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Ballito is a small but well-known town in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.
The town is mostly known as a holiday destination for South Africans and foreign visitors alike, due to its picturesque seaside setting and agreeable climate. In more recent years, the town has seen exponential growth and development, with an influx of population (many of whom are seeking to escape the busy nearby city of Durban). As a result, many new residential areas and estates have been built, as well as a number of schools, shopping malls, and commercial business parks. The name of the town translates to “little ball”, and was borrowed from an advertisement by Ballito Hosiery, based in St. Albans, England.
The Ballito area was first inhabited by Nguni speaking people, who migrated along the east coast of South Africa and established settlements along the way. It was in this area that King Shaka, one of Africa’s greatest military leaders, was born and established his empire, which stretched for more than a thousand kilometers inland. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, Europeans began settling in the area.
The establishment of sugarcane farms in area surrounding what would become Ballito was to have a lasting impact on the region, as it drew considerable numbers of permanent settlers and migrant workers to the region. The town of Ballito itself was initially part of a larger sugarcane plantation owned by Basil Townsend. Various developers began to identify the area’s potential to become a private township, and in 1953, Glen Anil Development Corporation/Investments established the township of Ballito with this in mind. Plots of land originally sold for around R790.
By the end of 1954, Ballito had officially been declared a town, and was upgraded to a borough in 1986. Brochures were circulated advertising the town as the “Caribbean of the North Coast”, and encouraging investment in the area. Its unique atmosphere and setting secured its reputation as a favourite holiday destination and resort town, and Ballito has grown steadily ever since.
Ballito is located along a stretch of the North Coast that is known as the Dolphin Coast, so named due to the common appearance of these animals along the shoreline. It is situated approximately forty kilometers north of the major city of Durban. The town forms part of the KwaDukuza Local Municipality as well as the iLembe District Municipality.
As a fairly new town, Ballito’s landmarks are not many. The most prominent feature of the town is of course Ballito Beach, along with the many resorts and hotels that can be found along the coastline here. Salt Rock and Shaka’s Rock, as well as some historical battlefields nearby, are also popular tourist attractions in the area.
Ballito is home to approximately 19,234 people, at a population density of around 870 per square kilometer.
The majority of the population is Black African, with English being the most commonly spoken first language in the area.