Once or twice a year we take a mini-break of 4-5 days at a timeshare resort in SA, usually in our own Province of KwaZulu-Natal. In August we chose to go down the South Coast to the lovely resort of Club Hacienda in Shelly Beach.

Looking south down Shelly Beach

Looking South down Shelly Beach to the tidal pool

It is a 1.5 hour drive from Durban and, according to the directions we had, it was no. xxxx Marine Drive, Shelly Beach. What you are not told is that towns in this area quite literally run into one another and the road is Marine Drive all the way along! We successfully missed the resort first time as numbers were not always clear but by the time we crossed a river and were in the next town we realised that we had to turn back. After asking an estate agent for directions we found it with ease.

Club Hacienda turned out to be one of the best resorts that we have visited in our timeshare experiences. Very well run and spotlessly clean with friendly, professional but non-intrusive staff from top to bottom. On our first morning we walked into the town of Shelly Beach to find it too clean and friendly. We had beautiful weather so were able to walk all 3 of the mornings that we were there. It is also very easy to get around physically as, even though it is on a bit of a slope there are few, if any, steps and there are easy ways around these.


Our unit

Front of our unit. At the side is a flat path to the back entrance which is stepless

The resort is situated right next door to the Shelly Centre and we enjoyed walking around the Centre and looking at interesting eating places. Two things Club Hacienda did not have which most others do, were an onsite restaurant nor a shop for emergencies but neither was really needed with the Centre so closeby. All of the places we go to are self-catering and we pack food for all but one of the nights and then eat out on the last night.

I liked a few of the eateries in the Centre but Trevor had set his heart on an Indian Restaurant, Green Chilli, which was not in the Centre but actually closer to the resort. We popped in there to look at their menu and the young lady, whom we later learnt was the owner, was adamant that they served a non-spiced dish which would be fine for me. Back to that later.

The resort is right on the beach although one can hardly see it from there as there is a lot of thick vegetation around the border. We walked down to the beach on the 2nd morning to discover that it is not actually a swimming beach right there. There was a tidal pool about half a km to the right (south) and to the left (north) was for fishing, walking, climbing on rocks and just enjoying the beauty of sky, sea and sand. We chose to go left first. 

Facing north

Facing north – we walked to the distant rocks

When we had walked “to the next corner” which was quite a fair distance we sat on some rocks and watched the tide gradually begin to come in. Rocks which were clearly visible when we sat down were, within minutes, covered in water. No matter how often I watch the movement of the sea, I am always fascinated by it. I can’t swim and do not particularly like being in the water but watching this incredible natural act of nature is very therapeutic and restful for me.

As we walked back to our resort I kept looking back to see the water rising up the beach and it became clearer how, during some of the severe rains we had experienced a year before had caused large areas of the beach to have subsided. This meant that the sea could no longer go where it had been before due to the deep erosion. What also fascinated me was the vast numbers of shells on the beach and yet, just a couple of hundred kms up the coast on the Durban beaches, there are none. Then as one travels further north up the coast there are, once again, thousands. Does anyone know why this is?


The erosion of the beach caused by heavy rains a year ago.

The following day we took the right turn on the beach and walked to the tidal pool. There were no swimmers but there were a couple of fishermen fishing from the surrounding rocks. This section of the beach we could see from our chalet and every morning one of them was out very early. At first he was standing far out as the tide was low and as it gradually came up the beach it was interesting to watch him move closer to the beach. Clearly he was accustomed to this as his movements seemed completely organised.Tidal pool

The tidal pool which is empty as it was not holiday season

Right beside the pool was the launch slipway for tourist and fishing boats. Each time a boat launched or returned the siren was sounded and could be heard a long way away. When we first heard it we thought that there had been an incident but soon realised its purpose – if you are near the slipway, MOVE! As we stood higher up, on the sidewalk, a large private pleasure boat came in and the vehicle which was to tow it home reversed down the slipway. After a lot of hard work the crew managed to get it hooked up. Getting back up the slipway proved to be quite a task. Eventually everyone, except the driver, hopped into the back of the SUV sitting right at the back to weigh it down and off they went. My only comment is that I was really glad that it was not my car’s clutch being slipped like that one was.

Boat on th eslipway

The pleasure boat being hooked up to the SUV

For our last evening we went to the Green Chilli Restaurant mentioned above. We were warmly welcomed and found that we were the only guests, Not surprising since it was a Thursday evening out of season. Their Take-Away offering was kept very busy though. The owner kindly brought a tiny bowl of the Korma sauce which was ‘not spiced’ for me to taste. It seemed OK and so I ordered the Prawn Korma which was fine for the first half but gradually what limited warm flavour was included began to let me know of its presence. I did finish it though as it was filled with prawns. Trevor ordered Chicken Tikka which he found very hot and full of bones, but he said that he enjoyed it.. Apparently it is supposed to be mainly bones according to our hostess and she assumed that he knew this as he ordered it with such assurance. She said that he should have ordered Chicken Tandoori instead. What we can say is that, if you like good Indian meals and are in the area, this is an excellent reataurant. They have closed their Margate branch so as to be able to concentrate on one restaurant.

We returned home the following morning and fortunately had decided to leave early as the lead story in the paper the next day was that there had been a police car chase and shoot-out on the freeway with shots fired and a private car hit by the one driven by the criminals. We worked out that we had passed that particular spot just 15mins prior to the events of the morning!