The holiday season is around the corner, and with the warmer weather enticing everyone outdoors, the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast is destination summer! There are endless outdoor adventures for the whole family to enjoy, from the sea to the sky.
“Adventure tourism and nature-based experiences are top of the list for many visitors, and we’re so fortunate that the KZN South Coast has these in abundance,” said Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of the South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise. “We’ve compiled a list of suggested offerings, but these are just a few of the many outdoor adventures that can be found in the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom.”
1. Mac Banana Estate & Adventures, Port Edward
This is an all-in-one food and family experience! Mac Banana is a shopping and entertainment destination with four restaurants including the famous pancake house. There are also more than 20 adventurous activities such as the Zip Rope Adventure Park, paintball, 4×4 quad bike trails, an animal farm, butterfly dome and banana tours.
2. KwaXolo Caves Adventures, KwaXolo near Margate
Heritage and adventure combine at the KwaXolo Caves Adventures. Hike along the mountainside into the caves that are covered in ancient Khoisan artwork. There is also ziplining, a suspension bridge and a picnic site with views of the gorge to end the day.
3. Lake Eland Game Reserve, Oribi Gorge
This is a stunning 5 000-acre reserve consisting of four distinct ecosystems: bushveld, grasslands, wetlands and coastal forest. Visitors can explore in their vehicles, go on a guided drive, hike or cycle through the reserve. Look out for giraffes, wildebeest, zebra and buck, with a variety of birds to discover. There’s also a coffee shop, curio shop, picnic and braai site, children’s playground, 80m suspension bridge and camping sites.
4. The Old Pont Water Holiday & Water Sport Resort, Port Edward
The Old Pont is the ultimate summer destination with a range of water sports options to keep cool while having fun on the Umtamvuna River. Visitors can book a speed boat ride that 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.
5. Wild 5 Adventures, Oribi Gorge
Set amid world-renowned view sites, Wild 5 Adventures offers a range of extreme (and milder) adventures for thrill-seekers. These include a 110m abseil into the gorge, the Wild Swing, an 85m suspension bridge, quad biking adventures, paintball and guided trails.
6. Umzimkulu Boat Cruises, Port Shepstone
The majestic Umzimkulu River flows through Port Shepstone, and from Spiller’s Wharf, visitors can hire a range of aquatic-based sporting equipment such as kayaks to explore the river. There are also wonderful sunset cruises throughout the holiday season.
7. Selsdon Park Estate, Trafalgar
The KZN South Coast is home to the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the province, one of which is Trafalgar Beach. Experience this stunning beach by horseback at Selsdon Park Estate. These guided excursions take riders along the beach and into the farmlands and coastal forests, with guides able to assist everyone from beginners to equestrian professionals.
8. NPS Adventures, Umzumbe near Port Shepstone
In the deep rural outskirts of Umzumbe, NPS Adventures await. There is a campsite, hiking trails, authentic African cuisine, paintball and quad biking tours… with loads more to come!
9. World of Wings Flight School, Craigieburn
Experience the KZN South Coast from the skies with a ride in a Bantam two-seater aircraft or a microlight. Tours go to Durban Harbour, Umkomaas, the marine protected area of Aliwal Shoal, Scottburgh and the Wild Coast with experienced pilot Noel McDonogh.
10. Shark Cage Diving KZN, Scottburgh
Experience these incredible apex predators up close (and safely!) by going shark-cage diving, snorkelling with sharks or simply viewing sharks from a boat at Aliwal Shoal. Look out for blacktips, dusky sharks, spinners, tigers and Zambezi sharks.
11. Airtrack Aviation, Margate
This is a family-owned and operated aviation service provider offering scenic helicopter and aeroplane flights and charter services from Margate Airport. This is another spectacular option for enjoying an aerial view of the KZN South Coast.
12. Dino Park SA, Port Shepstone
This is KZN’s only mini-Jurassic jungle and is ideal for families with small children and all dinosaur enthusiasts. Dino Park SA is a family-owned and -run park set in a mini tropical jungle where little feet can run through pathways while viewing life-sized dinosaurs.
13. Umtamvuna River Lodge, Port Edward
For another epic water sports holiday, head to Umtamvuna River Lodge. Some of the country’s best wakeboarding and wakeskating instructors are on hand to teach novices. There is also a skate ramp for skateboarding youngsters and adults, as well as speedboat rides, stand-up paddling, tube rides and relaxing boat cruises.
14. Aqua Planet, Shelly Beach
Enjoy an unforgettable ocean safari with this fantastic charter dive operator. Aqua Planet takes you out to the marine protected area of Protea Banks, where you can enjoy an epic shark dive or exploration dive. This highly experienced team with a 100% safety record also offers dive courses for those wanting to learn.
15. Umzumbe River Trails, Umzumbe
For a hiking and heritage adventure on the KZN South Coast, embark on this eco-adventure in the stunning hinterland. You can enjoy a guided hike through the lush coastal land, with overnight stays with local clans where you will enjoy an authentic cultural experience. There are six trails in total which you can hike, bike or even horse ride!