With the easing of restrictions on travel in lockdown Level 1, many South Africans are taking ample opportunity of the freedom, finding unique places to explore within the country.
However, the interrupted business year means that many are having to make the rands and cents go much further, with affordability a major contributor. Fortunately, the stunning KZN South Coast, with its many nature-based #adventure sites to #visit and activities to enjoy, provides tourists with quality, yet cost-effective family excursions.
“The KZN South Coast has long been a key destination for local and international visitors, and its continued to retain the popular family holiday feel without overpricing the many accommodation venues, sites and activities,” explained CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT), Phelisa Mangcu.
“The area’s affordability, coupled with the incredible nature-based activities, has seen a spike in local tourism recently. We want to share some of these great options with South Africans looking for fun and relaxation in one of the country’s most idyllic locations.”
Top 20 activities for under R150
1. Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve in Scottburgh
This is a stunning coastal forest with many hiking trails that give visitors the chance to view a range of bird- and wildlife. Great for a family day out and picnic in nature.
Cost: R30 per adult, R15 for children U12.
Contact: 039 974 2222 or 073 911 8200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. TC Robertson Nature Reserve in Scottburgh
This is another beautiful coastal forest on the south bank of the Mapambanyoni River. There are many great trails and picnic spots, just a 10 minutes’ walk from the beach.
Cost: R30 per vehicle with 5 passengers, R10 more for an added passenger
Contact: 082 406 9891 or email@example.com
3. Ntelezi Msane Heritage Site in Mthwalume
The KZN South Coast has a rich cultural heritage, reflected in this unique site that honours the liberation stalwarts who were arrested here in 1906. The heritage centre showcases local African history, as well as sharing indigenous knowledge and creative arts.
Cost: R140 per person for a minimum of five people per group
Contact: 060 473 3712 or firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Umzumbe Surf Camp
Run by Ali & Rich, owners of SA Surfari and South African Surf Tours, visitors can hire out surfboards from the Umzumbe Surf House. Those willing to pay a bit more can learn to surf with a few lessons.
Cost: R150 for board hire
Contact: 073 536 8728
5. BBS Farm in Southport
This wonderful women-owned agri-tourism gives visitors tours of the macademia nut and tomato plantations grown by the local community.
Cost: R50 per adult, R30 for children aged 8 to 18 years
Contact: 079 568 1815
6. Wild 5 Adventures in Oribi Gorge
Located at the Oribi Gorge Hotel property and set amidst world-renowned view sites, Wild 5 Adventures has a series of incredible guided hiking and birding trails. At an extra cost, the company offers various extreme adventures including a 110m abseil, foefie-slide, 85m suspension bridge, white water rafting on the uMzimkhulu and paintball.
Cost: R25 per adult, R20 for children aged 6 to 12 years
Contact: 082 566 7424 or email@example.com
7. Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve near Port Shepstone
This is a wonderfully scenic area with many excellent hiking opportunities just 21 kilometres inland of Port Shepstone.
Cost: R30 per adult, R15 for children aged 3 to 12 years
Contact: 039 679 1644 or firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Oribi Vulture Viewing Hide near Port Shepstone
Located close to the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, the Barry Porter Memorial Vulture Viewing Hide gives visitors the chance to observe Cape Vultures in their natural habitat.
Cost: R100 per adult, free for children under 14 years
Contact: 072 893 3794
9. Lake Eland Game Reserve
This is a great venue for day visits or a family holiday offering self-drive game drives to view a variety of wildlife. There are also horse rides, bike trails, 4×4 trails and picnic sites, with an on-site restaurant and tea garden alongside a children’s playground.
Cost: R65 per adult, R40 per child under 8 years
Contact: 039 687 0395 or email@example.com
Website: www.lakeelandgame reserve.co.za
10. Pure Venom in Shelly Beach
This family-run business – the biggest reptile farm in Africa – gives visitors the chance to view a wide variety of reptile species which are bred at the farm. There is also a petting zoo with farm animals and many exotic birds.
Cost: R120 per adult , R90 per child aged 4 to 12 years
Contact: 082 492 8256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
11. River Valley Nature Reserve in Manaba
This is one of the few remaining privately-owned pockets of natural habitat on the KZN South Coast. Through a series of walking trails, visitors can visit a variety of ecosystems home to abundant birdlife, antelope and small mammals. There are picnic facilities on site.
Cost: R25 for people over 2 years
Contact: 083 263 5537
12. Polka.dot.coco in Umdoni
These renowned local crafters specialise in handmade accessories using locally-sourced material with their range including African prints, beaded earrings, beaded hairclips, wooden lapel pins, African Bowties as well as necklaces.
Cost: Between R80 and R150
Contact: Nelly and Zi Zama on 076 681 1516 or 081 5087672 or email@example.com
13. Butterfly Valley Farm in Ramsgate
This beautiful farm specialises in indigenous butterflies with on-site butterfly breeding giving visitors the chance to view this unique life cycle. Outside of the butterflies, the centre has several interesting creatures to view, including bearded dragons and Australian spiny leaf insects.
Cost: R75 per adult, R30 for children 3 to 13 years
Contact: 073 422 5357 or 072 235 3688 or firstname.lastname@example.org
14. Riverbend Crocodile Farm in Southbroom
At one of the most successful breeding basks in the country, visitors can view some 200 resident Nile crocodiles and enjoy daily crocodile feeds. The on-site Crocodile Café also serves great meals and snacks – with crocodile on the menu.
Cost: R80 per adult, R40 per child over 3 years
Contact: 039 316 6204 or email@example.com
15. KwaXolo Caves
For a unique nature-based heritage experience, visitors can visit the KwaXolo Caves, home to historical San rock paintings dating back centuries. There is a guided hiking route with visitors securely harnessed as they walk along the mountainside, enjoying views of the valley and waterfall. There are also picnic sites near the caves.
Cost: R150 per adult, R120 per child 8 to 16 years
Contact: 076 185 3447 or 074 887 3742 or the ‘KwaXolo Caves Adventures’ Facebook page
16. Mpenjati Nature Reserve in Trafalgar
For an incredible outdoors’ experience, this coastal reserve has two stunning hiking trails; the Ipithi Trail on the south bank of the river is 1.2 kilometres, and the Yengele Trail, which winds through the dune forests is 1.8 kilometres.
Cost: R15 per adult , R5 per child under 12 years
17. Beaver Creek Coffee Estate near Port Edward
The world’s southernmost coffee plantation gives visitors the chance to explore this fragrant farm, with coffee tasting and the on-site restaurant a delicious addition.
Cost: R60 per adult
Contact: 039 311 2315 or firstname.lastname@example.org
18. Clearwater Trails in Port Edward
This beautiful farmland has extensive mountain biking trails, weaving through macadamia nut and banana plantations, small forested areas, open grasslands, dams and streams. There are also views of the Umtamvuna River Gorge and the Indian Ocean from the trails.
Cost: R20 per adult
Contact: 083 549 6710 or email@example.com
19. The Red Desert near Port Edward
This is KZN South Coast’s most unique geographic formations, and the smallest desert in the world at only 200m in diameter. The desert consists of red soil beneath which has been found archaeological artefacts dating back millions of years.
Cost: R30 per adult
Contact: 083 631 9331
20. Umtamvuna Nature Reserve in Port Edward
Another great day out is this stunning coastal reserve which has several marked trails for fantastic wild- and birdlife viewing. There is even a large colony of endangered Cape vultures which can be observed in their nesting sites.
Cost: R20 per person
Contact: 039 311 2383