Located on the Mkhomazi River, for which the town is named, Umkomaas was formed in 1861 when the harbour (now disused) was built to export sugar. The estuary here was used as a nursery for whales, prompting the name uMkhomazi – place of the cow whales. In 1944, the village was the site of a fatal crash of a War Hawk Air Force Plane after a mid-air collision.

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