It’s been a cold winter but with the spring sunshine now luring everyone outdoors, it’s time to start planning some new adventures out in nature – but what to do? Ziplining across a gorge? Riding a horse on a beach? Diving with sharks? Hiking to waterfalls? The KZN South Coast has these – and more! – just waiting to be uncovered this spring.
“Spring is traditionally a time of new beginnings and fresh starts, so why not step into this season by trying something new and adventurous?” suggests Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise (SCTIE). “Break that routine and try something fun and exciting in nature. Whether it’s exploring the African bush, pushing your limits with some extreme adventures, or diving into the ocean depths to discover something new, the KZN South Coast has an outdoor adventure for everyone.”
Lake Eland Game Reserve
Where: Oribi Gorge
There’s nothing quite as soul-replenishing as time spent among wildlife in the African savannah! Lake Eland Game Reserve is a chance to encounter indigenous safari animals in their natural habitat, whether on a self-guided game drive, hike, mountain bike ride, or even on horseback. Overnight stays in the African bush, campfires and stars at night, culminating in an exhilarating zipline or game of paintball – there’s endless adventure to be uncovered.
Where: Oribi Gorge
Those looking for a heart-thumping outdoor experience should head to Wild 5 Adventures where unique excursions are offered. Get harnessed into the Wild Gorge Swing, the highest swing of its kind in the world, and jump 55-storeys off Lehr’s Waterfall There’s also the ultimate abseiling experience down the 110-metre cliff face alongside the waterfall; the Wild Slide a ziplining adventure 165 metres above the treetops; or the 84m-high suspension bridge for great views.
Selsdon Park Beach Horse Rides
The KZN South Coast is home to the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the province, one of which – Trafalgar Beach – can even be experienced by horseback. Selsdon Park Estate in Trafalgar offers horseback excursions along the beaches and into the farmlands and coastal forests, with guides able to assist everyone from beginners to equestrian professionals.
The Pont Water Sports
Where: Port Edward
Towards the southernmost tip of the KZN South Coast is the Umtamvuna River which flows through Port Edward, the site of endless water sports activities. At The Pont, visitors can book a speed boat ride which includes tubing – or for a more relaxing time, there’s an hour barge ride for up to eight people at a time, as well as sunset and river cruises…really any water-based activity! Visitors can bring a boat, rent a chalet, and enjoy a weekend of water sports while soaking up the Port Edward sun, or enjoy a delicious cocktail and meal from the on-site bar and restaurant.
Umtamvuna River Lodge Water Sports
Where: Port Edward
Set in a nature reserve along the banks of the Umtamvuna River is this beautiful lodge where visitors can enjoy some laid-back leisure time – and lots of adventure at the private river beach! The protected flat water makes this the perfect spot for boating and fishing, with this site considered South Africa’s premier wakeboarding venue. Guests can learn to wakeboard with instruction given by top international wakeboarders and wakeskaters.
Combine the experience of birding, hiking and culture with the Nyandezulu Experience just 9km inland of Shelly Beach. A local guide will share cultural insight and history while leading visitors on a drive or a hike across the Ntantana Mountain with magnificent views of the 80m-high Nyandezulu Waterfall. There is the chance to stop for a picnic under the shade of a wild fig tree and learn about the traditional healing from a Zulu sangoma. There is also a stopover at the vibrant KwaTata Trading Centre and a walk past the local Shembe Church set atop the Mdlungwana Mountain.
Mac Banana Estate & Adventures
Where: Port Edward
Details: Learn more about the local produce with an informative tour of a working banana plantation which gives an overview of the entire farming process. But Mac Banana is about so much more than just delicious produce! There are more than 20 epic adventure activities for all ages including the Chimp&Zee Rope Adventure Park, paintball, quad biking, and more. Stop in at The Butterfly Dome or try the estate’s world-famous pancakes.
Shark Cage and Scuba Diving
The KZN South Coast is home to three Marine Protected Areas, two of which – Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks – are considered some of the world’s best dive sites. Discover this vibrant underwater world by chartering a boat to snorkel, scuba dive, or freedive among fish, rays, sharks, and more! A deep dive takes explorers to the three-masted Aliwal shipwreck site dating back to 1849. Shark dive operators are also ready to give adventurers an unmissable ocean experience.
Hiking and Biking
The lush nature reserves, epic gorges, farmlands, and coastline make the KZN South Coast a hiking and biking playground. There are endless nature trails for a self-guided adventure, as well as organised trail hikes with a wholesome cultural offering as well, one of which is the 8km Weza Hiking Trail. This takes hikers from iKhwezi rural area to the beautiful Mkhoba Waterfall. There’s also a Beach-to-Beach Adventure Hike extending from Port Edward to St Michael’s beaches; and the 71km Umzumbe River Trail with overnight stays at traditional Zulu homesteads.
Learn something new while getting out into the rural farmlands along the KZN South Coast! The new Mission Tourism Route combines heritage and hiking as visitors discover the history of Roman Catholic Mission Stations across this beautiful landscape. The Agri-Tourism tour gives visitors a taste of the homegrown produce, from bananas and vegetables to coffee, with fun outdoor activities to try including fishing, quad biking, or simply picnicking.
KZN South Coast welcomes biking and 4×4 enthusiasts to its many hinterland locations, including the aforementioned Lake Eland Game Reserve. Another top 4×4 destination is the KwaNzimakwe Multi-Trails which takes adventurous motorists on coastal trails.
Whether on a calm lagoon or river or into the ocean waves, the KZN South Coast has so many kayaking spots to explore! Some of the best KZN South Coast beaches for kayaking include Scottburgh, Umtentweni, Lucien Beach, Southbroom, Marina Beach/San Lameer, and Glenmore Beach/ Munster. Visitors can also hire a canoe at Bazley Beach or a paddle boat in Uvongo or St Michael’s-on-Sea.
Not all spring adventures have to be in the wild! The Golf Coast – as this region is known – is home to 11 top-notch golf courses, many of which boast sea views with greens winding through exquisite nature reserves. From the coastline inland to the farmlands of Harding, there is a green for every golfer on the KZN South Coast.
Keep updated on all KZN South Coast events by downloading the ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app, visiting the website, checking out the Events Calendar, the KZN South Coast Meeting Planner Guide and more! Don’t miss out on the action by following 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. And click here to check out previous SCTIE press releases. Follow the hashtags #uncover #uncoverkznsouthcoast #uncoveradventure #kznsouthcoast
Don’t miss out on Sho’t Left Travel Week annual tourism sale South Africans get up to 50% off of travel experiences, accommodation, and historical and cultural tours when they book from 4 to 10 September 2023. To find out more, visit www.shotleft.co.za.