This was once the favourite holiday resort of John Dunn, who was the only white man that was ever recognised as a Zulu chief. It is a popular holiday resort and lies at the mouth of the Mlalaz River (‘place of the sharpening stones’). In Zulu the name Mtunzini means ‘place of the shadow’ as this probably refers to the tall indigenous trees that grow there.
The Umlazi Nature Reserve, proclaimed in 1948, covers 900ha and includes a piece of coastline, a mangrove tree mangrove and the Siyayu dune bush. The coastal lake is the breeding place of the endangered white vulture.