Umkomaas, South Africa, sits fifty kilometers southwest of Durban and seventy-five kilometers northeast of Port Shepstone on the south coast of KwaZulu Natal and is world famous for its diving opportunities. The small resort town has a long beach that is battered year round with big waves and gives surfers a chance to strut their stuff, too. The town sits on the banks of the Umkomaas River, after which it is named, and is also a popular spot for local fishermen, particularly at the estuary.
Umkomaas is a small place and easily negotiable by foot with a handful of restaurants and a supermarket as well as the usual selection of small shops on the main street. It's a quiet place where you can snooze to the sound of the lashing waves before the early-morning call for your dive.
Ostensibly, Umkomaas is a town for divers. There are a number of diving outfits in the small town that are very professionally run and popular with tourists. There is a volcanic reef called Aliwal Shoal, about five kilometers off shore that harbors many different species -- for example, Ragged-Tooth, Hammerhead, Zambezi, and Copper Sharks; Electric and Manta Rays; and a diverse range of tropical fish species as well as turtles. The June to July "Sardine Run" brings many dolphins and whales close to shore for the feeding frenzy.
In the late nineteenth century, The Nebo sank on the shoal, and The Produce sank almost a hundred years later, giving divers the chance for some wreck diving here, too.
Most of the diving outfits, including your Umkomaas, South Africa hostel, also offer shark-cage diving. Hostels in Umkomaas, South Africa may be centered around diving; your Umkomaas, South Africa hostel is basically a dive center that provides backpackers' hostel accommodation for its guests. You don't have to take a diving course to stay at a Umkomaas, South Africa hostel, but a vast majority of their guests do. There are a handful of backpackers' hostels in Umkomaas, South Africa on this stretch of coast between Durban and Port Shepstone, making this part of South Africa easily accessible for budget travelers. While most of the other hostels are mostly for the surfing fraternity, a hostel in Umkomaas, South Africa is the divers' mecca!
Umkomaas is accessed from Durban most easily by the Metrorail and from Port Shepstone by minibus taxis. The R102 coastal road passes through the town and the faster N2 highway passes a couple of kilometers west of town.
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