach as ‘crab hunters’ go about their business.
It’s a place where residents and tourists can be seen walking or jogging along the i’lala palm and strelitzia-lined streets while enjoying the abundance of bird and animal life. It’s also home to ‘The Merry Crab’.
Across the Itongasi River a tavern and a hotel are tucked away along the beach and high above the lagoon to the south – a cafe and a pub. Here you will find Pulpit Rock, another favourite fishing spot. Weather permitting, villagers from both sides converge at the river mouth at sunset to wait for the ski-boats to return with their daily catch of big-game-fish, to haggle over a Rock-Cod or a Yellow-fin tunny..
In calm, clear conditions the rocky reef formation, containing remains of shellfish, fish species, plant material and petrified wood is a wonderful snorkelling spot and as the fossil beds lie a short distance from the shoreline, at low spring tide it is even possible to wade out and examine these ancient remains.
This little sea-side resort was named in the late 19th century by missionary relatives of the great sea lord, Viscount Horatio Nelson, after the decisive naval battle in 1805 where the French and Spanish fleets were defeated by the English under their famous forebear.
Not surprisingly, names of many illustrious and famous English seamen were selected as street names. However, while this fascinating Indian Ocean landmark with its wide grassy verges, subtropical vegetation, undulating terrain and expansive pristine beach has warlike namesake origins, it is, in reality, a quiet piece of paradise.
Uniquely different, Palm Beach boasts its own Nature Reserve, estuary and natural tidal pool. The calm waters of the estuary are ideal for (beginner) wind-surfing while the reserve offers self-guided walking trails through its riverine forest, a bird-watcher’s paradise. South of the mouth of the estuary is reputed to be one of the best wind-surfing spots along the coast.
Named after the feathery (protected) i’lala (‘Sleeping’ palm – used in the making of bed mats & also known as vegetable ivory because of its rock hard ‘fruit’) found on the dunes, Palm Beach has a diversity of log homes, fishermen’s cottages and luxury villas which add to its charm while a superette, pub and restaurant are ideal meeting places for holiday makers and locals alike.
The 66 hectare Mpenjati(‘Warring Buffalo’) Nature Reserve straddles the Mpenjati River between Palm Beach & Trafalgar Beach. Made up of a system of interlinking wetlands, grasslands and majestic dune forests, the (1.8km long) Yengele trail on the North bank climbs and winds through one of the largest dune forests on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. It is habitat to forest antelope, porcupine, otter and a host of bird species, including the majestic Fish Eagle. The slightly shorter Ipithi (‘Duiker’) trail on the South bank is home to bushbuck, blue and (the rare) grey duiker, the magnificent but shy (nocturnal) genet cat and also a prolific cross-section of bird life.
Leisure Bay is another link in the chain that forms Glenmore Beach/Munster, Palm Beach & Trafalgar Beach. If one were to have the choice of ‘where to live’ it would be extremely difficult as each area has its own particular attributes – Leisure Bay, too, being blessed with one of the most awesome beaches along the South African coast. (It has been said that we have the most unspoilt and the most picturesque beaches in Natal – we KNOW we have!)
Cavernous rock crevices entice snorkellers, coves & inlets form inviting bays for swimmers & surfers and superb stretches of fine pristine sand – a sun-worshipper’s Mecca – not to mention the protective outcrops of rocks which, at low tide, serve as fishermen’s platforms and the rock pools – a toddler’s delight.
Varied animal and plant life, some thought to have been extinct, abound in all areas but, apart from the nature reserves, are more concentrated here, with the abundant stretches of admiralty reserve, their natural habitat. Amongst these species are the Vervet monkey, the blue and rare grey duiker, bushbuck, otter, monitor lizard and the nocturnal Genet cat. Bird species include the Fish Eagle, Crowned and Trumpeter Hornbills and the elusive Purple-Crested Loerie.
Kilometers of pathway hugging the high-water mark links Leisure Bay to Glenmore Beach, the hotel and other amenities. It’s also ideal for early morning or late afternoon walks. Quaint homes and large mansions line leafy lanes, some holiday cottages and some permanent residences.
Leisure Bay, the largest of all the areas, has the longest stretch of beachfront with three shark-protected beaches from which to choose and, being the furthest south, is the closest of the four resorts (a 10 minute drive) to the Wild Coast Sun & Casino and the bustling town of Port Edward.