A holiday on the South Coast promises plenty of seaside fun, plus some unexpected family-friendly activities
By Jennifer Campbell
KZN South Coast has long been a popular holiday spot for South Africans seeking sun and sea, and it’s easy to see why. The seaside towns along this stretch of coast are laid-back and unpretentious, the beaches are great for swimming, and there are loads of activities to keep the whole family entertained.
Extending from Scottburgh to Port Edward, the coastline has a sub-tropical climate and enjoys warm temperatures for most of the year, ideal for your next planned family trip.
GO OUT FOR WAFFLES
The Waffle House in Ramsgate has been going since the 50s, and just about anyone who has holidayed in the area will list this as a must-do on the South Coast. Located on the edge of the Ramsgate lagoon and within close walking distance to the beach, the restaurant specialises in waffles with a focus on using organic ingredients as much as possible — go classic with banana and cinnamon, or all out with chocolate mousse or lemon meringue. If savoury is more your style, try your waffle topped with cheese sauce and mushrooms, chicken mayonnaise or a traditional bobotie. Their menu also caters for kids with portions just right for little bellies, plus a children’s play area in
a lovely setting.
SPEND A DAY AT THE BEACH
The South Coast is dotted with no less than 39 internationally rated ‘7 Blue Flag’ beaches, so no matter which area you stay, you’ll find one that suits you. Southport Beach is popular for its tidal pools and shaded braai areas, while Hibberdene also has some lovely rock pools to keep little ones entertained.
Ramsgate Beach is ideal for a day out — the main beach features a tidal pool, a lagoon and a shady, grassed area equipped with braai and picnic facilities. There are also pedal boats available on the estuary.
The seaside resort town of Margate boasts a long beach where you’ll find a public children’s pool as well as a number of restaurants along the promenade. Other favourites are Scottburgh, Pennington, St Michaels on Sea, Marina Beach, the choice is endless.
VISIT A BUTTERFLY FARM
If you’ve had enough of the beach and need an outing that the whole family can enjoy, take a trip to the Macbanana Butterfly Dome or Ramsgate Butterfly Valley. Both centres have flight domes in which guests are free to walk around and view a broad range of butterflies. Expect to be transferred to a different world! You can also visit the breeding centre, where you’ll learn about the life cycle of the butterflies.
Walk-through tours are available for parents with young children. The centre also has a section for curious creatures, which gives guests the chance to see unusual species like spiny leaf insects, scorpions and rare lizards.
HAVE A PICNIC
If you’re craving some time spent in nature, consider a day trip to one of the area’s nature reserves. Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve is near to Scottburgh and is home to a wide range of wildlife, including zebra, wildebeest, vervet
monkeys and caracal. The reserve also boasts over 300 bird species, and a diverse landscape of coastal forest, grasslands, rivers and wetlands. It’s open to day visitors who are welcome to make use of the walking trails and
picnic site. Also near Scottburgh is TC Robertson Nature Reserve and a great Eland Game Reserve with a multitude of activities for the whole family. Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve located about 20 kilometres inland from Port Shepstone is also a good option for a day trip. The reserve is well known for its dramatic views, hiking trails and birdlife and there are some lovely picnic sites along the banks of the picturesque Umzimkulwana River.
To entertain even the youngest holiday maker, a visit to Croc World Conservation Centre or Riverbend Crocodile Farm is without doubt a must. As part of the Mpambanyoni Conservation Development that seeks to establish sustainable and sensitive development of the
greater Scottburgh area, it will put you in touch with a wildlife experience and many exciting offerings, including crocodile dishes for the daring.
Depending on the season, some hatchlings are retained
to enable young visitors the unique chance of holding a
baby crocodile. Their focus is on connecting people to nature, with conservation and education being key. Also boasting one of the country’s top 100 restaurants, run by French chef Julien Lepront, Le Rendez-Vous is sure to tantalize your taste buds. The menu ranges from simple to fine-dining and you can even try some crocodile meat brought in from another croc farm.
THE ULTIMATE RUSH
Taking your South Coast holiday to the next level ranging from mild to
wild. Only 36 min drive from Margate you will find the ultimate rush in a setting of phenomenal natural beauty. From cruising along a cable that spans across Oribi Gorge 165m above the treetops, to abseiling down a 110m cliff face alongside a waterfall or being suspended between heaven and earth on a suspension bridge above the Gorge floor whilst enjoying views of Baboon’s Castle –you choose.
But if you are just looking for a place to spend the day with your family, you can sit back, relax and some of the most breathtaking coastal and forest views and bird life.
Visit www.tourismsouthcoast.co.za for more activities and accommodation options.