The KwaZulu-Natal South Coast stretches from just south of Durban in Amanzimtoti all the way to the boarder of the Eastern Cape at the Wild Coast. This luscious swath of coastline is home to some of the province’s most unspoiled, Blue Flag beaches and enough tropical vegetation to make you feel you have left South Africa entirely.
Along this easily drivable route you will also find treasures such as the world’s smallest desert, some of the world’s best diving spots and a gaping gorge, ideal for thrill seekers and nature lovers alike.
Words by Haidee Visser
Explore the South Coast – make a road-trip out of it
Beginning at Amanzimtoti, approximately 30km south of Durban central, this scenic yet simple drive along the N2 will take you 170km along a tropical ribbon of coastline to Port Edward and the Wild Coast. The KwaZulu-Natal South Coast is notorious for its laid-back vibe, friendly locals and unbelievable weather throughout most months of the year, so if you’re looking to escape the winter chill, pack the car, hit the road and uncover the beauty of the South Coast.
8. Bazley Beach
If you’re looking for a pristine, family friendly beach to kick off your shoes and get acquainted with the South Coast weather, Bazley Beach is a stunning destination as your first port-of-call.
7. Oribi Gorge
Just 21km in-land from Port Shepstone you will find the lush cavern that is Oribi Gorge– a popular destination with both thrill seekers, outdoor fiends and photography fans. Oribi Gorge boasts cliffs, forests and spectacular hiking trails with many a picnic site, while those looking for a heart-stopping thrill can choose to throw themselves off a cliff with the world’s highest bungee swing, do the world’s highest commercial abseil or take the Wild Slide zip line from one side of the gorge to the other.
6. Protea Banks and Shelley Beach
While the town itself may not be much of an attraction, just outside Port Shepstone you will find the ever popular Shelley Beach – also a well-known ski boat, fishing and diving epicentre on the South Coast. If you plan on diving the world famous Protea Banks for some of the best shark sightings the world over, Shelley Beach is where most commercial dive tours launch from.
5. St Michael’s on Sea
Surfers, eat your heart out at St Michael’s on Sea – a true South Coast gem with swell for days and some of the best waves in all of KwaZulu-Natal. You can also enjoy the town itself with many a welcoming café for a quick coffee or lunch stop.
Named after the Ivungu River, Uvongo boasts a beautiful, calm lagoon with its own 23-metre high waterfall, while a well-protected beach with thanks to a large rock escarpment and plenty of lush foliage is found across from the lagoon. Uvongo is ideal for long days of sunbathing and swimming, while birding or fitness enthusiasts can enjoy the many circular trail walks throughout the 28-hectare Uvongo River Nature Reserve.
Idyllic and welcoming, Margate is probably the South Coast’s most popular seaside town. It offers many a café, restaurant and bar and a wonderful palm-tree lined beachfront and fisherman’s pier. The perfect stop-over for lunch or an afternoon sundowner.
There really is only one reason to stop in Ramsgate – and that is the Waffle House! This popular locale is ideal for an afternoon or mid-morning sweet (or savoury) treat serving up some of the best waffles in KZN.
1. The Red Desert – Port Edward
Dubbed as the world’s smallest desert, the Red Desert can be compared to the Arizona desert in United States, only on a much smaller scale, measuring in at 11 hectares in total. Feast your eyes on miniature hills, valleys of naked red soil beautifully contrasted against the surrounding green and lush vegetation of the coast.
If you plan on road tripping down the South Coast- some forethought and a little planning goes a long way. Some of our top tips include:
- Pack your surfboard if you’re looking for unbelievable surf breaks
- Pack your fishing rod if you have some spare time for shore or deep sea fishing
- Pack your scuba gear if you want to dive some of the best reefs in the world
- Pack your trainers if you want to explore many a walking or hiking trail
- Pack your binoculars if you’re a birding enthusiast
- Pack your swimming costume if you’re looking for some sun