Stress is hugely detrimental to one’s health, from weakening the immune system and speeding up the ageing process, through to heart damage and promoting disease. With the many challenges experienced the past few years, and the ongoing difficulties being faced today, stress is becoming even more of a daily struggle for everyone. That’s why it’s time to hit the KZN South Coast and unwind like a local!
“If there’s one thing the KZN South Coast is known for, it’s our laidback lifestyle. And this is something we are always so happy to share with our visitors,” said Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT). “We have some of the most incredible natural resources and experiences, and just the reality of being in nature is known to reduce stress levels. This is also the perfect way for tourists to have fun without spending a fortune.”
Start by visiting one of the KZN South Coast’s many beautiful beaches, five of which have the international-level Blue Flag status: Marina Beach, Trafalgar Beach, Southport Beach, Umzumbe Beach and Hibberdene Beach. With the warm subtropical weather, even winter is perfect for swimming, surfing, snorkelling, kayaking and more. There are also a number of natural and man-made tidal pools that provide protected bathing conditions for all visitors.
- Golf Courses
Known colloquially as ‘The Golf Coast’, the KZN South Coast has 11 top-quality courses that offer golfers of all handicaps a sufficiently challenging round, many of which boast ocean views. From the 18-hole championship course at San Lameer, to the captivating scenery of the Scottburgh Country Club semi-links course, there is a green for every golfer.
- Diving and Fishing
There’s no better diving and fishing spots than those on the KZN South Coast – particularly when the annual Sardine Run is in action! Visitors can experience ‘The Greatest Shoal on Earth’ under water at one of two Marine Protected Areas and world-class dive sites, Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal. There are also great fishing sites, for shore, rock-and-surf or deep-sea anglers. Fishing permits are required for all anglers and these can be issued at the post office.
- Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails
The gorgeous agricultural lands and the indigenous coastal forests with their cliffs, waterfalls and streams are best experienced through the endless KZN South Coast biking and hiking trails. There’s also the newly launched Umzumbe River Trail, a 70km hike from Mhlabatshane Dam with authentic homestays and cultural experiences.
- Rural Experiences
Through rural tourism development initiatives, the KZN South Coast’s hinterland is a must-visit! Cultural heritage and the region’s history are told through song, dance and more at Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre. Village tours and exploration of the natural wonders of the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom can be enjoyed at Nyandezulu and KwaNzimakwe. And, for an unforgettable experience, there’s the KwaXolo Caves Adventures. This involves a mountainside hike to the caves which are adorned with ancient San artwork.
- Nature Reserves
The KZN South Coast is home to 10 nature reserves – TC Robertson, River Valley, Oribi Gorge and the Red Desert among them – which are home to a variety of walking trails and picnic spots. These provide a great opportunity to get out into nature, view some of the many local bird and wildlife species, and unwind in a beautiful setting.
The many rivers and diverse landscape of the KZN South Coast is made all the more impressive by the cascading waterfalls found throughout the region. Some of these include Lehr’s Waterfall in the densely-forested Oribi Gorge – which is also the site of the world’s highest bungee swing at 165m offered by Wild 5 Adventures. Then there’s the nearby Samango Waterfall named after the charismatic monkey, and the 23m Uvongo Waterfall which plummets into one of the deepest lagoons in the country. Finally, a guided hike as part of the culturally authentic Nyandezulu Experience will take visitors to Ntantana Mountain overlooking the 90m Nyandezulu Waterfall.
- Day Spa Treatments
De-stress with some of the best pampering on the KZN South Coast at one of its many local spas. These retreats and eco-sanctuaries within the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom welcome guests in need of a calming yet revitalising eco-experience.
Finish of the day with a relaxing sundowner at one of the many KZN South Coast local eateries. Some of the best spots to enjoy a cocktail while taking in the view are C-Bali in St Michael’s, Blue Lagoon in Ramsgate, Riptide Restaurant in Southbroom, Fish on the River in Port Shepstone and Senzi’s Shisanyana, Aura and The Grove in Margate.
- Dezzi Raceway
For some, a bit of motor-fuelled action is just the thing to relax! Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone is the only Motorsport South Africa (MSA)-approved racing track in the province, and the host of numerous prestigious motorsport events. The track includes two purpose-built drift circuits for high-octane entertainment!