Durban - Planning family outings is becoming even more challenging with rising costs putting strain on budgets across the country. Fortunately, the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast has a number of cost-effective excursions and adventures that will keep all members of the family entertained.
CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism Phelisa Mangcu says that everyone deserves to create wonderful memories with their family, but it’s understandable that options are limited by financial circumstances.
“We ensure that there are really incredible tourism offerings suited to all budgets. We want to give families the chance to connect while enjoying an exciting adventure in the beautiful paradise of the Zulu Kingdom. And to make planning these family outings even simpler, we have put together a list of our top 21 experiences on the KZN South Coast for under R150.”
Lake Eland Game Reserve
There’s nothing quite like the African safari to set the backdrop for an exciting family adventure. Lake Eland Game Reserve in Oribi Gorge is the place to spot iconic wildlife while taking a self-drive game drive or bike ride. There are also great 4x4 tracks, fishing spots, paintball, a restaurant, tea garden and picnic sites.
Cost: Mountain biking, fishing or walking R75 adult, R45 children under 8; 4x4 tracks: R150 per vehicle or R60 per motorbike or quad. Paintball: R150 (10 years and older) for 70 shots, minimum of four people.
Contact: 039 687 0395 or [email protected]
Wild 5 Adventures
Families can enjoy a day of fun activities with the award-winning Wild 5 Adventures in Oribi Gorge. There are extreme (and milder) adventures including the 110m abseil, zip line, 85m suspension bridge, quad biking adventures, paintball, team building and guided hiking and birding trails.
Cost: Hiking trails and view site entrance: R30 adults, R20 pensioners and children 6 to 12, under 5 free. Paintball: R150 including equipment, helmet and 100 rounds.
Contact: 082 566 7424 or [email protected]
Port Shepstone Museum
For a culturally enlightened experience, families can head to this wonderful museum that boasts a range of artefacts that tell the interesting history of this seaside town.
Contact: 039 688 2195
For those who enjoy perusing the best local artworks it’s worth heading over to Margate Museum. The museum showcases artwork from around KZN, reflecting the rich culture of this incredible region.
Contact: 039 312 8392
This women-owned agritourism initiative in Southport provides tours to give visitors a taste of the organically grown produce, including macadamia nuts. There are also some great fishing spots to be found here.
Cost: R50 adults, R30 children 8 to 18.
Contact: 079 568 1815
Beaver Creek Coffee Estate
The world’s southernmost coffee plantation near Port Edward has a great Crop to Cup walkabout tour; the Beaver Creek Coffee Estate Café which serves breakfasts, snacks, cakes and baked goods; as well as biking along some of the best trails.
Contact: 039 311 2315 or [email protected]
For another agricultural excursion, families can head to Ubumbano for a farm tour and the chance to enjoy some home-made eats at the farm stall or a picnic under the trees. They specialise in freshly made macadamia nut and rocket pesto, macadamia nut biscuits and brittle, baked mielie loaf and steamed mielie bread.
Contact: 081 508 7672
Mac Banana Estate & Adventures
There’s something for everyone at this family-friendly estate including shopping, four restaurants (and the famous pancake house) and more than 20 adventurous activities.
Cost: R20 or free with any other activity; animal farm tour R50 adults/R40 children; banana tour R55 adults/R40 children; pony rides R25; trampoline 10 min R15; Mac Venture Golf 18-hole adventure R59 adults/R40 children; 9-hole mini putt putt: R35; Mac Butterflies R55 adults/R40 children; Mac Paintball for adults: R95.
Contact: 039 319 1033 or [email protected]
Oribi Vulture Viewing Hide
Near Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve just outside Port Shepstone is this incredible vulture viewing hide where families can enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of observing Cape vultures in their natural habitat.
Cost: R100 adults, free for children under 15.
Contact: 072 893 3794
Butterfly Valley Farm
The family will be all a-flutter on an outing to this Ramsgate butterfly farm which specialises in indigenous butterflies, with many other interesting creatures also homed here.
Cost: R80 adults, R60 school pupils, R40 children 3 to 10.
Contact: 073 422 5357 or 072 235 3688 or [email protected]
Riverbend Crocodile Farm
Families will smile for a while when they visit the Southbroom Riverbend Crocodile Farm, home to more than 200 Nile crocodiles. There are scheduled crocodile feedings and the delicious Crocodile Café for meals and snacks.
Cost: R90 adults; R70 students and pensioners; R45 pre-scholars, free for children under 3.
Contact: 039 316 6204 or [email protected]
Families who enjoy biking mustn’t miss the opportunity to explore the purpose-built trail networks of Clearwater Trails in Port Edward, with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and Umtamvuna River Gorge.
Cost: Mountain biking: R40 adults, R20 children under 12; walking trails: R20 adults, R10 children
Contact: 083 549 6710 or [email protected]
Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve
Get immersed in nature with a visit to this Scottburgh indigenous coastal forest which has several hiking trails for viewing the local bird- and wildlife. There are also scenic picnic sites available.
Cost: R30 adults, R15 children under 12
Contact: 039 974 2222 or 073 911 8200 or email [email protected]
TC Robertson Nature Reserve
Families visiting Scottburgh can also head to this gorgeous local nature reserve. There are great hikes along various trails within the reserve, and the chance to picnic along the banks of the Mpambanyoni River.
Cost: R30 per vehicle with 5 passengers, R10 for an additional passenger
Contact: 082 406 9891 or [email protected]
River Valley Nature Reserve
Hiking trails cut across a variety of ecosystems in the Manaba River Valley Nature Reserve which is home to birdlife, antelope and smaller mammals. There are also fantastic picnic sites found here.
Cost: R30 per person
Contact: 083 263 5537
Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve
Just outside Port Shepstone is the unmatched Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve which boasts memorable hiking trails along forests, rivers, rapids and ravines as well as the Samango Waterfall.
Cost: R30 adults, R15 children aged 3 to 12.
Contact: 039 679 1644 or [email protected]
Mpenjati Nature Reserve
Bird lovers should take the opportunity to visit to this indigenous coastal reserve at Mpenjati in Trafalgar, which has two fantastic hiking trails and great views.
Cost: R15 adults, R5 children under 12
The Red Desert Nature Reserve
This pristine coastal reserve, located near Port Edward, is home to the world’s smallest desert – sitting at only 200m in diameter and 11 hectares in entirety. This is a must-see global phenomenon on the beautiful KZN South Coast.
Cost: R30 adults, free for children under 12
Contact: 083 631 9331
Umtamvuna Nature Reserve
Port Edward is also home to the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve which has several marked trails for excellent wild- and birdlife viewing.
Contact: 039 311 2383
KwaXolo Caves Adventures
This is a really unique family outing where visitors are taken on a guided hike along the mountainside using a rope-and-rung system affixed to a rock face, with great gorge and waterfall views. Once inside the KwaXolo Caves, visitors get to experience centuries-old San artwork before enjoying a family picnic.
Cost: R150 adults, R120 children 8 to 16
Contact: 076 185 3447 or 074 887 3742
The entire family will enjoy a trip to the biggest reptile farm in Africa. This Shelly Beach animal centre is home to several reptile species, a petting zoo with farm animals and exotic birds.
Cost: R140 adults, R120 children 4 to 12
Contact: 082 492 8256 or [email protected]
To find out more about these and other KZN South Coast family outings you can visit the South Coast Tourism on Facebook or YouTube or visit www.visitkznsouthcoast.co.za to check out the Events calendar, the KZN South Coast Meeting Planner Guide and more.
The Independent on Saturday