Sunday, 2 December 2012

Secrets of Umkomaas: The Mystery of the Missing WWII Plane in the Umkomaas River

Not many people know about the WWII plane that is buried in the marshy waters of Umkomaas river. Here’s what we found out for you!

On the 30th March 1944 during a routine practice battle formation, two Kittyhawks (5067 piloted by FO Brown) and 5006 (piloted by PO Smith) collided in mid air.

5006 managed to make a forced landing next to the river and pilot Smith escaped with his life. The second plane was not so fortunate; Brown was unable to bale from the plane and went down with the craft on the south bank of the Umkomaas river near the site where Saicor is today.

In the 1980s a group made numerous attempts to recover the wreckage of the craft but at the time the exact location of the plane was unknown and the site simply not found. After much speculation about the whereabouts of the sunken Kittyhawk, another group managed to locate it but the wreckage has been left in place because the pilot is still aboard and at the request of his family the site was declared a war grave and therefore it cannot be moved.

The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an American single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft that first flew in 1938. The P-40 design was a modification of the previous Curtiss P-36 Hawk which reduced development time and enabled a rapid entry into production and operational service. The Warhawk was used by the air forces of 28 nations, including those of most Allied powers during World War II, and remained in front line service until the end of the war. It was the third most-produced American fighter, after the P-51 and P-47; by November 1944, when production of the P-40 ceased, 13,738 had been built, all at Curtiss-Wright Corporation's main production facilities at Buffalo, New York.

Warhawk was the name the United States Army Air Corps adopted for all models, making it the official name in the United States for all P-40s. The British Commonwealth and Soviet air forces used the name Tomahawk for models equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C, and the name Kittyhawk for models equivalent to the P-40D and all later variants.

6 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns with 150-200 rounds per gun
250 to 1,000 lb (110 to 450 kg) bombs to a total of 2,000 lb (907 kg) on three hardpoints (one under the fuselage and two underwing).

The South African air force had three squadrons of Kittyhawk deployed during WWII.

Famous South African kittyhawk pilot
Jack Frost: SAAF, the highest scoring air ace in a South African unit, with 15 victories (seven on the P-40); missing in action since 16 June 1942.

Umkomaas is a gem of history and interesting places to visit. When you book your accommodation and stay at Ocean Park Guest House,  speak to Lana about the local places of interest; we’d be happy to point them out.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Mini Breaks Make You Live a Longer Healthier Life -Ocean Park Guest House - Accommodation Umkomaas

Photo credit: 11th

According to leading psychologists, people who take short mini breaks throughout the year maintain an overall better state of contentment and happiness than those who save up for one big holiday per year.

Romantic get-aways and mini breaks make for many more happy memories than extended holidays. According to Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, Professor at Duke University North Carolina and author of "The Upside of Irrationality" suggests that holidaymakers rather break up the big holiday time by doing work in between; this allows them to have a better appreciation of the time off.

It also comes down to the ebb and flow of holiday enjoyment apparently. As a person becomes accustomed to being on holiday and the lifestyle that comes with it, the less they tend to enjoy it. Professor Ariely says:"On a long vacation, day seven is less good than day one because it's not as exciting. That's why in general, going away four times [a year] provides more benefit than you would expect, and going away for one week provides less benefit than you would expect." So you'll enjoy more of your mini break than you would of an extended holiday, overall.

Short trips and mini breaks also have some wonderful health benefits such as:

Improving your overall cardio health. According to research, people who took only one vacation once every six years or less were almost 8 times as likely to develop heart disease as those who took at least 2 holidays annually. The Framingham Heart Study followed 12,000 men listed as "at risk" for heart disease over nine years and those who took more vacations lived longer.

It will improve your mental health: In a study published by people who took frequent mini breaks were less likely to become depressed, tired, or tense. The same study showed that those who took holidays less frequently tended to have more insomnia and general stress at home.

Holidays tend to increase your energy levels and improve relaxation. Getting in some extra sleep on a mini break helps jumpstart good habits and may lead to maintaining higher energy levels and general fitness even after the break.

The benefits of short breaks don’t stop there. Taking mini breaks throughout the year provide excellent opportunities for family gatherings and activities. Going away as a family two or three times a year allows you to spread the quality time you spend together over a longer period of time. According to "Booking holidays in this way also means that some members of the family who may not be able to make it to one vacation through work or study commitments might be able to go to another and therefore don’t miss out."

Low season is upon us, and Ocean Park Guest House is inviting you to take advantage of our very special Mini Break offer.

(Valid until 5 December 2012)
Monday to Thursday 20% discount
Friday – Sunday 15% discount

Normal rates between R 370 – R 400 per person sharing & R 440 – R 470 per person single.  Rates are inclusive of a delicious continental and cooked breakfast.

Contact Lana on  or +27 (0) 39 973 2657

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Umkomaas: Your Gateway to the KZN South Coast

Umkomaas can certainly be best described as the gateway to the KZN South Coast. It also boasts one of the premier Dive Locations in the world - Aliwal Shoal. Ocean Park Guest House was established with all this in mind, this luxurious Accommodation venue in central Umkomaas is perfectly situated to use as a base to explore the South Coast.

With its old colonial style grace and charm Ocean Park Guest House is a Four Star establishment, graded by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa and Superior Accommodation by the Automobile Association.

The rooms are classically appointed with all the amenities one would expect from superior accommodation. Top quality Percale Linen, Air-conditioning, Satellite TV, Hospitality Tray, Mini Bar, Safe and Wireless Internet is standard in all rooms. The property is fully secure with electric fencing, secure off road parking, alarm system linked to an armed response company and each room has its own key alarm.

The house also offers Guests the opportunity to practice their golfing skills on its own private 6 Hole Putting Green before a round of golf on the oldest Golf Course on the South Coast. Shops, restaurants, beach and dive centres are all within walking distance. A stunning entertainment area complete with a fully stocked bar, Lapa, Braai facilities and a large swimming pool to relax by.

Meals are served in a lovely dining and lounge area, outside on the balcony or around the pool if you prefer. Ocean Park Guest House is Diver ‘friendly’ with facilities to wash and hang wetsuits, as well as safe storage for dive equipment.

Personal service is given to assist with all your holiday and diving requirements.

Contact Us Email:
 Tel: +27 (0) 39 973 2657 Fax: +27 (0) 39 973 2898 Cell: +27 (0) 76 627 5747

Directions to Ocean Park Guest House: 
N2 going south from Durban or the airport Craigieburn / Umkomaas exit Turn left (Turn right and go over the bridge if coming north from Port Shepstone) Follow the road until you reach a four way stop. Turn right into Robinson Street. Over the hill ... and you can’t miss us on the left. 12 Robinson Street, corner of Harvey Street – opposite the soccer field.

 Local Attractions 

 Umkomaas is famous for the internationally renowned Aliwal Shoal, a fossilised sand dune of sponges and corals which is home to the Ragged Tooth Shark, Tiger Sharks, Whale Sharks and the wrecks of the “Nebo” and “Produce”.

 There are various dive operators in Umkomaas and dive courses, shark dives and speciality dives can be arranged. The "Hope Shop" is in the heart of Umkomaas and is very popular with locals and tourists alike.

This gem of a shop offers exciting and unusual shopping with a magical mixture of funky clothing, jewellery, local handcrafted gifts, African curios, art & drums and decor – an absolute must and well worth a visit!

Umkomaas golf course is an 18 hole course which is heavily wooded and bunkered and is well regarded to test players whilst providing stunning sea views. Between the rolling green hills and sparkling ocean you will find 'Croc World', Scottburgh’s beautiful swimming beach, craft shops and markets, world class surfing breaks, nature reserves and deep sea fishing from Rocky Bay.