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Margate beach is the central attraction on the South Coast, each year attracting huge crowds from all over South Africa to the hot and humid climate of the KZN South Coast. Margate has been the centre of all this attention, and created quite a brand for itself. Margate beach offers safe family bathing, lifeguards on duty, food and restaurants nearby, and great weather all year round.
The KwaZulu Natal South Coast is often referred to as The Golf Coast, and with 8 top courses in the region, it is easy to understand why. Each course offers its own distinctive character that assures you of an exciting and challenging game – every stroke of the way.
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Southbroom Golf Course is, of course, our particular favourite and is only a 5-minute walk from all of our units. Take a little time to browse through the images and brief descriptions of some of the areas other great courses. Remember to let us know where you would like to play when next on holiday and we will book your game for you. It’s all a part of the special service you can expect from our accommodation collection.
Although many visitors prefer to stay (or can only find available accommodation) in one of the neighbouring towns, they still refer to “going down to Margate”, which is technically not correct but it does illustrate the power of the brand. Margate beach is the chosen destination of many domestic holiday makers each year, particularly in the festive and school holiday seasons. Margate is an internationally accredited blue flag beach
Margate has again been awarding the stamp of approval from the international standards authority. The top beaches have met criteria concerning environmental information and education, water quality, safety and services and environmental management. Margate beach has retained its status as a internationally recognized Blue Flag beach. Glenmore Beach, a short distance from Port Edward, is a quiet and exclusive area along the South Coast. It is mainly home to retirees. There are many holiday homes that also dot the countryside which surrounds the unique rocky formations which make up Glenmore’s coastline
For the 2008 / 2009 period, 4 beaches on the South Coast were re-awarded Blue Flag accreditation, namely Margate, Ramsgate, Marina Beach and Hibberdene. In addition, the Hibiscus Coast Municipality has 4 blue flag pilot beaches committed to having full status in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. These include Trafalgar, Umzumbe, St Michael’s and Lucien Beach.
Suspension bridge at Lake Eland Lake Eland Game Reserve in Oribi Gorge is just 40km from Margate, and 20km inland from Port Shepstone. Entrance is just R25 per person, and one can drive around the Game Reserve in a car (4×4 trails also available in parts). Expect to see zebra, wildebeest and perhaps giraffe if you are lucky. The illusive Eland is also about, but very hard to spot as they are very shy. Horse rides and hiking trails are available, as well as mountain bikes for hire. View sites over the gorge are spectacular, and not far from the road. Oribi Gorge truly is an awesome spectacle of nature.
The suspension bridge has become famous among the adrenalin junkies. This 80 meter long suspension bridge towers over the Oribi Gorge, leading to a wonderful view site known as Eagles Nest. The Red Desert, found just outside Port Edward, is reputed to be the smallest desert in the world, being barely 200 metres across and surrounded by lush, tropical vegetation. Theories of the origin of the desert range from extra-terrestrial landings to excessive overgrazing in a confined area.
There are grasslands, forests and wetlands surrounding the Red Desert, which are home to a number of rare endemic plants. Archeological artifacts have also been unearthed. Efforts are underway to make the area into a conservancy to protect the uniqueness and significance of the Red Desert area. A magnificent view over the nearby Umtamvuna Estuary and Bridge (the gateway to the Wild Coast) can be seen from the nearby grasslands atop the cliffs which line the Umtamvuna Gorge.
Clearwater Trails offer routes for walking or mountain biking along the Umtamvuna Gorge, from the viewing deck far upriver, all the way down to the Umtamvuna Bridge (built in 1966), allowing visitors to enjoy the natural beauty and variety of the area.
Riverbend Crocodile Farm in Southbroom was officially opened in 1981, with a small number of crocodiles obtained from a farm near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. It is now home to over 200 adult Nile Crocodiles as well as many juveniles of various sizes. Each year about 4 500 hatchling crocodiles are also produced. An education centre provides detailed information on the life-cycles of crocodiles as well as the day-to-day workings of the farm. Due to popular demand, a Snake House was opened in 2003, which is home to some of Africa’s deadliest snakes. Riverbend Crocodile Farm also boasts a well stocked curio shop, a conference centre and the fully licensed Crocodile Café, which specializes in crocodile dishes.
Also to be found on the property is the Art and Wine Gallery, expanded and reopened in 2005. The Gallery displays a wide variety of original artworks and crafts by some of South Africa’s best artists. A fine collection of wines can also be found in a cellar in the Art Gallery. These are provided for sale to the public or for tasting.
Oribi Gorge lies about 20km inland from Port Shepstone. It was formed by the mighty Umzimkhulu River and stretches for about 27km in length and 4km in width at its widest point. The beautiful, lush gorge forms part of a nature reserve which boasts a wide variety of birdlife and wildlife, including the rare Oribi antelope, after which the gorge was named. Incredible natural beauty and breath-taking views of the 400m deep gorge can also be enjoyed from any of the numerous view sites, including the suspension bridge at Lake Eland Game Reserve. Many picnic sites, hiking trails, mountain biking trails and a variety of adventure sports are on offer in and around Oribi Gorge, making it well worth a visit for anyone.
Beaver Creek Coffee Estate and Café is situated in Port Edward and provides visitors with a rare insight into the makings of a perfect cup of coffee. The farm was bought in 1984, and the first crop of Coffea Arabica was planted in 1986. In 1994, they imported their first batch of coffee beans, and have since become a well established roastery and producer of over 66 varieties of coffee. Visitors to the Coffee Estate can go on a “Crop to Cup” Tour, which describes the full process and skills required in making superb coffee. Included in the tour is the opportunity to sample some of their freshly roasted coffees at the Estate Café. Delectable cakes and light lunches are also available. Beaver Creek is open daily, but bookings for tours are essential.
The Nyandezulu Waterfall is a 80 metre tall waterfall situated on the Izotcha River. The waterfall forms part of an international education program with Sweden known as The Swedish Global School Journey Program. Swedish teachers visit the area twice a year, live with locals and use the waterfall for adventure purposes. It requires a 30 minute hike to get to the massive waterfall, crossing the river a number of times along the way. One must be accompanied by a tour guide, all of whom have been trained to help tourists appreciate the history of the area as well as its unspoiled natural beauty.
A wonder of the natural world, the 27-kilometre long Oribi Gorge boasts a history dating back to the splitting of earth’s proto-super continents. The Gorge is home to 250 recorded bird species, plus bushbuck, reedbuck, blue and grey duiker. You may also be lucky enough to see one of the famous Big Five – a leopard prowling its enigmatic way through the African bush!
For the adrenalin junkies there are the Adventure Sports for which Oribi Gorge has a renowned reputation. Not least challenging among these is a 110-metre abseil, ranked among the world’s highest. Additional thrills include white water rafting and black water tubing in the rainy season, and year-round wall climbing, mountain biking and hiking trails. The motto among these devotee’s: ‘If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!’
Further inland of Oribi Gorge, across the Oribi Flats, lies the environmental treasure trove of the Harding district. This is referred to as ‘No- Man’s Land’ when Zulu expansionists and European opportunists each sought the lion’s share of its natural spoils. Beneath the Ngele Mountain range lies the Zulu Kingdom’s largest indigenous forests, with the Weza- Ngele State Forest Nature Reserve boasting gigantic old yellow- wood trees, numerous small animals and an assortment of fantastically plumed birds. Thanks to well- maintained trails, visitors can absorb these splendours on foot, from horseback or mountain bike. Harding has come a long way since 1882, when the first hotel was added to its three trading stores and four private homes!
There is never any danger of having nothing to do while on holiday with us. Take time to explore options that will thrill the most discerning adrenaline junkie!
Whether you are a holiday fisherman, or serious sports angler, the facilities offered on the South Coast will meet your every need. It is an angler’s paradise and everyone has his or her favourite spot. Spend some time with the friendly locals who will give you all the tips and hints you will need. The local post offices will issue you with fishing permits, which are necessary in this area. Browse around one of the many specialist sports stores for the latest in equipment and expert advice. Those with a taste for adventure might opt for one of the regular deep sea fishing charters.
The warm Indian Ocean makes local diving a pleasure and the coral reefs abound with a colourful assortment of fish. Don’t be surprised if a friendly dolphin or two joins you – and don’t let the threat of sharks deter you – just because you are in the water, it doesn’t make you a part of their food chain! Specialist dive shops organise regular charter trips and offer a full range of dive courses, from resort fun diving to instructor level. They will advise you on the best times and areas to dive, as well as supply you with the latest dive gear available.
Whale & Dolphin Watching
It is no surprise that whale and dolphin watching trips are so popular. Our waters are home to the magnificent humpbacked whale and a magnitude of playful dolphins. To see these beautiful creatures at their best, join one of the charters that operate regularly. It is an experience that you will never forget.
White Water Rafting – Abseiling – Rock Climbing
All the thrill and spills that are associated with these pass-times can be had on a days visit to the Oribi Gorge where experienced instructors will assure that you live to tell the tale.
An active microlight club offers regular trips and can show you a bird’s-eye view of the magnificent inland scenery and spectacular coastline.
Seeing the region on horseback is a remarkable experience that brings you closer to nature. There are various horse trails that will appeal to all skill-levels. If you are not a regular rider, qualified instructors will take you through your paces before you set out.
Grab a board and surf some of the best (and warmest) waves in the country. Everything that you need for your ‘Beach Boy’ experience is available at reasonable rates – including tuition.
A visit to the nearby Space Centre in Port Edward will take you on a fascinating journey around the galaxies. Its space museum contains interesting exhibits designed to fascinate and educate. Regular laser light parties, held in season, will bring out the alien in you!
One of the South Coast’s most popular attractions, a visit to the Riverbend Crocodile Farm is a must. Apart from viewing some of the largest crocs in the country, the farm also has an enlightening info centre, art gallery and light meals restaurant.
Arts & Crafts
Apart from the Margate Art Museum, where you can view some of the best in local, national and international pieces, take time to explore the smaller galleries that abound along the coast. There are numerous crafters in the area with home studios that feature everything from ceramics and leather to handcrafted jewellery and clothing. Plan your day’s crafting experience from the complimentary copy of the Southern Explorer that is in each of our units. Well-advertised weekend markets are held and well worth a visit.
For those with a fascination for traditional culture, join one of the cultural tours that explore the regions’ heritage. Meet the local tribal chief (the Inkosi) who will explain the intricacies of a tribal court, or the traditional healer (Sangoma) who will throw the bones for you. There are numerous day tours available, designed to enrich your holiday and general knowledge of the area.
Restaurants and Night-clubs
You will never go hungry on the South Coast. Good restaurants, offering every style of food conceivable, welcome you with ‘southern hospitality’. A visit to one of the local pubs will offer you the opportunity to chat with the locals and in may cases, listen to live music. For those who enjoy a mainstream party, put on your dancing shoes and boogie the night away at one of the areas night-clubs. Allow us to recommend some of our favourite restaurants and make your reservations for you.
Many of the Country Clubs have numerous sporting facilities including bowling greens, tennis and squash courts, and offer reciprocal membership status to other clubs throughout the country. The Douglas Mitchell Sports Centre in Margate offers all sporting facilities and a hair-raising radio controlled car raceway (with no speed traps!).