WHAT I FOUND ABOUT ACCOMMODATION IN THIS AREA:
• Officially the Dolphin Coast lies between the Tongaat River and the Tugela River, but I focused on the 30-kilometre stretch between Umdloti and Salt Rock. I specifically went looking for a cottage or house with a garden, right on or walking distance to the beach. I found the best pickings at the southern end of Umdloti (south of the roundabout as you enter this still surprisingly small hamlet) and in Shaka’s Rock/Salt Rock.
• A number of houses ticked the ‘location’ box but were tatty and run down. Online photos are often out of date; it may be worth asking the owner what maintenance they undertook in the last year. A house next to the sea needs constant TLC.
• Trawling online for self-catering options is more challenging than looking for hotels and B&Bs, so beachhouseletting.com was a useful find. Otherwise, I sifted through the usual accommodation websites.
• Ballito, also on this stretch of coastline, is pretty built-up, with mostly townhouses and apartments to rent. Chas Everitt ( lighthouse.co.za) has a large selection, of which I liked La Ballito 506, La Mer 8, Villa Med 2 and Villa Royale 2. Ballito is cheaper than Umhlanga, but if a holiday apartment appeals more than a house I’d still pay up for Umhlanga, where the infrastructure is more impressive. (See the April 2017 issue of Getaway for my choices.)