Durban - It’s been a few years since I last took a drive down to the Wild Coast Sun which, formerly in the Transkei, is just within the Eastern Cape, one kilometre over the border from KwaZulu-Natal.
In the old days it was the lure of the casino tables and machines, and the bliss of long walks along the rock-flecked, rugged beach, that snared attention, but now, while appeal for both those attractions still holds true, there’s another magnet for the masses.
The resort, on hundreds of hectares of natural bush between the Umtamvuna and Mzamba rivers, overlooking the Indian Ocean, offers 396 hotel rooms (beautifully refurbished since last I was there).
There is also a busy casino, a convention centre, an 18-hole championship golf course, a great pool, watersports, lawn bowls, tennis, squash, horseriding, tenpin bowling and a children’s amusement park.
But the new big-buzz attraction is the R80 million Wild Waves Water Park, located alongside the gym and bowling green in the sea-facing area that was once a car park and the old Beachcomber restaurant and mini casino.
The Beachcomber and main casino premises are still there but have been deftly incorporated into the water park design, and it’s a fun and hugely popular attraction.
Open from 9am to 5pm daily, the water park features slides imported from Whitewater West in Canada and they truly are worth a visit – best of the lot perhaps being the giant SuperBowl which has you sliding down into and whizzing around a giant bowl before disappearing down a funnel into a pool. Sadly, it was closed for repair the day we were there, but the thought of enjoying it is reason enough to ensure us returning.
Not that we didn’t have enough to enjoy at the theme park – the speed slides are tall, fast and steep, providing an adrenalin-pumping water-spray experience.
There’s also The Boomerang, a thrilling tube ride unlike any other, and although I wasn’t quite brave enough to try the Aqua Loop, others in my party were thrilled by it and couldn’t keep away. It provides the ultimate body-slide adventure in a capsule, which starts with your floor space giving way while you stand in a capsule with arms crossed.
The park also offers a very colourful and entertaining children’s interactive area, KidsZone, where every few minutes a giant pineapple at the top of a large structure, containing slides and other fun fare for the young, fills and topples water on to everyone below.
Admission is only R10 a day if you’re staying at the resort, otherwise R130 (R65 for children under 1.2 metres in height, and for anyone older than 60).
The contact number for more information about the water park is 039 305 2934.
Among attractions at the Tahitian-style Wild CoastSun resort itself is the popular Aloha Village, which has been there for yonks, but still attracts children and adults alike with it funfair-style games, arcade games as well as sophisticated video games that are spread out throughout the village.
There are a number of dining options at the resort but the flagship room, Chico’s buffet restaurant, remains very good value , offering a fine and varied breakfast and dinner spread.
The Wild Coast Sun’se-mail address is [email protected] The telephone number there is 039 305 9111.