Rural tourism is celebrated this Tourism Month on the KZN South Coast with new developments

Rural tourism is celebrated this Tourism Month on the KZN South Coast with new developments

In an effort to transform the local economy and promote sustainable job creation, this Tourism Month will celebrate rural tourism initiatives with the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) South Coast announcing a number of exciting projects along this theme, including the innovative Umzumbe River Trail.

“Developing rural tourism has always been a key focal point for Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) as it is one of the most effective ways of ensuring the tourism economy benefits communities at every level,” CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism, Phelisa Mangcu. “The KZN South Coast has some of the most diverse landscape and an incredibly rich heritage that wants to be explored – we are simply providing the avenue to open up these cultural treasures to visitors. And, while international travel remains restricted, we are urging South Africans to use this month as an opportunity to explore the multitude of adventures right on our doorstep.”

The Umzumbe River Trails

One of the KZN South Coast’s rural tourism initiatives is a uniquely cultural undertaking set in the heart of the Ugu District, between the coastal Umzumbe village, and the Mhlabatshane Dam at KwaPhungashe. Here visitors, led by knowledgeable local guides, will traverse this ‘authentically Zulu’ landscape, interacting with eight Zulu clans while staying at seven accommodation establishments that showcase local heritage, art, custom and cuisine. The clans, which live a traditional existence along the riverbanks, include:

• KwaMadlala
• KwaHlongwa
• KwaQwabe
• KwaCele
• eMabheleni
• KwaHlubi
• KwaNdelu
• eNhlangwini

The project, which is managed by the Ugu South Coast Development Agency (USCDA) – agency of Ugu District Municipality which promotes investment opportunities and social development for the KZN South Coast region.

Visitors will follow the Izi-Go Trail Network, a ‘Green Flag Trail’, by walking, hiking, trail running, mountain biking or horse riding. The 70km trail, which follows the stunning Umzumbe and Mhlabatshane Rivers, consists of six trails with the village of Ezinqoleni as the hub. Alongside the breath-taking views and natural terrain, visitors will get to experience a number of unique local attractions, including:

• Isivivane seNkosi uShaka – A heap of stones at Umzumbe traces all the way back to King Shaka and his warriors when they passed on the way from Zululand to Pondoland in 1828. They fought a group of local renegades, the Hlongwa, who managed to overcome Shaka and his warriors, marking the victory with a Zulu custom which involved spitting on a pebble and placing it on a ground, forming an isivivane.

• Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre – The Ntelezi Msani Heritage Foundation has envisioned an Arts & Heritage Academy, and a museum, providing historical knowledge of the Ntelezi Msani and ‘Poll Tax System’.

• The Nazareth Baptist Church – This is the second largest African-initiated church, founded by Isaiah Shembe in 1910. Shembe was welcomed to the area by the Mpisane family near Mthwalume Station, moving to the current site with the permission of the Traditional Authority.

KZN South Coast rural tourism initiatives

There are also a number of rural tourism initiatives that visitors can support on the KZN South Coast. These include the KwaNzimakwe Multi-Trails, which provide hikers, trail-runners and 4×4 enthusiasts with the opportunity to explore the Mpenjati River Valley.

Then the KwaXolo Caves Adventures is a 300-metre cableway that takes visitors on secure, guided walk along a mountain path, with incredible valley views all the way into the KwaXolo Caves. Once open-rock shelters for the San people, these caves house centuries-old artwork on their walls. Visitors can check out the KwaXolo Caves Adventures video (‘The Lost Caves of the South Coast – KwaXolo Caves’ on YouTube) that gives a look at this unique experience.

To find out more about these and other KZN South Coast tourism offerings, download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app from Google Play and Apple stores or visit KZN South Coast is also on social media – follow ‘South Coast Tourism’ on Facebook and YouTube, or @infosouthcoast on Twitter and Instagram.

High resolution images are available upon request.
(Images: Supplied by USCT)

Umzumbe River Trails.

Umzumbe River Trails.

Umzumbe River Trails.

Isivivane seNkosi uShaka.

Nazareth Baptist Church.

Ntelezi Msane Heritage site.

KwaXolo Caves.

KwaXolo Caves.

KwaNzimakwe Multi-Trails.

KwaNzimakwe Multi-Trails.

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.

Issued on behalf of:
Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT)

Disseminated by:
Olivia Jones Communications

For more information please contact:
Olivia Jones Communications
Cell: 083 653 1720

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