23 summer bucket list outings on the KZN South Coast

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It’s time to start the new year with some adventure, and when it comes to truly unique experiences, the KZN South Coast has endless opportunities. From relaxing at the seaside to extreme ziplining, there’s a great variety of bucket list adventures to be ticked off in the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom.

“There’s a definite feeling of excitement this year with many visitors looking to experience something a bit daring, or simply a bit different,” said Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE). “We also tend to see quite a lot of bleisure travel now as well, but whether you’re coming for business, leisure or both, the KZN South Coast is the perfect place to start. There’s something here for everyone, and to better guide visitors, we’ve put together a list of 23 bucket list outings for 2023!”

1.       58 golden beaches

From Scottburgh to Port Edward there are 58 great beaches to be discovered, open and ready to welcome visitors. The KZN South Coast is also home to the highest number of Blue Flag Beaches in the province, underscoring the commitment to safety and cleanliness, as well as some of the country’s best surfing spots.

2.       Ocean adventures

The maritime activities extend beyond the beaches with two world-renowned diving sites found at Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks. These are two of three Marine Protected Areas found here, with Trafalgar adding to the great freediving and snorkelling sites. Charter boats are also available for whale watching, deep-sea fishing, and diving.

3.       The Wild Coast Sun Resort

With its unspoilt beaches, golf course, casino and water park, Wild Coast Sun in Port Edward remains a family favourite in the Sun International stable. The resort has undergone multi-million-rand upgrades, including the addition of the country’s first indoor Skypark which consists of 21 rope obstacles on a skytrail, and a built-in zipline skyrail.

4.       The Wild 5 Extreme Adventures

This award-winning adventure offering in Oribi Gorge includes a range of adrenaline-pumping activities such as the Wild Gorge Swing – the highest swing of its kind – which drops 55 storeys; and the 80-metre cable suspension bridge which takes adventurers 130 metres off the ground.

5.       Lake Eland Game Reserve

Enjoy some African adventure in this Oribi Gorge-based reserve where visitors can enjoy a self-drive game drive or bike ride through the African savannah. Thrill-seekers must try the Lake Eland Zip Lines – the longest zip line tour in Africa that includes 14 lines starting from the top of Oribi Gorge.

6.       Great picnic and braai spots

Whether visiting Lake Eland Game Reserve, one of the area’s 10 nature reserves, or the shores, there are fantastic picnic and braai spots to be found throughout. Hike among the local wildlife and take in magnificent views while enjoying some local cuisine.

7.       Ultimate hiking trails

Hiking and trail biking are popular activities enjoyed along the KZN South Coast and there are many well-established trails to accommodate this. This includes the Umzumbe River Trail and Weza Hiking Trail – both launched in 2022 – as well as ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest Resort, and Clearwater Trails. As part of the Great Drives Out, visitors can experience the hinterland through the KwaNzimakwe Multi-Trails by hiking, biking, or 4×4.

8.       Go-karting

Speed freaks can head to Margate to try out the Xtreme Karting where drivers get to race it out on the tracks, or even test their skills on the paintball field.

9.       Dezzi Raceway

Head to Port Shepstone to discover the only Motorsport South Africa-approved racing track in KZN – Dezzi Raceway. This includes two purpose-built drift circuits for some fast-paced entertainment, with motorsports events organized throughout the year.

10.   Cascading waterfalls

Definitely go chasing waterfalls on the KZN South Coast, found within some of the most scenic reserves. There’s Lehr’s Waterfall in the densely-forested Oribi Gorge; the nearby Samango Waterfall named after the charismatic monkey; and the 23m Uvongo Waterfall which plummets into one of the deepest lagoons in the country. Take a guided hike as part of the culturally authentic Nyandezulu Experience to Ntantana Mountain overlooking the 90m Nyandezulu Waterfall; or embark on the 8km Weza Hiking Trail from the iKhwezi rural area, finishing at a real hidden gem, the Mkhoba Waterfall.

11.   Great restaurants

From quick and easy takeaways to award-winning fine dining, the KZN South Coast knows how to do food right! This coastal location is renowned for its great seafood which can be enjoyed from the many top-quality restaurants overlooking the Indian Ocean.

12.   Retail therapy

Visitors looking to indulge in some retail therapy will find what they need on the KZN South Coast which boasts a number of great shopping centres. Hibiscus Mall in Margate, and Southcoast Mall and Shelly Centre at Shelly Beach offer a quality shopping experience, with a number of local traders selling handcrafted goods. 

13.   Fun on the farm

This subtropical location is a farming haven, and visitors can enjoy exploring the agricultural offerings through the Agri-CULTURE Tours, as well as more than 20 adventure activities at Mac Banana Estate & Adventures in Munster. Learn more about local reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids at Crocworld Conservation Centre in Scottburgh, or Riverbend Crocodile Farm in Southbroom, with beautiful winged creatures found at the Ramsgate-based Butterfly Farm.

14.   A view from the skies

Take in an aerial view of the KZN South Coast with a flip in a microlight, helicopter, or light aircraft. World of Wings in Umkomaas offers microlight flips for views of Aliwal Shoal, Scottburgh and the lower South Coast; while the Margate-based Uvongo Airtrack Aviation offers scenic helicopter and aeroplane flights for a great aerial view of the coastline.

15.   Shipwrecks

History buffs can’t miss out on the opportunity to learn more about the KZN South Coast’s treacherous maritime past through its many shipwrecks. These include the 1933 Nightingale Shipwreck in Trafalgar, a steam vessel that ran aground on the rocks of Glenmore Beach owing to the heavy fog; as well as the 1552 São Joao Shipwreck in Port Edward when a vessel from Portugal to India ran aground.

16.   Oribi Vulture Viewing Hide

Near Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve just outside of Port Shepstone is this incredible vulture viewing hide where families can enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of observing Cape Vultures in their natural habitat.

17.   Beachside horse rides

Selsdon Park Estate in Trafalgar gives visitors the chance to view the coast via horseback excursions which take riders along beaches and into the farmlands and coastal forests. Guides are on hand to assist everyone from beginners to equestrian professionals.

18.   Coffee farms

Beaver Creek Coffee Estate & Mpenjati Coffee. The world’s southernmost coffee plantation near Port Edward has a great Crop to Cup walkabout tour; the Beaver Creek Coffee Estate Café which serves breakfasts, snacks, cakes and baked goods; as well as biking along some of the best trails.

19.   The world’s smallest desert

Just 10km west of Port Edward, within the Red Desert Nature Reserve, visitors will stumble upon the world’s smallest desert. The Red Desert is 200m in diameter and 11ha in entirety – well worth a bucket list visit!

20.   Award-winning spas

This is the year to release all the stress and tension with a visit to one of the KZN South Coast’s many award-winning local spas. Visitors can extend their stay at a local resort, retreat, or eco-sanctuary where mind, body, and soul can be replenished with spa treatments, meditation, and yoga.

21.   21 tidal pools

In addition to having the highest number of Blue Flag Beaches in the province, the KZN South Coast also boasts the province’s highest number of tidal pools. These 21 tidal pools provided protected bathing along this beautiful shoreline.

22.   Sweetdale Night Market

The award-winning Packshed restaurant in Margate hosts the popular Sweetdale Night Market on the last Friday of the month from 6pm to 10pm. Visitors can enjoy local crafts, food, and drink from over 45 vendors paired with live musicians in a secure, magical and romantic setting.

23.   Crafters

Support local craftsmanship and come away with quality-made leather shoes and sandals from S’Khumba Crafts based in Southbroom. Polka.dot.coco in Umdoni specialises in handcrafted accessories using locally sourced material, while Ndovies Creation makes beautifully styled, traditional clothing. Iconic beaded crafts can be sourced from Stand and Shine in Umzumbe, Nqubele Holdings in Ray Nkonyeni, and Itshalo Lamachi in Umuziwabantu.

To find out more about these – and more – bucket list adventures on the KZN South Coast, download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app from Google Play and Apple stores. Follow the hashtag #kznsouthcoast #extendyourstay #endlessopportunities.

To find out more about the KZN South Coast’s tourism offerings, download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app from Google Play and Apple stores; visit the South Coast Tourism on Facebook; South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise on YouTube; @infosouthcoast on Twitter or Instagram; Info Ugu South Coast Tourism on LinkedIn; the SCTIE website to check out the Events Calendar, the KZN South Coast Meeting Planner Guide and more! And click here to check out previous SCTIE press releases.