Did you know?
The name 'Umhlanga' means 'place of reeds' in isiZulu.
The Umhlanga Farmers’ Market has two major attractions – regional fresh produce at very reasonable prices, and authentic home-made Indian treats that alone are worth the excursion.
Regional produce in this subtropical area of South Africa includes exotic fruits and vegetables such as mangos, litchis, avocadoes, paw-paws, pineapple and eggplant. The fresh fruit juice stand is a popular stop-off in the steamy weather.
Fresh trout from the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, which lie an hour or so inland beyond Pietermaritzburg, is a fish lover’s must, while trout patés and products (mousse) make for great picnic items when lunching at the beach just down the hill, especially when combined with the freshly baked breads for sale.
This food market in Umhlanga is popular for its freshly made Indian specialties. Never had a bunny chow? Well, here’s your chance. Bunny chow is a hollowed out loaf of white bread filled with an aromatic curry of your choice. This area is also famous for its spicy treats like chilli bites and samoosas – pastry triangles filled with curry mince, potato and cheese, corn or mixed vegetables.
If spicy scares you, then biryani, with its heady perfume but mild tastes, is the recommended introduction to Indian food. Biryani is an Indian festival dish that features aromatic rice, spiced potatoes and yoghurt, and either chicken or lamb pieces steamed to fall off the bone.
Food markets in KwaZulu-Natal are community driven and the Umhlanga Farmers’ Market has great regional colour thanks to the diverse range of people offering their wares. Food prices in the Umhlanga area can be on the steep side, so this market delivers a real service by providing affordable, fresh produce and food items in a very accessible location that is a five-minute drive up the hill from the main hub of Umhlanga.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Umhlanga Farmers' Market
Autumn Drive, Prestondale, Umhlanga
Tel: Martin on +27 (0)84 840 2646
Umhlanga Tourism Information Centre
Tel: +27 (0)31 561 4257
How to get here
The Umhlanga Farmers’ Market is located in Autumn Drive in Prestondale, Umhlanga. To get there, take the N2 north from Durban. Take the Umhlanga Rocks exit (M41). Turn right on to the M41. From the M41 turn left on to Umhlanga Rocks Drive, continuing on this road until it takes you to Herrwood Drive. Autumn Drive is off this road Herrwood Drive.
Best time to visit
Being a coastal town, Umhlanga is a year-round destination. The market itself is open every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm.
Around the area
Don’t miss a visit to the Gateway Theatre of Shopping or any of the area’s glorious beaches. You can also spend a fun day at uShaka Marine World in Durban
Tours to do
Take a boat ride with the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board and learn about the predators of the deep.
You can either organise a transfer or taxi from your hotel or pop along in your own car if self-driving.
What will it cost
Entrance to the market is free. The fresh produce is very reasonable, but expect to pay a little more for deli items. The Indian dishes are well priced, starting with the snacks, like the chilli bites and samoosas, which cost just a few rands each.
Where to stay
There’s no shortage of excellent accommodation in Umhlanga. Try the Beverly Hills Hotel, Teremok lodge or the Oyster Box Hotel – all five-star establishments in the area.
What to eat
Umhlanga is home to a large Indian community, and so is renowned for its authentic Indian food. A local biryani, curry or famous bunny chow is an absolute must when visiting the area.
Fresh produce and tropical fruit (in season).