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KwaZulu-Natal’s beautiful north coast is unexplored territory for holidaymakers in this country. We generally don’t go past Ballito or Salt Rock. This is a pity because the soft rolling hills devoid of ugly town houses, the unspoilt, empty beaches, lagoons and, of course, the warm water are just waiting to be explored.
To this end Lindelani Mkhize has teamed up with Enterprise iLembe to encourage holiday- makers and Durbanites to explore this area.
Last year’s iBeach Experience attracted 10 000 revellers to its three- day festival and they hope to do the same this year.
“I have travelled a lot and in the past two years I got to travel through my own province, KZN,” explained Mkhize. “I discovered how much I don’t know about my backyard. I realised how beautiful it is. That is where the interest came in.”
The festival takes place from December 12 to 15 and claims to officially herald the start of the holiday season. The region of iLembe incorporates the Blythedale and Zinkwazi beaches as well as the sandy shores of the Tugela River mouth and township of Mandini. These areas are where the festival will take place.
Its aim is to encourage visitors to explore the surrounds and what they have to offer, which includes, 4x4 trails, canoeing, jet-skiing, golfing and microlighting. The lagoons are shallow and child-friendly activities are also encouraged. Most of the activities are free. The weekend begins with top local DJs playing at Thokoza Lounge in Mandeni on Thursday evening.
While holiday activities and lazing on the clean sands will take up the day, the nights are very much about South African music.
SABC1’s Live Amp will broadcast from the Tugela mouth on Friday night. The party will feature Lulo Café, DJ Zinhle and Euphonik.
Saturday night is called Dance Craze and claims to be one of the hottest parties of the year featuring a host of top acts like Oskido and the wimpy Donald.
There is an 18-hour party which begins at noon on Sunday and goes on until 6am the next day. Featured artists will include Zakes Bantwini, DJ Ganyani, DJ Tira, Vetkuk vs Mahoota, Heavy K and the bromance DJ crew of Naves and Sphectacula. This gig will also include a laser and light show.
“iBeach is about lifestyle,” explained Mkhize. “The reality is we only use the beach for swim- ming. If we are from Jozi we bring our 2-litre bottle and fill it up and that’s about it. I want to encourage festival goers to do things like jet-skiing, things we don’t normally do.”
“One of our starting points is showing the different beaches and you can still swim if it is raining because the water is so warm. The other beauty of the iLembe district is that it is only 70km from Durban and 50km from the airport. It is also close to Richards Bay. Basically, you can go up for the day. And when you get there you believe you are in the Bahamas. But it is actually rural KZN and it so fresh and clean.”
• Book for night events: Checkers, Computicket from Monday.