When it comes to things to do in the South Coast – you’d better come prepared. Offerings include water and land-based activities both along the coast and further inland. Here are our top picks:
Why you should visit: Given the lush greenery and ideal climate, nature reserves are superabundant on the South Coast. Take your pick from Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve in Hibberdene,TC Robertson Nature Reserve in Scottburgh, Umtamvuna Nature Reserve in Port Edward and many more. Whichever one you find yourself at, you’re sure to be surrounded by incredible, evergreen scenery, immense birdlife, wildlife and hiking trails.
How much does it cost: R20 per person at Umtamvuna Nature Reserve and Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve, R30 per person at TC Robertson Nature Reserve.
Why you should visit: The spectacular Oribi Gorge is a 400 metre-deep canyon situated north-west of Port Shepstone. The gorge was cut by the Mzimkulwana river, which carved out around 30km of plant-covered valleys and cliffs. Check out the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, a protected state forest located along the bottom of the Gorge, for hiking trails and idyllic picnic spots. There are also many companies in the area that offer adventure activities like the gorge swing, abseiling and river rafting.
How much does it cost: The Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve entrance fee is R10 per person. Enquire with operators for individual activity prices.
How to get there: The Gorge is 35km north-west of Port Shepstone via the N2.
Lake Eland Game Reserve
Why you should visit: Situated just 40 minutes from Port Shepstone, Lake Eland Game Reserve, is 2 500 hectares of grassland, bushveld, coastal forest and wetlands in the Oribi Gorge area. A large, fascinating Eland-shaped lake can be found on the reserve, giving rise to its name. For a hit of adrenaline, dare to walk the 80m suspension bridge, one of main highlights at Lake Eland, or take a unique zip-line tour. Other activities include self-driven or guided game drives, scooter tours, 4×4 trails, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding – there’s definitely something for everyone.
How much does it cost: Day visitors entrance fees are R75 per adult and R45 per child. Enquire for individual activity prices.
How to get there: Lake Eland is around 40km from Port Shepstone, and 160km from central Durban – both via the N2.
Why you should visit: The KwaXolo Caves are a range of previously-inaccessible caves in the mountains of the KwaXolo region near Margate. The caves contain preserved San cave paintings that are over 100 000 years old and tell the San’s tale of culture and history. Book your tour in advance, as the hike up to the caves requires safety equipment and guides.
How much does it cost: R150 per adult and R120 per child aged eight to16. Call 076-185-3447 or 074-887-3742 for bookings.
How to get there: The caves are located in the KwaXolo area near Margate, about 160km from Durban via the N2.
Riverbend Crocodile Farm in Southbroom
Why you should visit: Opened in 1981, the Riverbend Crocodile is an iconic tourist attraction on the South Coast. It’s the perfect place to spend the day with the kids, check out the crocodiles and snakes, or attend the croc feedings and hatchings (when scheduled).
How much does it cost: R85 per adult, R70 for children.
How to get there: The farm is situated on Old Main Road, Southbroom.
Butterfly Valley in Ramsgate
Why you should visit: A unique attraction, Butterfly Valley in Ramsgate, is a butterfly farm that offers educational tours. Learn about South African butterflies and view their entire life cycle, first hand. The farm also houses their “curious creatures” – tarantulas, scorpions and the like!
How much does it cost: R75 for adults and R40 for children.
How to get there: Situated on Fascadale Rd, Ramsgate Beach, Ramsgate.
Why you should visit: Believe it or not, KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast is home to some of the best golf courses in the country. Affectionately known as the “Golf Coast”, you will find over ten of South Africa’s finest golf courses, set against the backdrop of the glorious Indian ocean and a warm, subtropical climate. It’s hard to find a better place for a round of golf.
How to get there: Head down the N2 from Durban and spot the many sign boards indicating the courses, in Scottburgh, Umkomaas, Umdoni, Port Shepstone, Margate and more.