NB: All proposals subject to budgets, community feedback, environmental impact analysis, planning, and council approval.


History of the Bluff

The traditional Zulu name for the Bluff is isibubulungu, a term with two possible meanings. It either describes the long, round shaped ridge or, the “white man’s bluff”- a reference to the fact that it became the first refuge for white shipwreck survivors. The English word bluff refers to a headland or cliff with a perpendicular face. The Bluff forms an attractive thick green belt beach-side area of Durban. The Bluff headland encloses the bay of Natal and is of extraordinary geographical and environmental significance. As a regional landmark, it is visible from great distances, both inland and from the sea. Though dominated by whaling and military usage for the past 150 years, the latter “fortress” use allowed many of the ecological systems to survive. With water on three sides, it also has the qualities of an island. The Bluff’s long history with whales can now be reinvented to represent a protective haven and the premiere whale watching destination within KwaZulu-Natal.

Did you know?

The Bluff ridge is a remnant of an extensive coastal dune system that formed along the shoreline of KZN between 2 to 5 million years ago. At that time the KZN shoreline was about 120m below its present level and the edge of the continental shelf about 15km seaward. At the end of the last ice age, some 10 000 to 18 000 years ago, the sea level rose to about its present position.

Why the Bluff beaches need an upgrade?

The Bluff is one of the best places in South Africa for whale watching, a prime area to hosts events, a major potential contributor to the economy of the area. Yet, all this great potential is not capitalized on or openly celebrated. The Bluff community’s love of coastal and other community building sport is not strategically provided for. All these present major opportunities for the upliftment and economic growth of the area, and for fostering a vibrant, diverse and secure beach environment. The unique Bluff coastal belt presents significant opportunities to design environmentally sensitive, quality lifestyle beach amenities. This in turn would contribute significantly to the upliftment of the surrounding areas and to the general improvement of to the quality of life for residents. The beaches contribute significantly to the character and impression of the bluff and the quality and richness of the beach experience. They are therefore a major key to ensuring the status of the area is improved upon and that the great potential of the area is realized. The aim of the Bluff Beach upgrade - It’s every citizen’s right to enjoy the best a public amenity like the Bluff beaches have to offer. EThekwini Municipality recognizes the Bluff’s pristine beaches as assets that must be protected and capitalized upon. 

The aim of the Bluff Beach upgrade is to: 
  • Promote public access to the beaches 
  • Capitalize of the existing asset base of the area
  • Create economic development opportunities that attract tourism 
  • Create safe, aesthetically pleasing and resilient beach environments 
  • Respond to both community needs and pressures exerted by climate change

What this means for you, the residents?

  • The upgrade will boost not only property values close to the beaches but the whole Bluff area.
  • Beaches will be visually appealing, enticing the public for a day of fun out in the sun
  • There will be plenty of activities and amenities to cater for a variety of recreational/entertainment needs 
  • Vibrancy of the area will contribute to averting security risks
  • Attracting tourism and creating opportunities for small businesses to be established and flourish
  • Creating a legacy of environmental awareness, sustainable use and enjoyment of natural resources for future generations

A wonderfully unique beach experience


New opportunities are possible through activating Strand road by pedestrianizing the section of beach between Anstey’s and Brighton which is underused and perceived as unsafe. This could cater for new activities such as cycling, gym tracks, jogging, rollerblading, skating, markets, eventing and cafes, as well as beach-related sports such as surfing, body boarding, wind surfing, surf skiing, paddle skiing, snorkelling , scuba diving , hang gliding, paragliding, spear fishing, ocean swimming, body boarding, beach soccer, beach volleyball, beach rugby, kite surfing, canoeing, life-saving.


The 800 meter section between Ansteys and Brighton beach is lacking in destination value and currently serves primarily as an access road to Brighton. This stretch of beach - larger than Brighton and Ansteys combined - presents opportunities to create a unique Active Coastal Marine Park. This would improve and protect its high environmental value and ensuring the existing character of the area is maintained. An Active Coastal Marine Park would offer scenic areas for recreation and cater for activities such as bird watching and game spotting, whale and dolphin viewing and snorkelling. These activities would be centered along the proposed boardwalks. The Park will enrich the lives of those that engage with this coastal greenbelt setting within the confines of a major city, and also create a legacy of environmental awareness, sustainable use and enjoyment of natural resources for future generations.


Custodianship of the beaches is required due to the rundown state and dated and problematic layout of the area. Security, and law and order, will follow from effective management. There exists a lack of sustained custodianship at the beaches due to the run down state and dated and problematic layout of the area, a major contributing factor to the high incidences of lawlessness that undermines the potential of the area. There are many isolated areas along the Bluff coastline, which contribute significantly to lawlessness and of inviting negative elements into the area. These factors represent key guidelines and challenges around which the proposals address with an integrated approach. It is proposed that Satellite Police Stations be established at the beaches, especially during their popular times. These satellite stations generally consist of one room. Security cameras need to be installed that pan the popular beach areas, and, similar to such cameras installed by the municipality at North Beach, would allow access from the general public via the Municipality’s website. Additional measures could include emergency telephones in strategic locations. Improving access and encouraging more visitors through upgrading local facilities will facilitate increased surveillance and safety generally. This could be achieved through a free WiFi facility for surveillance and enabling the public to view beach conditions and report incidents.


The challenge from an urban economic design perspective is to ensure that standards in terms of economic and housing infrastructure are improved to such an extent that a substantial increase in the value of residential properties will be noticeable over time. At present, much of the Bluff catchment areas spending power is leaked from the area and spent in other areas due to the lack of local opportunities and amenities. The beaches have the potential to be destinations that afford people the opportunity to spend money in the area by providing for diverse experiences for a variety of age and income groups. While there have been substantial improvements in nominal household income in the area since 2000. Middle-income households account for 55.95% of households in this market and 3.82% are classified as high-income. Their combined disposable income value account for 89.49% of market value. It is thus a predominant middle- income market in terms of spending power. 

Opportunities exist for amenities that promote beach usage throughout the week and all year round. The aim should be to create more full time job opportunities to serve the tourism trade. Currently even day visitors to the beaches are limited to what they can spend due to the lack of amenities. There is a growing number of bed and breakfast establishments in the area catering to a growing demand for their services. The area currently has limited and scant opportunities for tourists to spend their money, representing a significant income stream loss. The current amenities are either lacking or dated and there is still a potential for growth in the retail sector particularly in the food and services sector. Uplifting the area will attract tourism and create opportunities for employment at all levels. The Whale watching and providing access to the other natural assets of the area together with sporting, tourism, leisure and eventing presents significant economic opportunities for the area.


The Bluff and Durban South beaches offer unique and accessible destinations for eventing. The area would be suited to hosting the following events, for example:  


Competitions for  many sporting types; Triathlons ((jogging, walking, cycling) and biathlons 5km, 7,5km,15km and 20km races,  Angling and Spear fishing competitions at Cuttings;  Environmental beach run from Anstey’s to Cuttings; Combined beach sport festival 


The Whale Festival, the Sardine Run Festival, Get to know your Coastal Environment
Festival, The Treasure Beach Environmental Schools Festival and related events, Trails experiencing the bird and animal life in the coastal forest 


Concerts at the beach (music, theatre, competitions), talent shows and pageant festivals, combined sport and entertainment Beach Festival, Kids Beach Festival, and Markets.

Land Use Zoning

Opportunities, from an urban planning perspective exist for the establishment of alternative commercial and business destinations at neighbourhood level. Adding economic value by encouraging such facilities would require improvements to infrastructure, recreational facilities, commercial facilities, and parking provision. The dated retail and commercial facilities of existing shops and businesses detract from the quality of the built environment in general and especially the areas overlooking the beaches. Rezoning the current land use zones in selected areas would encourage incremental changes through private initiative towards more intensive, diverse and specialised developments. Such rezoning proposals could apply to Anstey’s and a possible rezoning of Brighton as a potential tourism node with related sustainable all-year round job opportunities will result in better economic prospects for the overall area.

Access to the South Durban Beaches 

Access to the Bluff Beaches is generally viewed as a problem for visitors from outside the area. Anstey’s and Brighton are accessible from the N3 Freeway via circuitous routes, and parking is limited at Anstey’s. The route to Treasure Beach requires local knowledge and the parking area giving access to the beach is lacks landscaping, lighting and security monitoring. By contrast, Cuttings is directly accessible from the N3. It is a regional node, attracting diverse interests such as fishermen, picnickers, Hindu and Shembe religious devotees. The Cuttings, which currently lacks even basic beach amenities, presents the most attractive area for a future regional recreation node in the medium to long term.  There is a lack of proper signage to the South Durban beaches and better, clear and strategic placed signage from the feeder routes to these beaches should be provided as a matter of priority.

Access to Brighton Beach 

The increased population of the Bluff, coupled with high risks of storm and sea level rise damage to the Cave Rock section of Foreshore Drive, require the opening up of the existing lower section of Strand Road down to Brighton Beach. This road forms part of the original sub-divisional plan from the early 1930’s, as well as the original (1966) and current Town Planning Schemes. At present, the isolated dead-end aspect of Brighton via Anstey’s is the major reason why this beach is not developed to its full potential and also plagued by social, security and management problems. This is further aggravated by the limited parking and congestion at Anstey’s during peak holiday periods. As Anstey’s is the only access to Brighton Beach this poses a challenge for emergency and security personnel to access the site should the need arise. The police whose station is in close proximity to the beach are required to travel via Anstey’s to access the beach, a distance considerably greater than if they were to access it directly. Opening up this road will significantly improve the development potential of Brighton Beach considering that it has far greater parking capacity than Anstey’s and also allow quick access to emergency and security personnel.

Bluff Beaches - Active Green Coastal Park

Each of four Bluff beaches have a different charm. They vary in activities they support and in character as well. The proposed interventions are particularly chosen to enhance the existing character of each beach. The upgrade promotes both the interests of the coastal environment and the need to increase public spending on the facilities and maintenance of existing buildings and infrastructure in an economically sustainable way. A key focus of the proposed interventions is the provision of access to the wonderful assets of the area and organizing these assets to economically benefit the area, whilst being respectful of the intimate old world charm of the sensitive coastal environment. The area between Ansteys and Brighton Beaches can be turned into an active, green, coastal park. The proposal is to view the coastal bush and shore environment together as representing a coastal park region. While Ansteys and Brighton are somewhat developed the natural coast between them can be further developed to create a continuous active green coastal park stretching from Anstey’s Beach to cuttings.

Cuttings Beach 

The area presents a number of unique design challenges. The lack of fore dune means any construction will be susceptible to damage due to sea level rise. The water discharged from the existing channel is the most likely cause for the lack of fore dune. Structures constructed will have to be on stilts as the forested hill behind the structures have slip lines. This will allow for sand to pass under the buildings in the event of any slippage.

Interventions will include: 
  • The north bank is to be reinforced with geo-synthetic containers. 
  • Parking is to be reinstated and a satellite police station is to be established. 
  • A pedestrian boardwalk with a fisherman’s club is to be constructed to the northern swimming and fishing beaches. 
  • Access to the South Bank is to be created by way of a bridge across the canal and a weir is to be constructed. 
  • A new pier and tidal rock pool is to be constructed 500m from the canal mouth. 
  • The canal will be greened in the medium to long term. 
  • An environmental park, information centre and picnic areas are to be established on the South side.

Treasure Beach 

Treasure beach is an environmental asset, spectacular at low tide, and should be protected for the enjoyment of future generations. The idea is to link it to WESSA, the environmental education precinct in the area. Not many interventions are planned near the beach apart from the upgrading of existing ablution facilities and the provision of a cycling/jogging boardwalk to connect Treasure Beach to Brighton and WESSA. The car park, however needs significant improvements if it is to become a desirable destination.

Interventions will include:
  • Upgrading of the existing ablutions and security lighting,
  • Refurbishment of parking area and stairway access,
  • Creation of small commercial opportunities for vendors at the upper car park,
  • The positioning of signage at strategic points,
  • Construction of new viewing decks and a boardwalk for jogging and cycling, a picnic park,
  • New environmental park at WESSA,
  • A proposed new restaurant/ takeaway facility with deck overlooking the sea,
  • Proposed new shaded picnic area,
  • Ablution and change room facilities at the beach.
Anstey’s Beach 

The idea is to create a restaurant precinct at Ansteys. This will activate the area during the day and night and afford visitors and tourists access to the beach which is a defining feature of the Bluff, at all times. Positioning of restaurants will allow for views towards the north which are currently cut off by existing change rooms. The aim is to create destination areas, promote activity and serve as a way to market the area.

Interventions will include: 
  • Foreshore Drive is to become predominantly pedestrian.
  • Construction of a new surfer’s clubhouse,
  • Viewing decks and a boardwalk for jogging and cycling,
  • A skate park and new picnic area on existing vegetation north of Ansteys.
  • Refurbishment of existing facilities.
  • Commercial and business investment are to be encouraged.
  • The transitional area between bush and paddling pools is to be integrated and offer an inviting space.
  • Plant trees for shade and green landscaping to improve visual appeal.
  • The positioning of satellite police office for combined community police organisations, and
  • Signage at strategic points.
  • Undertake dune restoration on D’MOSS areas.

Brighton Beach 

The idea is to create a true sporting destination activity precinct that supports over 28 coastal sporting activities throughout the year. The formalisation of these activities will sustainably activate and support the area economically and make it possible to initiate important empowerment programmes. The existing road is to be converted into a planted park area with a bicycle lane, outdoor gym area. This also offers the opportunity to reconstruct four dunes into one continuous dune, enhancing the environmental value of the area by enhancing the sense of a beautiful unspoilt stretch of beach, making it more resilient towards climate change threats. The unique coastal park to be situated behind the dune and designed in such a way as to support large events.

Interventions will include: 

  • Extension of Strand Road to Brighton Beach for ease of access for the public and emergency vehicles. 
  • The existing road is to be narrowed and predominantly pedestrian with a turning circle and whale sculpture at the end. 
  • Area to be rezoned as Sports and Recreation Park. 
  • Construction of a new surfer’s clubhouse, viewing decks and a boardwalk for jogging and cycling, a skate park and new central sporting and additional parking for events hosting. 
  • Refurbishment of existing facilities such as walkways, ablutions etc. 
  • The positioning of signage at strategic points. 
  • Undertake dune restoration on D’MOSS areas and green landscaping for shade and overall visual appeal.
Artist Impression



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