Sinead Moodliar, 19, was holidaying in the country for Christmas last year when the “tragic” and “catastrophic” incident unfolded on Boxing Day.
The model and philosophy student at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge reportedly went to see the sunrise at Umhlanaga Rocks, near Durban, when the powerful wave swept her off the shore.
Cambridgeshire’s senior coroner David Heming said: “This is a tragic, catastrophic accident.
“Sinead had gone to a beach area to witness the sunrise.
“While standing on a rocky area, a powerful wave washed her into the sea.”
Horrified members of the public reported hearing Sinead screaming at around 5.15 am.
“We cannot come to terms with the fact she’s no longer here”
Sinead’s parents Bob and Noelenn Moodliar, from Wilburton, Cambs, heard how their 19-year-old daughter was later pulled from the sea and resuscitated but later died in hospital.
Mr Moodliar said he spoke to his daughter while she was in a restaurant on Christmas Day and she “seemed well and bubbly”, and she later went to the beach.
A post-mortem carried out in nearby Durban, found a head injury consistent with striking the rock and that she had died from complications after nearly drowning.
Mr Heming, extending his condolences to the family, said: “These are unforeseen incidents that nobody ever caters for.”
Father-of-three Mr Moodliar, who operates a franchise of Subway restaurants, said after the inquest: “We absolutely miss our daughter.
“We cannot come to terms with the fact she’s no longer here.”
He said the family feels as if she is still on holiday.