Top 10 must-try activities on the KwaZulu-Natal Upper South Coast

The New Year is the perfect time to start afresh by exploring the many incredible family-friendly ecotourism offerings on the #KZNSouthCoast. Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) will showcase the wealth of sites and activities, suited to all budgets, through the #InTheSpotlight feature, with the KZN Upper South Coast first on the list!

“It is fortunate that the many nature-based offerings of the KZN South Coast fall within the restrictions of Level 3, with our local tourism establishments guided in all the latest Covid-19 safety protocols,” explained CEO of USCT, Phelisa Mangcu. “The Upper South Coast, which stretches from Scottburgh to Mtwalume, has a number wonderful experiences and locations that are easily accessible to all our welcome visitors.”

Here’s a look at what’s on offer at the Upper South Coast!

1. Scuba diving

For those looking to learn how to scuba dive, or for the more experienced divers looking to explore one of the world’s top diving sites, then the Upper KZN South Coast is the place to visit. Aliwal Shoal, just 5km offshore of Umkomaas River, is home to a number of ocean creatures, prompting several international documentaries and attracted an influx of global tourists.

· Aliwal Dive Centre (Umkomaas): Contact 039 973 2233 or dive@aliwalshoal.co.za or visit www.aliwalshoal.co.za

· Aliwal Shoal Scuba (Umkomaas): Contact 039 973 2542 or umkomaas@netactive.co.za or visit www.aliwalshoalscubadiving.com

· Umkomaas Lodge Dive Charters: Contact 039 973 2542 or umkomaaslodge@gmail.com or visit www.aliwalshoalscubadiving.com

2.  Shark cage diving

Visitors to the Upper South Coast can partake in one of the most exciting ocean adventures with shark cage diving. With experienced instructors, visitors are able to get close to some of the region’s beautiful apex predators in their natural habitat. An incredibly thrilling and unforgettable experience awaits!

· Cage Shark Dive.com (Umkomaas): Contact 039 973 2572 or aliwalshoalscuba@gmail.comor visit www.cagesharkdive.com

· Shark Cage Diving KZN (Rocky Bay): Contact 039 978 1045 or johnmiller@sharkcagedivingkzn.com or visit www.sharkcagedivingkzn.com

3. Golfing         

Known colloquially as ‘The Golf Coast’, the KZN South Coast boasts an abundance of well-maintained golf courses, many of which are located in the Upper South Coast region. From the novice to the pros, there’s a green for every golfer – most of which are surrounded by coastal forests with stunning sea views.

· Umkomaas Golf Club: Contact 039 973 1042 or umkomaasgolf@gmail.com or visit www.scottburghgolf.co.za

·  Scottburgh Golf Club: Contact 039 976 0041 or finance@scottburghgolf.co.za

·  Selborne Park Golf Estate, Hotel & Spa (Pennington): Contact 039 688 1800 / 039 975 8500 or proshop@selborneparkgolfestate.com

· Umdoni Park Trust, Golf Club & Nature Reserve (Pennington): Contact 039 975 1615 or rynardt@umdonipark.com or visit www.umdonipark.com

4. Microlight adventures

Experience the Upper South Coast region from the skies through a thrilling microlight adventure. Organised by experienced pilots, a microlight trip gives visitors an overview of the oceans, forests and other natural wonders found in this part of the world.

· World of Wings flight school (Umkomaas): Contact 072 117 5130 or info@wowflight.co.za or visit www.wowflight.co.za

5. Wildlife experience 

The natural abundance of the Upper South Coast extends to its animal inhabitants as well, with the area renowned for its diverse birdlife, as well as the many unique animal species. At Scottburgh’s Crocworld Conservation Centre, families are able to engage with these incredible animals while the knowledgeable staff share insights and perform daily feeding demonstrations for audiences. There is also an on-site restaurant, Fish Eagle Café, and a fun animal farm and playground for youngsters.

· Crocworld Conservation Centre (Scottburgh): Contact 039 976 1103 or visit www.crocworld.co.za

6. Shop for handmade accessories  

Artistry and craftmanship can be found throughout the KZN South Coast with the globally-renowned Polka Dot Coco Fashion conveniently located in the Upper South Coast. The brand specialises in handcrafted accessories using locally-sourced materials, such as the famous Shweshwe.

· Polka Dot Coco  Fashion (Scottburgh): Contact 061 415 5075 or info@polkadotcoco.co.za

7.  Nature reserves

Visitors have ample opportunity to get out in nature and experience the great outdoors throughout the Upper South Coast. The area is rich with coastal forests and reserves which are home to a myriad of wildlife and local bird species.

· TC Robertson Nature Reserve (Scottburgh): Contact 062 002 5190 or tcrobertsonnaturereserve2015@gmail.com

· Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve (Umzinto): Contact 039 974 2222 or vcrookes@kznwildlife.com or www.kznwildlife.com

·  Umdoni Park Trust, Golf Club & Nature Reserve (Pennington): Contact 039 975 1615 or rynardt@umdonipark.com or visit www.umdonipark.com

·  Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve              Accommodation (Umzinto): Contact 039 974 2222 or vcrookes@kznwildlife.com or visit www.kznwildlife.com

8. Local heritage 

Integral moments of South African history were set against the backdrop of the Upper South Coast, determining a trajectory that has brought us to where we are now. Visitors will get a chance to experience the rich cultural nuances of this area at the Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre where local guides bring history to life through story, crafts and song.

· Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre (Mthwalume): Contact 076 861 6074 or email howardmsomis@gmail.com

9. Beach days

As a renowned coastal holiday resort, the Upper South Coast offers visitors expansive golden sands and warm Indian Ocean water at its many beautiful beaches. Even with beach restrictions, visitors are able to enjoy a beachside meal while taking in the stunning sea views and even catching site of the resident dolphins.

·  Scottburgh Beach

·  Pennington Beach

·  Hibberdene Beach

·  Umzumbe Beach

10. Mountain biking and running trails

Getting exercise has never been this much fun! The #KZNSouthCoast consists of some of the country’s best running and mountain biking trails that traverse coastal forests and local farmlands for a truly immersive natural experience.

· TC Robertson Nature Reserve (Scottburgh): Contact 062 002 5190 or tcrobertsonnaturereserve2015@gmail.com

·   Umdoni Parkrun (Pennington)

· Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve (Umzinto): Contact 039 974 2222 or vcrookes@kznwildlife.com or visit www.kznwildlife.com

· Umdoni Park Trust, Golf Club & Nature Reserve: Contact 039 975 1615or or rynardt@umdonipark.com or visit www.umdonipark.com

· Rocky Bay Resorts: Contact 039 976 0336 or lodge@rockybay.co.za or visit www.rockybay.co.za

For more information about USCT, as well as events and activities on #KZNSouthCoast, download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app from Google Play and Apple stores or visit www.visitkznsouthcoast.co.za. USCT is also on social media – follow the ‘South Coast Tourism’ Facebook page, or @infosouthcoast on Twitter.

/ENDS

High resolution images are available upon request.

(Images: Supplied by Ugu South Coast Tourism)

Aliwal Shoal is rated as one of the world’s top ten dive sites.

(Photo credit: Aliwal Dive Centre)

Aliwal Shoal boasts some of the best shark diving in the world.

(Photographer: John Miller)

Known as the “golf coast”, the KZN South Coast has a variety of breathtakingly beautiful golf courses such as Selborne in Pennington.

(Photo credit: Selborne Park Golf Estate,Hotel & Spa)

Microlight adventures offer a birds eye view of the KZN South Coast.

(Photographer: Noel McDonagh)

Crocworld Conservation Centre offers diverse wildlife experiences near Scottburgh.

(Photo Credit: Crocworld Conservation Centre)

Artistry and craftmanship can be found throughout the KZN South Coast with the globally-renowned Polka Dot Coco Fashion conveniently located in the Upper South Coast.

(Photo Credit: Polka Dot Coco)

Visitors have ample opportunity to get out in nature and experience the great outdoors with coastal forests and reserves which are home to a myriad of wildlife and local bird species.

(Photo credit:TC Robertson)

Visitors will get a chance to experience the rich cultural nuances of the Mthwalume area at the Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre where local guides bring history to life through story, crafts and song.

Photo credit: Justin Klusener

Umzumbe Beach.

Mountain Biking & Running Trails.

(Photo credit: Rocky Bay Resorts)

About Ugu South Coast Tourism
Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) is the official destination management organisation of the Ugu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. The Ugu District comprises four local municipalities that include Umdoni, Umzumbe, Umuziwabantu and Ray Nkonyeni. USCT’s mandate is to grow tourism within the KZN South Coast. This involves implementing marketing and development initiatives that are aimed at showcasing the diverse offerings and experiences of the South Coast as tourist destination. A board of directors oversees USCT, headed by CEO, Phelisa Mangcu.

About KZN South Coast
Known as the ‘Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom’, the KZN South Coast stretches 120 kilometres from Scottburgh to Port Edward and inland to Harding. Here, the spirit of adventure can be discovered among the many cultural experiences, as well as the 35 nature trails and 58 beaches, ideal for activities like river rafting, abseiling, suspension bridges, paintball, surfing, SUP, canoeing, beach horse rides, shark cage diving and free diving. Nicknamed ‘The Golf Coast’, there are 11 golf courses on the KZN South Coast ranging in difficulty, with endless hiking, mountain biking and 4×4 trails for more rugged excursions. Promoting sustainability, the KZN South Coast has a growing agri-tourism sector that offers world-class produce and hosts tours and excursions. The region boasts a number of permanently managed Blue Flag beaches, and is home to some of the world’s top diving sites, Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks. The originality continues with the annual Sardine Run, coined the #GreatestShoalonEarth, which is the largest biomass migration on earth and a marvel to witness. The region’s many nature reserves are inhabited by indigenous bird and wildlife, and it holds the title for ‘smallest desert on earth’, The Red Desert in Port Edward. The KZN South Coast is a fast-emerging MICE destination which also plays host to a number of high-profile events including the The Bike Fest, Uvukile Gospel Festival, Ugu Jazz, Ugu Film Festival and the South Coast Fever MTB & Trail Run Series.

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