With leisure day trips allowed, many are taking advantage of the incredible KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) winter weather by getting outdoors and enjoying the selection nature-based activities. For those seeking an area that boasts a wealth of diverse, family-friend day adventures all in one space, there is nowhere better than the KZN South Coast.
“One of the messages we’re constantly hearing is that being outdoors is one of the safest options for excursions during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT), Phelisa Mangcu. “The KZN South Coast is fortunate in that it offers visitors a range of recreational and adventure activities at our many natural sites. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy here.”
Located an easy 45-minute drive from Durban along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, the KZN South Coast is perfectly situated for a family day trip. Here’s a top 10 list of the available activities.
1. Hiking and bird watching
For those who enjoy the cool, refreshing feel of hiking in a natural coastal reserve, then the KZN South Coast is the ideal choice. With 10 nature reserves – including Clearwater Trails and Ingeli Forest – and numerous walking trails, there is ample opportunity to get close to the area’s indigenous bird and wildlife.
2. Game viewing
Situated in Oribi Gorge, Lake Eland Game Reserve consists of 2 500 hectares of diverse ecosystems, home to a variety of wildlife and natural vegetation. Visitors can now enjoy the African bushland up close by visiting this KZN South Coast gem.
3. 4×4 excursions
For the thrill-seekers, the region has a number of 4×4 excursions, including the recently-established KwaNzimakwe Multi-Trails, which form part of the USCT Great Drives Out initiative. Motorists can take a drive along the scenic 15 to 20-kilometre course that traverses the Mpenjati River Valley.
4. Delicious dining
Stretching 120km from Scottburgh to Port Edward and inland to Harding, this area has no end of quality dining options. Visitors looking for something a bit sweet can stop in at Mac Banana, a working banana plantation; or the famous Waffle House. Other famous pit stops include Beaver Creek, Packed Shed, and The Dog House – a particular treat for those with canine companions.
5. Non-stop Adventure
The KZN South Coast is well-known for its adrenaline-inducing activities, one of which is the Wild Gorge Swing – part of the award-winning Wild 5 Adventures. Based at Oribi Gorge, visitors are securely harnessed before undertaking an exhilarating 55-storey free-fall accelerating up to 120km/h. But if the highest worldwide gorge swing is too much, then there’s also the incredible KwaXolo Caves Adventure. This harnessed system guides visitors to the naturally- and culturally-significant caves, adorned with prehistoric rock paintings by San people.
6. A golf tour
This region has been coined ‘The Golf Coast’ because of its 11 immaculate, oceanside golf courses, ranging in difficulty. From the 18-hole championship course at San Lameer, to the captivating scenery of the Scottburgh Country Club semi-links course, there is a green for every golfer.
7. Oceanside excursions
The 120-kilometre coastline consists of 58 idyllic beaches, five of which have Blue Flag status. While bathing is not yet permitted, families can enjoy beach walks on the promenade, benefitting from endless ocean views and the fresh sea air.
8. Beachside horse riding
Selsdon Park Estate, 20 minutes from Shelly Beach, offers an incredibly unique experience in beachside horse riding. A wonderful experience for those wanting something truly memorable.
9. Desert trekking
Although this coastal region doesn’t generally bring to mind desert terrain, the KZN South Coast actually boasts the world’s smallest desert. The Red Desert, located 10 kilometres from Port Edward, is just 200 metres in diameter and consists of rich, red soil that once held archaeological artefacts.
10. Whale viewing
Between July and November, migrant Humpback and Southern Right Whales can be spotted moving northwards along the coast. Visitors can witness these massive mammals from a number of spots, including the Umtentweni Conservancy Whale Deck, Ramsgate Whale Deck, and Umdoni Golf Club Whale Deck. This year has had some magnificent whale sightings of Humpback whale calves and increased numbers of Southern Right Whales. Visitors can also spot Bottlenose Dolphins from the viewpoints, and the annual Sardine Run – a globally renowned biomass migration – is a bucket-list must.
To find out more about sites and activities on the KZN South Coast, download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app from Google Play and Apple stores or visit www.visitkznsouthcoast.co.za. USCT is also on social media – follow the ‘South Coast Tourism’ Facebook page, or @infosouthcoast on Twitter using #travelsouthcoast #tourismsouthcoast #kznsouthcoast.