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Legend has it that when the Zulu King Shaka tasted the water in 1828, he said ‘Kanti amanzimtoti’, meaning ‘So, the water is sweet’, from where the name of Amanzimtoti originated and also marks the start of it’s colourful cultural heritage.
For decades Amanzimtoti was included within a colonial-decreed ‘Native Reserve’, a circumstance that endured until 1928, when it was surveyed as a ‘White Town’. During the intervening years the settlement witnessed the railway’s official opening in December 1897, the construction of its first hotel early the following year and the hotel’s destruction by fire one year later.
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A Station Master was appointed in 1902 and this placed Amanzimtoti firmly on the map as a budget holiday destination, and within another 30 years it grew to more than 700 European inhabitants, with only Margate a little bit more to the South having more.
Municipality status was achieved in September 1952, about 50 years after arrival of the first Station Master. Currently it falls under the Durban Metropolitan Municipality.
Inyoni Rocks (Inyoni meaning Place of Birds) is situated on the Northern side of Amanzimtoti’s beautiful bathing beach. Situated to the Southern side along the beach are the two suburbs of Doonside and Warner Beach. Toti is linked by road and rail to all major centres adding to the reasons making it a perfect destination for the traveller. If travelling by road and stopping to visit the Dick King homestead, make sure it’s all for the right reason as it’s also where the local traffic department has it’s headquarters.
Toti offers superb white sandy and scenic beaches with numerous safe swimming facilities, unsurpassed rock, shore and deep sea fishing. All beaches offer safe swimming, (offshore shark nets), wide stretches of sand and gentle lagoons. Winklespruit, Inyoni Rocks and Pipeline beach are perfect for the whole family. Whether swimming in the ocean, fishing, surfing, or playing volleyball on the beach there is something for everyone.
All beaches are monitored by lifeguards during the day. If you’re an early riser, you can watch the Sharks Board ski-boats launch for the daily checking of shark nets. The Kwa-Zulu Natal region’s coastline of +-160 Kilometre’s, South of Durban is well known as a holiday playground. The warm Indian Ocean sea water temperature on average is 22 degrees Celsius, enjoyed by swimmers all year round.
With it’s diverse fauna and flora and tranquil natural beauty it offers just as much Kwa-Zulu Natal inland as it does on it’s beaches. One can also have a braai (barbecue) or picnic at the preserved riverbank area by taking one of the self guided Loerie, Mongoose or Mpiti trails which start near the town centre.
Toti is also renowned for watersports such as surfing, paddle skiing and windsurfing. Ski boat trips can also be arranged. Around July the extremely popular annual Sardine Run takes place starting from Sodwana Bay, you can grab a bucket and join in the excitement of scooping up these little fish as they beach, if you don’t, you’ll definitely want to sit down and watch the birds dipping and diving after the fish.
The Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary consists of a large expanse of open water surrounded by rolling lawns and gardens on one end and indigenous riverine forest on the other. An easy half hour self guided trail winds itself through the forest and is a haven for birdlife. From any of the three bird hides one has an opportunity of seeing many of the 150 bird species in the sanctuary, such as resident Spurwing Geese, White Faced Duck, Greenback Heron, Giant Kingfisher and Hamerkop.
You can also get up close and personal with the awesome creatures at Crocworld at Scottburgh. Experience a feeding frenzy with their daily feeding, or something different at The Crocodilian Restaurant where the speciality is Crocodile steaks.