With school tours back on the annual planner, South African schoolchildren can once again look forward to a fun, educational outings that reinforce what’s learnt in the classroom. With an abundance of nature-based, cultural, and animal-friendly establishments along the KZN South Coast, there is no shortage of outing options for KZN schools!
“It is wonderful that our schoolchildren can enjoy the full school curriculum again which allows for real-world experiences that are not only enjoyable, but incredibly beneficial for learning,” commented Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise (SCTIE). “We are so fortunate that the KZN South Coast is home to a wide variety of child-focused excursions and activities that make learning that much more fun. We’ve put together a list of our top attractions that schools can consider for their next outing.”
Animal and Farm Outings
- Riverbend Crocodile Farm
Details: Riverbend Crocodile Farm welcomes thousands of scholars and students of all grades each year. Tailor-made tours lead by knowledgeable guides focus on environmental, conservational and sustainable use of the planet’s natural resources. An educational video on crocodiles and snakes is presented in isiZulu, English, Afrikaans or German. Besides hundreds of crocodiles, the farm is home to some of South Africa’s deadliest and most beautiful snakes. Annual crocodile-hatching demonstrations have become legendary on the KZN South Coast. Reptile experiences are complimented by beautiful Art in the Riverbend Art Gallery and the farm has a well-stocked curio shop. The farm also offers various scholar lunch pack offerings.
- Crocworld Conservation Centre
Details: The centre hosts educational tours for pupils on pre-primary school excursions right through to university student tours, with conservation at the heart of its operations. Included in the school tour is a knowledgeable tour guide, a crocodile feeding demonstration, and animal interaction opportunities. Crocworld is the largest animal farm on the KZN South Coast and is a school excursion not to be missed.
- Pure Venom Reptile Park
Where: Port Shepstone
Details: This family-run business creates awareness about reptiles through school tours and other events. The team rescues snakes that are injured, relocates snakes that are found in residential areas, as well as breeding various reptile species. Besides reptiles, there is also a fun petting zoo with farm animals and exotic birds.
- Butterfly Valley
Details: This is a fun and educational outing where students can learn more about South African butterflies in a beautiful and relaxed setting. Unlike other butterfly farms, Butterfly Valley breeds all its own butterflies and can show the entire life cycle of the butterfly to visiting schoolchildren. The butterfly dome is also a wonderful place for children to walk through and take pictures with butterflies.
- Mac Banana
Where: Near Port Edward
Details: Mac Banana welcomes all schools, offering an all-in-one school tour experience which includes the educational banana tour of the working banana plantation which instructs the entire farming process. There’s also the Butterfly Dome Tour which is home to a beautiful selection of butterflies. Here students can learn more about their cycle, habits, and more. The tour also includes a viewing of the animal farm, ending at the jungle gym park. Mac Banana is also home to more than 20 adventure activities and four restaurants for a full day of fun.
- Mpenjati Coffee
Details: School trips to the biggest coffee farm in South Africa are always memorable! Here, schoolchildren will be taken on an informative coffee tour that explains how the farm was established, and the coffee journey including growing, harvesting, processing, roasting and brewing.
- Beaver Creek Coffee Estate & Roastery
Where: Port Edward
Details: School Tours to Beaver Creek Coffee Farm are both educational and fun. Established in 1984, Beaver Creek is one of the first coffee farms in South Africa. Their crop-to-cup coffee tour offers students an insightful look into all the coffee processes from growing and harvesting coffee to roasting and brewing their much-loved coffee.
Museum and Heritage Sites
- Munster Motor Museum
Details: For a historical look at classic engineering, schools can stop in at the Munster Motor Museum which houses classic cars, vintage motorbikes, and several important historical artefacts – among them interesting facts about local history such as the Nightingale shipwreck. There’s also the well-stocked Munster Motor Museum Library for project research.
- Port Shepstone Museum
Where: Port Shepstone
Details: The cultural and historical education continues at the Port Shepstone Museum which showcases art, artefacts, collections, and exhibitions connected to local heritage and culture. The museum runs several educational programmes with schools welcome for informative outings – a particularly great option to celebrate Heritage Month in September.
- Margate Art Museum
Details: Schools looking for art and cultural destinations for outings should consider Margate Art Museum which houses a collection of pieces that reflect the culture and artistic range of this region. The museum also has a school corner which provides children with a space to showcase their own artwork on a public platform.
- Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre
Details: Immerse schoolchildren in the rich cultural history of the Zulu nation with a visit to this incredible heritage centre. Guides will take them through the vibrant history and local customs including the arts of stick fighting and crafting; the ancient tradition of isivivane; as well as theatrical productions.
African Bush, Ocean, and Extreme Adventures
- Lake Eland Game Reserve
Where: Oribi Gorge
Details: For a fully immersive, ecotourism excursion in the African bush, schools can visit Lake Eland Game Reserve. This is the ideal space for campouts, game drives and walks, as well as several other outdoor adventure activities from ziplining to paintball.
- Wild 5 Adventures
Where: Oribi Gorge
Details: There is no end of activities in the beautiful Oribi Gorge setting where Wild 5 Adventures is based. Schools can book an outing that includes hiking trails and suspension bridge or teambuilding packages like Silly Olympics, Mild 2 Wild or the Ultimate Challenge. There are also several other adventures to be had from paintball to abseiling and the Wild Swing.
- Hiking Adventures
Details: The KZN South Coast has many fantastic hiking trails where guides can take school tours on an ecotourism adventure while teaching about the area’s rich heritage. Among these is the 8km Weza Hiking Trail which starts in the iKhwezi rural area, approximately 10km from Harding, and includes a walk to the beautiful Mkhoba Waterfall. There’s also a Beach-to-Beach Adventure Hike extending from Port Edward to St Michael’s beaches which is a great way to learn about the ocean; with the KwaNzimakwe Multi-Trails are also another great option.
- Diving Adventures
Details: Schools offering diving as an extracurricular activity, or looking to host foreign schools on exchange programmes, can visit the KZN South Coast’s top two dive sites – Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks. These two Marine Protected Areas are considered some of the best dive sites in the world, and a great way to introduce students to marine life and ocean conservation.