Umkomaas is a small coastal town along the south coast of KwaZulu Natal. Located 48 km south of Durban, the town was formed when its harbour was constructed in 1861 to export sugar. The town sits alongside the mouth of the River uMkhomazi (also known as the Umkomaas River), and opens up into the subtropical waters of the Indian Ocean.
The origin of the town's name stems from the river's marine history. Named by the Zulus, uMkhomazi translates into "the place of cow whales," due to the large number of whales that would use the estuary as a nursery, and give birth in the shallows. Diving in the region has grown in popularity due to its proximity to the Aliwal Shoal, a volcanic reef approximately 5km offshore.