The upper region of the KwaZulu Natal South Coast, stretching from Scottburgh to Mtwalume, has diverse and affordable tourism offerings ideal for packaging your clients’ next tour.
Travellers can expect attractions like the annual sardine run, world-famous diving sites, Blue Flag beaches and top-rated golf courses, and accommodation ranging from camping to five-star.
How to get there
An hour’s drive from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport (KSIA), the region is easily accessible.
According to a KSIA spokesperson, the only direct international flight currently servicing the airport is Qatar Airways from Doha.
Travellers can also connect to Durban from Cape Town International Airport, and OR Tambo International Airport and Lanseria International Airport in Johannesburg via FlySafair, Mango, British Airways (operated by Comair) and Airlink.
From KSIA, travellers can hire a car for a self-drive tour of the upper South Coast. The airport’s website offers a useful car hire search tool.
Several operators offer personalised guided tours of the region for those who prefer not to self-drive.
The upper South Coast is teeming with accommodation options to suit every budget.
Travellers looking for luxury can opt for the four-star Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa in Pennington.
For those wanting a less luxurious experience, Rocky Bay Resorts in Scottburgh’s self-catering log cabins, caravan park and camping grounds, offers a more rustic alternative.
There are also over 150 listed Airbnb properties in the area.
The busiest periods at the South Coast according to booking trends on Google are the summer season in December and the South African school holidays in April.
Average temperatures are above 24 degrees Celsius all year round, and rainfall peaks between December and February, according to climate-data.org.
A useful source of information for travellers to the South Coast is the Southern Explorer, a map-based guide to attractions, activities, accommodations and restaurants along the coastline. The information is available online and physical copies can be found at most tourist information centres.
The area is malaria free and the drinking water is regularly tested for safety of consumption according to local newspaper, The South Coast Herald.
Top 10 activities
Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) has compiled a list of ten family-friendly, eco-tourism offerings available in the region.
“Fortunately, the many nature-based offerings of the KZN South Coast fall within the restrictions of level three, with our local tourism establishments guided in all the latest Covid-19 safety protocols,” said CEO of USCT, Phelisa Mangcu.
- Scuba diving
The Aliwal Shoal, 5km offshore from the Umkomaas River has been the subject of several international documentaries and, according to USCT, is an ideal place for both beginners and more experienced divers.
Diving experiences in Umkomaas are offered by Aliwal Dive Centre, Aliwal Shoal Scuba or Umkomaas Lodge Dive Charters.
- Shark cage diving
Several operators offer adventurous travellers shark-cage diving opportunities on the South Coast. “With experienced instructors, visitors can get close to some of the region’s beautiful apex predators in their natural habitat,” said USCT.
Travellers can arrange the thrilling experience through Aliwal Shoal Scuba in Umkomaas, or Shark Cage Diving KZN in Rocky Bay.
USCT said the South Coast was known as ‘the golf coast’ due to the large number of golf courses in the area. Golfers can enjoy ocean views at Umkomaas Golf Club; Scottburgh Golf Club; Selborne Park Golf Estate, Hotel & Spa; Umdoni Park Trust, Golf Club & Nature Reserve, and more.
- Microlight adventures
Visitors can see the region from the skies with World of Wings flight school in Umkomaas. “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,” said USCT.
- Wildlife experience
At Scottburgh’s Crocworld Conservation Centre, families can engage with the animals while staff share insights and perform daily feeding demonstrations. There is also an on-site restaurant, Fish Eagle Café, and a fun animal farm and playground for youngsters.
- Shop for handmade accessories
Handcrafted accessories using locally sourced materials can be found at polka.dot.coco in Scottburgh. “Artistry and craftsmanship can be found throughout the KZN South Coast,” said USCT.
- Nature reserves
“Visitors have ample opportunity to get out in nature and experience the great outdoors throughout the Upper South Coast,” said USCT. TC Robertson Nature Reserve in Scottburgh, Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve in Umzinto and Umdoni Park Trust, Golf Club & Nature Reserve in Pennington are some of the reserves to visit.
- Local heritage
Visitors can experience the history of the area at the Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre, in Mtwalume. The centre was established in honour of liberation leaders who were arrested at the site in 1906.
- Beach days
With beaches in Scottburgh, Pennington, Hibberdene and Umzumbe, visitors can access the temperate Indian Ocean across the upper South Coast. According to USCT, even when beach activity is restricted, visitors can still enjoy beachside meals and perhaps catch sight of the resident dolphins.
- Mountain biking and running trails
Running and mountain biking trails in coastal forests and local farmlands are some of the activities available. Trails can be found in Rocky Bay Resorts and TC Robertson Nature Reserve in Scottburgh, Umdoni Parkrun in Pennington and Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve in Umzinto.
USCT offers visitors a free app detailing these activities, events and more. ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ is available on both Apple and Android.
Who to contact
USCT is the official destination management organisation of the area and supports both its marketing and development of tourism.