ENJOY A SAFECATION DOWN SOUTH THIS SUMMER
Heading to Margate for the Christmas holidays is as uniquely local as all those GP caravans passing through the toll plazas every festive season – and probably the reason why what is traditionally known as the Hibiscus Coast has been a favourite beach holiday destination for decades.
This year will probably see more local tourists take their breaks on home turf with domestic tourism set to benefit from the Covid-19 lockdown of people’s extra spending money and restrictions on international travel.
However, according to CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT), Phelisa Mangcu, there’s a lot more to the beautiful South Coast than simply sinking your toes into the beach sand or tucking a flower behind your ear.
There’s plenty for water babies but just as much for sports lovers and nature and adventure enthusiasts.
“You won’t have to look far to find a selection of unique and enriching sites and activities that can be found on the KZN South Coast. As an affordable destination offering all manner of nature-based, outdoor activities, the region is the perfect location for those wanting to unwind and reconnect with family after a challenging year. This truly is #ParadiseForEveryone,” she explained.
Here’s what you’ll be doing down South:
Swimming the blues: Within KZN, there are six blue flag beaches – an internationally-recognised demarcation of quality – and five of these are located on the KZN South Coast. With golden sands and the warm, Indian Ocean, visitors can enjoy bathing, surfing, snorkelling and diving along this beautiful coast.
Visiting the world’s smallest desert: Situated just 10 kilometres from Port Edward is the Red Desert. Stretching 200 metres in diameter, this recently-proclaimed nature reserve is also the world’s smallest desert and the site of many archaeological discoveries.
Aliwal Shoal just 5km offshore of the Umkomaas River; and Protea Banks, 8km off Shelly Beach, are both world-revered dive sites, home to a number of ocean creatures. These wondrous ocean sites are both Marine Protected Areas and have prompted numerous international documentaries and attracted an influx of global tourists.
Running with the sardines #GreatestShoalOnEarth: Winter brings the planet’s biggest biomass migration close inshore of the region, giving visitors front-row seats to the ocean-based feeding frenzy. This is a must-see annual spectacle as shoals of silver fish are followed by bigger fish, sharks, dolphins, whales and sea birds.
Swinging to new heights: The KZN South Coast boasts the highest gorge swing in the world.
The Wild Gorge Swing in Oribi Gorge is the highest swing of its kind in the world. Located at the top of Lehr’s Waterfall, the swing is the equivalent of launching off a 55-storey building (165 metres). A definite bucket list addition for any thrill-seeker.
Sinking into the tides: The KZN South Coast has the most tidal pools in KZN. This family-friendly swimming destination has several tidal pools which provide sheltered beach swimming regardless of the surf conditions.
Migrating with the whales: The KZN South Coast sees the annual the humpback whale migration.
Between June and December, more than 30 000 Humpback whales participate in the annual migration which can be viewed from any of the 58 KZN South Coast beaches, and the many oceanside restaurants and cafés.
Heading for the greens: With 11 golf courses alongside oceans and coastal forests, the South Coast is also known as ‘The Golf Coast. The diverse courses can be found at Umkomaas, Scottburgh, Selborne Park, Umdoni, Port Shepstone, Harding, Margate, Southbroom, San Lameer, Port Edward and the Wild Coast Sun.
Racing for fun: Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone is the only Motorsport South Africa (MSA)-approved racing track in the province and the host of numerous prestigious motorsport events. The track includes two purpose-built drift circuits for high-octane entertainment!
Spending wisely: With so many unique, family-friendly holiday activities and a variety of accommodation options, the KZN South Coast is also an incredibly affordable domestic destination for the entire family. With 2020 proving a financially-constrained time for many South Africans, the area is emerging as a prime holiday spot for those wanting to maximise family time without breaking the budget.
Mangcu reassured visitors that USCT is continuously encouraging all tourism establishments to adhere to strict Tourism Business Council of South Africa Covid-19 health and safety protocols to ensure a ‘safecation’ for all visitors.
For more information 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. Alternatively, follow ‘South Coast Tourism’ on Facebook and YouTube, or @infosouthcoast on Twitter and Instagram.