September is a big month for Mzansi. It may not be as big as December but there are plenty of reasons to explore Mzansi.
Not only is it the month of change with new beginnings on the card, its the official start to spring as well as Tourism Month and Heritage Month.
If you’re wondering where to go and what to do, the KZN South Coast is the destination with the perfect mix of all the above mentioned.
According to South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE) CEO, Phelisa Mangcu, the region’s natural assets have long been an important attraction for visitors to the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom, and they’re continuing to develop these through sustainable tourism offerings that empower rural communities, support conservation efforts and boost the local economy.
“This year’s UN World Tourism Organisation theme is Tourism and Green Investment, something that is incredibly close to the KZN South Coast.
“We want to uncover adventures and celebrate all the reasons that the KZN South Coast is a leading tourism destination,” said Mangcu.
So here are 9 top reasons why the KZN South Coast should be the destination of choice when it comes to celebrating Tourism Month in September.
Tourism in the region on the rise
According to the Mangcu, despite many sites across the globe still feeling the pinch of the pandemic, the KZN South Coast is on the road to recovery, with Ugu District coming out tops provincially in 2022 for the final week of December – with an occupancy rate of 97%!
“The region continues to attract new and returning visitors looking to uncover adventure on the KZN South Coast,” she said.
Blue Flag Beaches
The KZN South Coast has an impressive 58 beaches and boasts the highest number of Blue Flag Beaches in the province, from Scottburgh to Port Edward, highlighted Mangcu.
“This isn’t the only provincial record - with 21 tidal pools, the region is home to the highest number of tidal pools in KZN.
“Visitors can enjoy the beaches swimming, surfing, and snorkelling, with SCTIE introducing the latest Beach-to-Beach Adventure Hike for an even more extensive experience,” said Mangcu.
According to the SCTIE CEO, those looking for an organic taste of the region can embark on an Agri-Tourism Tour as coffee, banana, macadamia and more are farmed along the KZN South Coast.
“This tour allows visitors to experience and learn more about the local produce, enjoy some farm-based adventures, and sample home-grown products, all the while supporting locals,” said Mangcu.
“Visiting the KZN South Coast is the ideal way to celebrate Heritage Month in September,” she said.
Mangcu said that museum lovers can travel back in time with a visit to the Munster Motor Museum, Port Shepstone Museum, and Margate Art Museum and also experience the rich cultural history of the Zulu nation at Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre in Mthwalume, with the KwaNzimakwe Experience and Nyandezulu Experience both offering immersive cultural excursions in the beautiful hinterland.
According to Mangcu, Lake Eland Game Reserve in Oribi Gorge is an ecotourism adventure in the African bush with game drives and hikes among African wildlife while Wild 5 Adventures in Oribi Gorge has everything from paintball to abseiling and the Wild Swing.
“Guests can walk across the 80m suspension bridge or get their hearts racing on the Zipline Tour. There is also horse riding, hiking, single-track mountain bike trails, paintball, fishing, picnic sites and 4x4 tracks,” said the CEO.
She also noted that those who prefer ocean-based adventures can scuba dive, freedive, shark-cage dive or even snorkel at two of three Marine Protected Areas – Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks.
Hiking and biking excursions
Mangcu also revealed that the KZN South Coast has many established trail routes and guided tours that give visitors a close-up experience in the natural world.
“The 8km Weza Hiking Trail is a guided cultural tour that crosses two amaKhosi areas ending at the Mkhoba Waterfall. The 71km Umzumbe River Trail connects the hinterland with the coast, with authentic homestays en route.
“There are also the ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest Resort biking trails, Clearwater Trails, and KwaNzimakwe Multi-Trails,” said Mangcu.
The Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom is also known as The Golf Coast – for good reason, said Mangcu.
“There are 11 quality golf courses found from Scottburgh to Port Edward and inland to Harding, including both 9-hole and 18-hole courses, and the Wild Coast championship course.
“Every course will sufficiently challenge visiting golfers while providing a memorable day spent on the greens, enjoying the ocean views, forest views, and free-roaming wildlife,” she said.
Mangcu also highlighted that the destination has established conferencing, retail, and hospitality offerings making it a top-notch MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences, and events] tourism destination.
She said that in addition to the aforementioned adventures, several establishments organise team-building activities ideal for corporate outings while the destination also makes for a quality events destination with the KZN South Coast playing host to Ugu International Film Festival (running from 14 to 16 September 2023), The South Coast Marathon (taking place on 24 September from Ugu Sports & Leisure Centre), Ugu Maskandi Festival (taking place on 30 September 2023 at Ugu Sports & Leisure Centre), The Bike Fest, The Conservation Symposium and The Ocean Festival.
Tourism Month Sho’t Left campaign
And finally, being Tourism Month, its a designated period where South African’s are also encouraged to take a sho’t left and explore the country.
Mangcu said that as part of the domestic tourism recovery, South African Tourism has introduced Sho’t Left Travel Week, an annual tourism sale that gives South Africans up to 50% off of travel experiences, accommodation, and historical and cultural tours when they book from 4 to 10 September 2023.
To find out more, visit www.shotleft.co.za.