KZN South Coast a top events destination as SCTIE welcomes the 2023 Ocean Festival

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The year-round great weather and unmatched natural resources make the KZN South Coast an ideal events destination. This year, South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise (SCTIE) is excited to welcome the first-ever Ocean Festival to the Scottburgh area, starting on World Oceans Day (8 June) and concluding on 11 June with a surfski and surfing contest.

“The KZN South Coast has a long history as a leading MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences, and events] destination and we’re excited that new events are being added to the local calendar, particularly those that support the conservation of our natural spaces,” commented Phelisa Mangcu, CEO SCTIE.

“Just last year we were proud to be chosen as the host destination for the impactful 2022 Conservation Symposium which welcomed 215 to the Scottburgh region. The Ocean Festival continues this conservation trend by celebrating World Oceans Day while showcasing our incredible natural attributes through a series of family-friendly events and activities. This time of the year is also when we welcome the annual Sardine Run and Humpback whale migration, so there are many reasons to head to the KZN South Coast shores this winter.”

Barry Lewin, Event Organiser of Ocean Festival, said the first event was right on track, attracting major sports stars, conservationists, and committed individuals to the region: “We are excited to be organising a number of positive events in celebration of World Oceans Day as a way to encourage as many people as possible to acknowledge and understand the importance of the oceans. We have an extensive programme lined up that will cater to all tastes, hinged on the World Oceans Day theme Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing.”

Ocean Festival 2023 Programme

Visitors to this year’s Ocean Festival can look forward to some great ocean-based action, including:

  • A Beach Clean-up in partnership with SAAMBR, ORI, and Sea World
  • World Oceans Day River Clean-up in partnership with Legends Kayaks
  • Conservation Speaker Session in partnership with SAAMBR, ORI, and Sea World featuring Maryke Musson sharing turtle research and Dr Ryan Daly on the Shark Tagging Project
  • Ocean Festival Coastal MTB Social Ride in partnership with Renishaw Hills.            
  • Ocean Festival Movie Night
  • Yoga session by The Yoga Studio
  • Keep Scottburgh Beautiful Beach Walk / Clean in partnership with Keep Scottburgh Beautiful and Halfway Toyota
  • Made for More Surf Contest      
  • Ocean Festival Event & Live Music featuring Qadasi & Maqhinga

Top surfers will also be descending on Cutty Sark Beach for the Cutty Sark Pro presented by SMTH Shapes surfing contest sponsored by SMTH Shapes, Premier Resort Cutty Sark, Halfway Toyota, and Instinct. The event, which is running from 10 to 11 June will have R10 000 in prizes up for grabs, and is the entry point for the re-launch of Shaun Tomson’s epic Instinct surfwear brand! Contact Gill at or 083 965 4344.

Sunday, 11 June the ocean action continues with the Leatherback Rum Surfski Challenge at Cutty Sark Beach and Aliwal Shoal. World champion surfski competitors will be in attendance, competing for R50 000 worth of prizes. More information is available at @aliwalshoalsurfski on Instagram and Leatherback Rum Aliwal Shoal Surfski Challenge on Facebook.

Visitors can also catch local artist, Giffy Duminy, in action as he paints a mural on the bridge to Premier Resort Cutty Sark in Scottburgh, with sponsorship from Apex Environmental. In celebration of World Oceans Day and the Ocean Festival, Giffy is creating an ocean-themed mural that acknowledges the incredible marine life found at the nearby Marine Protected Area, Aliwal Shoal.

Check @theoceanfestival on Instagram and Facebook, and website for the most updated Ocean Festival programme details.

KZN South Coast Activities

With top-quality accommodation, conference venues, and some of the best nature-based activities for teambuilding and fundraising, the KZN South Coast continues to dominate as a MICE destination. The area is also considered The Golf Coast owing to the 11 quality golf courses found here – the ideal location for closing the deal on the greens!

The slight drop in temperatures also brings the #greatestshoalonearth to the KZN South Coast – the annual Sardine Run! Visitors can enjoy an ocean safari, going out to view the marine action on a charter boat, snorkelling, or even diving at the Marine Protected Areas and world-renowned dive sites, Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks.

The Sardine Run action can also be enjoyed from the KZN South Coast’s Blue Flag beaches, with the region home to the highest number in the province! The KZN South Coast also sets the bar for most tidal pools, providing protected bathing for visitors year-round.

Hiking, biking, and 4×4 adventures are best enjoyed in the hinterland, where the KZN South Coast’s gorges, valleys, waterfalls, and nature and game reserves are just waiting to be explored. There’s a variety of established tours, including the Mission Tourism Route, 8km Weza Hiking Trail, 71km Umzumbe River Trail, KwaNzimakwe Experience, and Wild 5 Adventures. The newly launched Nyandezulu Experience, just 9km from Shelly Beach, consists of a guided hike to Ntantana Mountain overlooking the 90m Nyandezulu Waterfall.

Don’t miss out on the latest SCTIE tourism adventure being launched later this month – the 38km Beach-to-Beach Hike. From here, visitors can enjoy sightings of the Sardine Run and migrating whales while enjoying the beautiful coastline.

Keep updated on KZN South Coast happenings

SCTIE launched the Meeting Planner Guide to assist corporates and conference organisers in accessing information for business conferences, meetings, teambuilding events, and accommodation requirements. To access the KZN South Coast Meeting Planner Guide, visit

Keep updated on all the Sardine Run action by visiting South Coast Tourism on Facebook; South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise on YouTube; @infosouthcoast on Twitter or Instagram; and South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise on LinkedIn. Follow the hashtags #greatestshoalonearth #sardinerun #sardinerun2023 #kznsouthcoast #extendyourstay #seakznsouthcoast

SCTIE has also put together a 3-day Sardine Run Tour Package that includes diving, fishing, surfing, ocean safaris, helicopter or microlight flips, as well as hinterland experiences. To find out more about this, get in touch with local tourism operators, or discover more about KZN South Coast sites and events, visit the website, check out the Events Calendar, the KZN South Coast Meeting Planner Guide and more! And click here to check out previous SCTIE press releases.