The KZN South Coast has been a favourite family holiday destination for as long as anyone can remember. It has everything from caravan parks to luxury estates, you can laze the day away on a lagoon paddle-boat or give yourself a shot of adrenalin stepping off the top of a waterfall.
Whether you are planning an annual holiday or weekend break this tropical corner of South Africa has something for everyone.
Many visitors start their exploration of the coast with a stop at the Waffle House for one of their decadent Belgian waffles and a visit to the South coast’s oldest art gallery. The Gaze Gallery first opened its doors in 1967 showing work by pioneering artists like Errol Boyley, Tita Faschiotti and Lucy Wiles.
Over the years the South Coast has been home to a community of artists and crafts-people and the tradition continues with some of them opening their studios to visitors.
Another popular attraction is the Beaver Creek Coffee Estate which is situated on the foothills overlooking Port Edward. They have been growing coffee here for 35 years and are keen to share their knowledge. The daily ‘Crop to Cup’ tours, give visitors a glimpse of what goes into producing a fine cup of coffee while introducing them to the flavours of different varieties of bean.
People of a certain age might remember school excursions to the Oribi Gorge where the geography teacher would explain how the massive gorge was cut by the river which lies 165 metres below. Not much has changed, except the gorge now sports the highest adventure swing in the country.
If your heart will take it, you can step off the ledge and drop into the gorge the equivalent of 55 storeys before the ropes send you swinging through the air for what is surely a once in a lifetime experience.
Even if you have no intention of doing the big swing it is still worth a visit. Apart from the fact that there is something strangely satisfying watching others getting their dose of adventure, there is a lot to do besides.
You can take in the scenery from one of the viewpoints or explore the area on one of the hiking or mountain bike trails. The nature reserve is well known for its birdlife with over 250 species, including five kingfishers and several eagle species which can often be seen riding the thermals over the gorge.
If you want a bird’s eye view of the coast you can take a flip in a helicopter with Airtrack 101. Flying out of the Margate airport, this company offers short scenic flights and a range of charter services.
The lower South Coast was once associated with trips across the border to the casino. Well, the Wild Coast Sun Resort is still going strong, offering a range of activities and entertainment for all. Situated where the Mtamvuna river meets the Indian Ocean, the resort offers a mix of unspoilt nature, glitz, and glamour.
If you want to get up close to one of the oldest creatures on earth then head for the Riverbend Crocodile Farm in Southbroom. Apart from the 200 or so crocodiles, there is also a snake-house where you can see around nineteen South African species including adders, mambas and cobras.
The KZN South Coast also boasts the oldest golfing estate in the country. San Lameer is built around a championship-level golf course and offers self-catering accommodation in the Villas or 4-Star luxury in the hotel. If you are looking for a one-stop destination then this is it.
The 200-hectare estate offers visitors a range of indoor and sporting activities. There is a luxury spa and access to Blue Flag beaches where you can enjoy the warm waters of the Indian Ocean throughout the year.
Next time you are planning a holiday, why not have a look down south and explore KwaZulu Natal’s Tropical coastal resorts.