Umhlanga ‘whalebone’ Pier due for upgrade

The Umhlanga Pier. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)

The Umhlanga Pier. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 28, 2023


The iconic whalebone pier on Umhlanga Beach, north of Durban, will be undergoing an upgrade over the next couple of months and will receive some new features before the festive season tourism influx.

The 7.5-metre-long luminous platform will undergo reinforcement and restoration, with a focus on the concrete foundation, Ward 35 councillor Nicole Bollman confirmed.

The steel-reinforced concrete structure was originally built to get rid of the storm water, but when the Pearls of Umhlanga development came along, the city looked for a better way to get rid of the storm water, Andre Duvenage of the Architects Collaborative told Umhlanga Rock Tourism.

The Umhlanga Pier will also get a new paint job and fresh mosaic.

The Umhlanga Pier was opened in 2007, according to Sabinet.

"The contractor's main project would be to apply Penetron to the concrete structure - Penetron is a chemical concrete additive providing total concrete protection to commercial, industrial, and infrastructural components.

"While the contractor is busy with the Penetron, which will result in the pier being closed to the public, the contractor will also be upgrading the mosaics (which have become tatty over time) and adding some extra artwork features, again highlighting the internationally recognised pier and Umhlanga on the socials.

"The contractor will begin setting up and bringing materials to site from tomorrow, August 29th, 2023, with the completion date scheduled for November 2023," Bollman said.

In the early 2000s, Duvenage and urban designer Nathan Iyer were looking for ways to improve the Umhlanga Rocks Promenade, according to Umhlanga Rocks Tourism.

The plan was to route all storm water pipes to the ocean while keeping the place looking like a Blue-Flag beach.

The eThekwini Municipality then hired a company called Leomat Construction to build an underground stormwater channel from the intersection of Lagoon Drive and Tanager Road to the promenade.

The culvert was built from Lagoon Drive running down McCausland Crescent. Picture: Google Maps

Leomat had to channel the stormwater underground for about 400 metres from the intersection to the promenade, where Duvenage did the rest.

IOL also reached out to the municipality to find out what the project is likely to cost taxpayers and is awaiting their response. We will update once we have received the information.