To the south of Durban, extending from the Umkomaas River to Port Edward and bordering the Wild Coast, lies the famed Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom – the South Coast. This holiday heaven, with it’s balmy climate, wide golden beaches lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and bordered by rolling, green hills, attracts scores of repeat visitors to its many small scenic towns, villages and hamlets. The subtropical weather encourages the growth of abundant foliage and colorful blooms, which has given rise to the lower region being named The Hibiscus Coast – an apt name given the color, variety and abundance of attractions found here.
The South Coast is rich in culture in many ways. It has in its midst many cultural landmarks such as Shaka’s Bush, where the 1828, in the area of Marburg Comman, Shaka stayed with Henry Francis Fynn during his great raid on the Mpondos, another local tribe. It is also the place of well known historical myths such as that of the Sezela River mouth where a great crocodile known as Sezela was killed in 1828 on Shaka’s orders. For years, it had terrorised the local Malangeni tribe.
The annual Sardine Run is a well documented event which sees billions of small silvery fish winding their way along the coastline, pursued by thousands of dolphins, game fish, sharks and swirling, diving sea birds. It is one of only two places in the world that is host to such a phenomenon and it the most accessible by land, sea or air, allowing locals, researchers and tourists participate in the heady excitement.
Whale watching during the winter months enjoys growing popularity, with a host of charters providing close up views of the Hump-backed and Southern Right Whales which are spotted along the coast as they head north to their breeding grounds.
Inland from Port Shepstone is the Oribi Gorge, a spectacular canyon cutting through craggy hills with a deep, wide valley which is home to the highest aerial gorge swing in the world. It features mountain hiking trails, excellent horseback safaris, white-water adventure trips and fantastic vantage points in a nature reserve from which to view the spectacular scenery, coastal vegetation and prolific birdlife.
With all this and more, it is no wonder the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal has become one of South Africa’s most popular holiday spots.