History, culture and outdoor adventure converge to create the KZN South Coast’s latest tourism offering, the Gamalakhe Township Experience, which was launched in October. Media and other invited guests enjoyed immersing themselves in the vibrant sights and sounds of Gamalakhe, before hiking into the beautiful surrounding areas.
“Gamalakhe is a township with a rich history that includes the sad reality of forced removals, but it also tells the story of the people’s tenacity and the wonderful local traditions that have emerged here,” comments Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise. “It’s important for us to retain this history while expanding our incredible township tourism offerings to benefit our local communities and visitors.”
Gamalakhe Township, located less than 10km from Margate and Shelly Beach, is believed to have started in the 1880s when Norwegian settlers drove local communities from their land. However, it was in the 1950s during the apartheid government’s forced removals that the township grew, as black residents were driven from the coast inland.
Gamalakhe Township has developed over the years and is now home to a hospital, police station, schools, a shopping centre and more!
The Gamalakhe Township Experience includes a visit to Tin Town, the oldest part of the township. Here, Mama Smangele Memela – who was forcibly removed from her home in Port Shepstone town centre in 1968, aged just 12 – still resides. She regales guests on the experience, taking them along her journey into a democratic South Africa.
More than just a lesson in the rich history, visitors will enjoy a ‘Kasified Experience’ (an authentic township experience) within Gamalakhe. This includes visiting local taverns, car-spinning shows, outdoor cinema, quad biking, paintball and more. Visitors will also get to sample delicious shisanyama (barbecued meats) and other local favourites at Sbucie’s Kitchen – such as township kota (hollowed-out loaf of white bread with various savoury fillings), burgers and chips.
For nature enthusiasts, a local guide will take visitors on a hike from Gamalakhe, crossing the Vungu River and hiking along the Mjika River where sightings of local birdlife and scenery are captivating.
Mangcu says Gamalakhe is also being positioned for MICE events such as conferences, sports contests and festivals: “Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre is at the entrance of the township and it consists of conference and function venues as well as sports facilities. The local TVET college, which has a Hospitality and Tourism Unit, includes rooms to accommodate outside guests – and there are also local guesthouses with self-catering options. There is a lot of tourism potential being unlocked here.”
To find out more about the Gamalakhe Township Experience, contact Mbongeni Mthembu from Monate Outdoor Activities on +27 (0) 73 092 9818.