September is not only a celebration of renewal with the arrival of spring, it’s also a commemoration of Tourism Month, Heritage Month, and all the wonderfully unique offerings that South Africa presents. To celebrate this, visitors are encouraged to head to the KZN South Coast where they can uncover adventures from the ocean depths to the hinterland!
“This year’s UN World Tourism Organisation theme is Tourism and Green Investment, something that is incredibly close to the KZN South Coast,” explained Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise (SCTIE). “Our natural assets have long been an important attraction for visitors to the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom, and we’re continuing to develop these through sustainable tourism offerings that empower rural communities, support conservation efforts, and boost the local economy. This month, we want to uncover adventures and celebrate all the reasons that the KZN South Coast is a leading tourism destination!”
1. Tourism on the up
While many sites across the globe are still feeling the pinch of the pandemic, the KZN South Coast is on the road to recovery, with Ugu District coming out tops provincially in 2022 for the final week of December – with an occupancy rate of 97%! The region continues to attract new and returning visitors looking to uncover adventure on the KZN South Coast.
2. Blue Flag Beaches
From Scottburgh to Port Edward, the KZN South Coast has an impressive 58 beaches and boasts the highest number of Blue Flag Beaches in the province. This isn’t the only provincial record - with 21 tidal pools, the region is home to the highest number of tidal pools in KZN. Visitors can enjoy the beaches swimming, surfing, and snorkelling, with SCTIE introducing the latest Beach-to-Beach Adventure Hike for an even more extensive experience. This is a 38km guided hike that takes visitors along some of the Blue Flag beaches, across estuaries and through coastal forests, with sightings of local wildlife and historic shipwrecks.
3. Agri-tourism offerings
Coffee, banana, macadamia and more are farmed along the KZN South Coast, and visitors are afforded a taste of this local produce by embarking on the Agri-Tourism Tour. This tour allows visitors to experience and learn more about the local produce, enjoy some farm-based adventures, and sample homegrown products, all the while supporting locals.
4. Heritage tourism
Visiting the KZN South Coast is the ideal way to celebrate Heritage Month in September. For those museum lovers, there is the Munster Motor Museum, Port Shepstone Museum, and Margate Art Museum. The rich cultural history of the Zulu nation can be experienced at Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre in Mthwalume, with the KwaNzimakwe Experience and Nyandezulu Experience both offering immersive cultural excursions in the beautiful hinterland. For those interested in the history of the Roman Catholic Mission Stations, SCTIE recently launched the Mission Tourism Route which takes participants to The Capuchin Adoration Convent in Pumula; Maris Stella Mission at Oshabeni; Assisi Mission at Oshabeni; and Maria Trost Mission in St Faiths.
5. Adventure tourism
Uncover adventure on the KZN South Coast through several tourism offerings. Lake Eland Game Reserve in Oribi Gorge is an ecotourism adventure in the African bush with game drives and hikes among African wildlife. Guests can walk across the 80m suspension bridge or get their hearts racing on the Zipline Tour. There is also horse riding, hiking, single-track mountain bike trails, paintball, fishing, picnic sites and 4x4 tracks. Also in Oribi Gorge is Wild 5 Adventures which has everything from paintball to abseiling and the Wild Swing. Those who prefer ocean-based adventures can scuba dive, freedive, or even snorkel at two of three Marine Protected Areas – Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks. There are also shark cage diving experiences for those who want a really memorable experience!
6. Hiking and biking excursions
The many nature reserves, farmlands, and outstanding natural terrain are an ideal backdrop for hiking and biking adventures. The KZN South Coast has many established trail routes and guided tours that give visitors a close-up experience in the natural world. The 8km Weza Hiking Trail is a guided cultural tour that crosses two amaKhosi areas ending at the Mkhoba Waterfall. The 71km Umzumbe River Trail connects the hinterland with the coast, with authentic homestays en route. There are also the ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest Resort biking trails, Clearwater Trails, and KwaNzimakwe Multi-Trails.
7. Golf Coast
The Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom is also known as The Golf Coast – for good reason! There are 11 quality golf courses found from Scottburgh to Port Edward and inland to Harding, including both 9-hole and 18-hole courses, and the Wild Coast championship course. Every course will sufficiently challenge visiting golfers while providing a memorable day spent on the greens, enjoying the ocean views, forest views, and free-roaming wildlife.
8. MICE destination
The incredible natural assets are complemented by the established conferencing, retail, and hospitality offerings on the KZN South Coast that make this a top-notch MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences, and events] tourism destination. In addition to the aforementioned adventures, several establishments organise teambuilding activities ideal for corporate outings. This also makes for a quality events destination with the KZN South Coast playing host to Ugu International Film Festival (running from 14 to 16 September 2023), The South Coast Marathon (taking place on 24 September from Ugu Sports & Leisure Centre), Ugu Maskandi Festival (taking place on 30 September 2023 at Ugu Sports & Leisure Centre), The Bike Fest, The Conservation Symposium, and The Ocean Festival, among others.
9. Tourism Month Sho’t Left campaign
As part of the domestic tourism recovery, South African Tourism has introduced Sho’t Left Travel Week, an annual tourism sale that gives South Africans up to 50% off of travel experiences, accommodation, and historical and cultural tours when they book from 4 to 10 September 2023.