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30 minutes north of metropolitan Durban, surrounded by lush fields of sugar plantations behind, and unbroken golden stretches of tropical beach to the front, the coastal town of Ballito has become the premiere holiday resort of South Africa, and increasingly one of the most sought after out-of-city residential areas on the East Coast. Originated in 1954 as a private township, and formally named in 1966 after a glossy advertisement for Ballito Hosiery Limited, today the town of Ballito comprises a thriving community of both seasonal holidaymakers and residential family dwellers, with a superb selection of shopping both in town centre and within close proximity, a vast range of sports activities and natural attractions on offer, easy access to top quality schooling, and even a thriving high-tech business district of its own.

It doesn’t take much to see how Ballito earned its reputation as a top tier holiday resort. The beaches of the Dolphin Coast – so named because schools of bottlenose dolphins can frequently be spotted playing in the waves – are amongst the best in the country, and range from broad, safe, cordoned family areas, hidden alcoves, rock pools and surfing waters to game fishing and diving hotspots. Willard Beach, a Blue Flag zone, is the main strand of Ballito, with lifeguards, shark nets and surfing competitions. Further afield, Zimbali Beach has 3km of pristine coastline, with a striking contrast of rich forest with the calm blue Indian Ocean. In fact, visitors should be encouraged to explore, as this remarkable coast yields constant surprises of natural beauty.

For wildlife lovers, Ballito has an excellent proximity to some of the best game parks and nature reserves in the country. Hluhluwe-Omfolozi Game Park contains almost all of the big game species commonly found in South Africa, including white and black rhinoceros, leopard, giraffe and more. Harold Johnson Nature Reserve is situated north of Ballito and offers walking trails, camping, zebra and top-notch bird watching.

Shoppers are also amply catered for, with three full sized malls in the town itself: Lifestyle Centre, The Junction and The Ballito Bay Mall. And just a short drive to Umhlanga the Gateway Mall is the largest self-contained shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere, with an IMAX Theatre, a wave pool, a climbing wall (the highest in the planet), nightclubs, adventure drives and a skate park designed by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.

As a residential community, Ballito is quickly becoming a target for working commuters overflowing from Durban and overpopulated Umhlanga, still within quite reasonable driving distance from the city, and with access to some of the top schools in the region, families are increasingly drawn to settle there on a permanent basis. Enterprise iLembe was formed to develop the area as an investment hub, and the business community along the North Coast has flourished with a booming economy in recent years. Property prices in Ballito have climbed steadily, and new properties are constantly in demand and tend to disappear almost as quickly as they can be listed. Could the ‘Pearl of the North Coast' be the location of your next ideal holiday or even permanent home?

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