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15 hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered on the KZN South Coast

15 hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered on the KZN South Coast
15 hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered on the KZN South Coast

It’s time to start afresh with new adventures in a family-friendly #Safecation destination. #GoSouth to discover some of the best cultural excursions, natural adventures, historical discoveries, retail and dining experiences all found within the beautiful KZN South Coast!

“The region is a well-established tourism destination with endless sites and activities to explore,” said Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT). “But even some of our regular visitors would be surprised to discover the many ‘hidden treasures’ that are found along our coastline and within the hinterland. This year calls for exciting adventures with loved ones, which is why we’re sharing some of the KZN South Coast’s best-kept secrets for everyone to enjoy.”

1. KZN South Coast shipwrecks
With its extensive yet treacherous coastline, the waters off the KZN South Coast are home to many shipwrecks with shoreline museums sharing the fates of these intrepid travellers. Visitors can peruse the ancient relics at the Port Shepstone Maritime Museum or take a stroll around the Sao Joao Portuguese Monument in Port Edward which tells the tales of the 1552 Sao Joao shipwreck. Other shipwrecks divers can explore include The Uni XII in Pennington, The Nevonia 1934 in Umzumbe, The Nightingale 1933 in Palm Beach, The Ivy 1876 in Glenmore, and the Sao Bento 154 in Port Edward.

2. Clearwater Trails (near Port Edward)
Established in 2003, Clearwater Trails is one of the first purpose-built trail networks in the area with a sustainable and flowing single track. Hikers and cyclists can enjoy panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and Umtamvuna River Gorge. In 2020, Clearwater Trails re-joined Beaver Creek Coffee Estate, which serves as the starting and finishing point for the trail network.

3. Mzamba Fossils and Petrified Forest (Port Edward)
The incredible Petrified Forest has great hikes among the trees which were actually washed downriver and deposited in the area millions of years ago. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the forest which includes viewing the Mzamba fossils, a series of marine fossil beds exposed along the prominent reefs near the Mzamba River.

4. Weza Forest (Harding)
Inland within the forestry plantation is the iconic Ingeli Mountain, at the foot of which is the beautiful Weza Forest nature reserve – also known as Ingeli Forest. Visitors can either enjoy a scenic walk, birding or go biking along the trails, looking out for baboons, vervet and samango monkeys and tree dassies.

5. Sweetdale Ventures (Margate)
Within 120 hectares of lush coastal nature is Sweetdale Ventures, a space for thrilling adventures and family fun. Guests can enjoy mountain bike trails, such as the short 4.1km ride or more strenuous 9.5km ride and 175 elevation gain. There’s also running and walking on the alpine trail for those seeking fitness.

6. Vulture View Hide (Oribi Gorge)
Located near Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve is an ecologically significant site where the endangered Cape Vultures gather to feed, mate and nest – all of which can be safely viewed by birders. Photographers and nature lovers can enjoy the special privilege of viewing this breeding colony of around 150 Cape Vultures up close.

7. Pistols Saloon & Wild West Museum (Ramsgate)
It’s time to strap on those chaps and boots, and saddle up for a trip to the wild west! Take in the incredible cowboy memorabilia and history of Billy the Kid and Jesse James. There’s lots for the young cowboys and girls to see and explore, including arcade-style games, while the adults can have a drink at the bar and enjoy some toe-tapping tunes.

8. S’Khumba Crafts (Southbroom)
Founded in 1995, this popular crafts’ shop produces authentic leatherwork of the highest quality. Located in a magnificent coastal forest, S’Khumba Crafts designs and produces items made exclusively by hand. This is a must for those seeking retail-therapy with a desire to support local.

9. KwaXolo Caves Adventures (near Margate)
Culture and adventure combine as visitors are led along the mountainside on a unique hiking experience. The iconic caves are accessible through a steel cable-and-rung system where hikers get the chance to view, first-hand, the ancient San artwork adorning the walls.

10. The Cellar Boutique Restaurant (Port Shepstone)
This is an acclaimed KZN South Coast restaurant which promises fine dining at its best. Guests are invited to enjoy an array of flavours by chef Dylan Smith, accompanied by a great selection of local wines. The Cellar also hosts supper club, as well as wine and dine evenings.

11. Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre
More local culture can be experienced at this incredible creative arts and heritage facility which plays an important role in the preservation of the local history. Visitors can enjoy a truly authentic cultural experience, learning more about African history, traditions and indigenous knowledge.

12. KwaNzimakwe Cultural Experience
This is an exciting trail network just inland of the Mpenjati Nature Reserve. Within this hinterland space, visitors can experience the area’s natural beauty as well as local culture and traditions. Hikers, birdwatchers and 4×4 enthusiasts will all find their place along these trails.

13. The Farm Food Factory (Shelly Beach)
This is a great eatery for the health-conscious foodies looking for something away from the hustle and bustle. The food is prepared by owner, Leanne Galloway, who creates mouthwatering dishes using the freshest ingredients centred on ethical and creative beliefs.

14. Good Life Café (Shelly Beach)
Another space for healthy, fulfilling eating can be found at this delightful café. Visitors are invited to enjoy either a sit-down coffee, freshly-pressed juice, smoothie or tasty meal – or go for the drive-thru option. There’s free WiFi available and a children’s play area for families.

15. Munster Motor Museum & Classic Cars
Engine enthusiasts can’t go wrong at this old-timey museum, featuring everything from 2- and 4-stroke internal combustion engines through to rotary engines. There are motoring and motor sports’ memorabilia and images, a library of historical artefacts, and even a nautical section showcasing naval and merchant ship models with illustrated stories of local shipwrecks.

To discover these and more hidden treasures 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, visit the ‘South Coast Tourism’ Facebook page, or follow @infosouthcoast on Twitter