The holiday season has arrived, and one of the key takeaways from 2020 is that there’s no time like the present to #GoMakeMemories with beloved family members. Fortunately, the KZN South Coast is brimming with affordable, family-friendly activities, and as part of Ugu South Coast Tourism’s (USCT) Thokozela Ihlobo! Celebrate Summer campaign, they’re sharing the best the area has to offer.
“When it comes to family holiday destinations, the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom has long been a favourite spot with its many beaches, nature reserves and child-friendly activities,” said CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT), Phelisa Mangcu. “This year, through our Thokozela ihlobo! Celebrate Summer campaign, we’ll make sure it’s truly a memorable experience for all families holidaying on the KZN South Coast.”
1. More than 58 swimming beaches
There’s nothing quite like a day of family fun at the beach, and the KZN South Coast has 58 incredible golden, sandy beaches to choose from – including five with Blue Flag status. Sandcastle building, beach games and water sports can be enjoyed, and there are many tidal pools for safe swimming.
2. Mountain biking
Those wanting to view the sights and sounds of the beautiful KZN South Coast by bike are spoilt for choice. There are many well-maintained biking routes, with the area boasting a number of leading mountain biking competitions, including joberg2c, sani2c, and the 5-stage South Coast Fever MTB Series. Some biking routes to try include:
– Burry Stander Bike Park in Umtentweni: 079 493 7499.
– Lake Eland Game Reserve in Oribi Gorge: 082 851 6687 or www.lakeeland.co.za.
– ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest in Harding: 082 927 9335 or www.anewhotels.com
– Beaver Creek Coffee Estate in Port Edward: 039 311 2315/47 or www.beavercreek.co.za.
– Clear Water Trail Centre in Port Edward: 083 549 6710 or www.clearwatertrails.co.za.
– Red Desert Nature Reserve in Port Edward: 039 695 0460/083 631 9331.
3. Horse and pony rides
Experience the KZN South Coast from the back of a horse (or pony for the little ones) by booking through one of the local establishments. Anyone, from newbies through to experts, can enjoy a trot along the beaches, or meander through the cane fields following a local guide. Riding facilities can be found at:
– Selsdon Park Estate in Trafalgar: 083 301 2941, 082 451 9827 or www.marinabeach.co.za.
– Wild Coast Sun Hotel & Casino: 039 305 9111 or www.suninternational.com/wildcoastsun.
4. Animal farms
Animal conservation is an important part of KZN South Coast ethos, and there are a number of animal and reptile parks established around this. Families are kept engaged with tours, talks and animal feeding at these stunning establishments. Among them are:
– Crocworld Conservation Centre in Scottburgh: 039 976 1103 or www.crocworld.co.za.
– Pure Venom Snake & Reptile farm near Shelly Beach: 082 965 0932.
– Butterfly Valley Butterfly Farm in Ramsgate: 073 422 5357.
– Riverbend Crocodile Farm in Southbroom: 039 316 6204 or www.crocodilecrazy.co.za.
5. Fun on the farm
This rich agricultural area consists of a number of farms that open their doors to visitors, giving a sneak preview of farming behind the scenes. From coffee and bananas through to animal farms, there’s so much to be explored here. Visitors are welcome at:
– BBS Farm in Umtentweni which farms of exotic tomatoes, green peppers, bananas and macadamia nuts: 079 568 1815.
– Banana Farm Tours in Southbroom: 039 316 6204 or email@example.com.
– Mac Banana Estate & Adventures include Mac Venture Golf, the Butterfly Dome, the Bird Viewing Deck, archery, paintball, banana tours, pony rides, the Adventure Park and play area: 039 319 1033 or www.macbanana.mobi.
– Beaver Creek Coffee Estate near Port Edward: 039 311 2315/47 or www.beavercreek.co.za.
With hundreds of local bird species inhabiting the many stunning coastal nature reserves on the KZN South Coast, families can tick off sightings on their list while hiking through forests, crossing streams and resting near waterfalls. Some of the nature reserves to visit include TC Robertson, Vernon Crookes, Bendigo, ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest, Mpenjati, River Valley and Umtamvuna. Rare vulture sightings are on the cards at Oribi Vulture Viewing Hide, and visitors can also see the world’s smallest desert in the Red Desert Nature Reserve in Port Edward.
– Oribi Vulture Viewing Hide: 072 893 3794 or www.vulturehide.blogspot.com.
– Red Desert Nature Reserve: 083 631 9331 or www.reddesertnaturereserve.co.za.
7. Game drive
The enigmatic Lake Eland Game Reserve near Oribi Gorge is a great venue for day visits, offering self-drive game drives to view a variety of wildlife. There are also horse rides, bike trails, 4×4 trails and picnic sites, with an on-site restaurant and tea garden alongside a children’s playground.
– Lake Eland Game Reserve: 039 687 0395 or www.lakeeland.co.za.
8. Adventure activities
The older kids will enjoy the many extreme adventure activities found in the Paradise in the Zulu Kingdom. Wild 5 Adventures at Lake Eland has a 110m abseil, foefie-slide, 85m suspension bridge, white water rafting on the uMzimkhulu and paintball. For a unique nature-based heritage experience, families (children aged 8 and over) can visit the KwaXolo Caves, home to historical San rock paintings dating back centuries. There is a guided hiking route with visitors securely harnessed as they walk along the mountainside, enjoying views of the valley and waterfall.
– KwaXolo Caves: 076 185 3447 or 074 887 3742 or the ‘KwaXolo Caves Adventures’ Facebook page.
9. Running and walking trails
Active families looking for adventure are treated to many running and walking trails throughout the KZN South Coast. Some of the venues to try out include TC Robertson Nature Reserve, Rocky Bay Resort, Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve, Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, River Valley Nature Reserve, Beaver Creek Coffee Estate, Bushbuck Trail, Clearwater Trail, ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest. There are also dedicated Saturday morning parkruns at Umdoni and Uvongo, as well as Wild Coast hiking trails through Voli Travel.
– Uvongo and Umdoni Parkrun: www.tourismsouthcoast.co.za or 039 682 7944.
10. Casting a line
From those looking to learn a new hobby, through to the dedicated anglers, will find the perfect place to cast a line along the 120km shoreline – as well as the many rives and dams. Two renowned fishing spots are Uvongo Fishing Pier and Margate Fishing Pier, and there are several companies dedicated to renting or selling fishing equipment.
11. Picnics in nature
The aforementioned nature reserves, Lake Eland Game Reserve, KwaXolo Caves, beaches, dams, rivers and waterfalls are all ideal spots for a family picnic. The KZN South Coast has many famous eateries and shops that can provide the required picnic basket assortment!
12. Whale viewing
The annual while migration season finishes in December, giving visiting families the chance to view the ‘tail end’ of this incredible aquatic sighting from the Pennington Whale Deck, the Umtentweni Whale Deck, the Ramsgate Whale Deck or the Southbroom Whale Deck. Alongside the Humpback and Southern Right whales, dolphins can be spotted surfing the waves.
Experience the KZN South Coast on the water by hiring a canoe from one of the many suppliers based at St Michael’s, Uvongo, Margate and Ramsgate. They will gladly show you how the equipment works and ensure all safety gear is provided.
14. Great drives out
Keen 4×4 adventurers who prefer to explore the ‘road less travelled’ with some rich heritage are spoilt for choice in the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom. There’s the Umzumbe KwaDweShula Batsones, Nyandezulu Cultural Experience, KwaXolo Caves Adventures and KwaNzimakwe Cultural Experience.
15. Quad biking
Get kitted out and hop on a quad bike for some off-road adventures at Mac Banana Estate’s Mac Quads. All participants have to be 16 years or older to enjoy this fast-paced, four-wheeled activity along the dirt roads amidst the stunning banana plantations.
– Mac Quads: www.macbanana.com or 039 319 1033 or 039 319 1454.
The mysticism and history of shipwrecks can be discovered at a number of sites along this treacherous shoreline. For divers, there are many ships that met a tragic end, waiting to be explored below the water, such. These include the Nebo which sank in 1884, and the Produce which sank in 1974, near the world-renowned dive site, Aliwal Shoal. There is also The Uni XII at Pennington, The Nevonia at Umzumbe, The Nightingale at Palm Beach, The Ivy at Glenmore, as well a Port Edward’s Sao Joao and Sao Bento. On the Port Edward beach, families can view the Sao Joao Portuguese Monument, erected on North Sand Bluff to commemorate the souls lost in 1552 when the Portuguese ship sank in the shallow waters off Port Edward.
17. Wild Waves Waterpark
A day of endless entertainment can be found at Wild Waves Water Park, located at the Wild Coast Sun, home to some of the continent’s best water slides. It’s time to splash about on these aquatic rides, slides, tubes and plunge pools at one of the most sought-after Eastern Cape attractions.
– Wild Waves Water Park on 039 305 4800 or www.suninternational.com/wildcoastsun.
The holiday memories can be enriched with a visit to one of the area’s top museums. Get to know local heritage of this spectacular area by visiting the Port Shepstone Maritime Museum, Margate Art Museum, Pistols Saloon Museum in Ramsgate or the Munster Motor Museum.
19. Surfing and kitesurfing
With some of the best surfing spots in the world, the KZN South Coast offers visiting families the perfect opportunity to ‘hang 10’. There are many establishments that hire out surfboards as well as kitesurfing equipment for those seeking something different. Some of the most popular beaches to try include Scottburgh, Umzumbe, Lucien, Southbroom and Port Edward.
After a long hike in a nature reserve, there is nothing quite as welcome as the revitalizing sound of cascading waterfalls, inviting the tired traveller in for a dip. The KZN South Coast is overflowing with scenic waterfalls waiting to be explored, among them Hoepoe Falls, Lehr’s Waterfall and Samanga Waterfall in Oribi Gorge, as well as Uvongo Waterfall and Nyandezulu Waterfall.
To #GoMakeMemories on the KZN South Coast, simply download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app on the Apple Store or Google Play, or visit www.visitkznsouthcoast.co.za. Alternatively, follow the KZN South Coast on social media – ‘South Coast Tourism’ on Facebook and YouTube, or @infosouthcoast on Twitter and Instagram.