The South Coast effect
Driving into Shelly Beach, one of South Coast's most popular beaches, it is hard to miss the stunning hues of the sunrise that reflects on the clear blue ocean.
The South Coast is one of the KwaZulu-Natal's biggest tourist drawcards, especially among South Africans. Its warm weather, blue flag beaches and leisure activities attract all types of travellers.
Over the years, Ugu South Tourism has launched a number of events during peak season travel. Their aim: to entice travellers to gather their friends and family, pack their luggage and head towards this coastal destination.
Even in the winter time, there's the lure of all year warm weather conditions. Days start with sunrises like this. Full, colourful and insta worthy.
The sunlight and warm weather allow for ample time to explore- from the beach, bush, adventure to food inspired journeys.
As an avid traveller to the South Coast, I have always managed to find something unusual and exciting to do. On my last trip, I visited the Red Desert, known as being one of the smallest deserts in the world. The 200-metre site resembles the Arizona Desert in the United States. I also took a tranquil boat cruise along the Umtamvuna River- taking in one of nature’s most exquisite sights. I unapologetically stuffed my face with banana pancakes and drank a rather large banana milkshake at Mac Banana. And, let's not forget that 12km walk to the Petrified Forest on the Wild Coast.
Because there are many attractive features to the South Coast, your holiday here is jam-packed with plenty of activities, eateries and leisure spots to visit. This trip to the South Coast is no different. The day starts with an early morning Ocean Safari before we head to Lake Eland Game Reserve for an hour-long horseback safari. After lunch, some conquered their fear of heights with the iconic Wild Swing at Oribi Gorge. But, instead of calling it a night, we donned our finest clothes and drove to Senzi's on Faya in Margate. The vibey shisanyama spot is famous for its African cuisine and music.
Dressed in a blazer, CEO of Ugu Tourism, Phelisa Mangcu tells me that the South Coast is home to many gorgeous places- from Margate, Port Edward to Uvongo.
"We want to showcase all aspects of South Coast and give travellers a worthwhile experience when they travel here," she says while pouring a glass of water into a tall glass.
"Come to the South Coast. It is an exciting destination as we have a lot to offer, especially in winter. For example, the Sardine Run is a big drawcard for travellers. We have since launched The Sardine Festival that offers travellers exciting events and activities while here," she says.
It is evident that one of her missions for this coastal gem is to emphasise its historical and township experiences.
She and her team are working tirelessly to work on strategies to showcase unique and immersive experiences like ones at KwaQiko Execution Rock.
"I recently heard of a place called KwaQiko Execution Rock. While not promoted as yet, the places hold much history. It is these kinds of places we want the world to see and experience.
"Our overall aim is to assist locals within the community to enjoy the opportunities that come with tourism. We want people to reach their potential in the tourism space," adds Mangcu.
South Coast, like many tourism bodies in the country, are using technology to attract visitors.
Mangcu says that although their website is currently down (it is undergoing a revamp), it will be online by the end of June. There will also be an app available.
As our group mingle and share our travel stories, I cannot help but feel at home in the South Coast.