What would a visit to KwaZulu-Natal be without a decent dose of fun in the sun and lots of playing in the water? The Wild Waves Water Park ticks all of the boxes and boasts plenty of aquatic rides, tubes, slides and plunge pools ideal for kids of all ages – there are even a few rides exclusive to thrill-seeking adults. From the 4-lane Mat Racer slide to the famous, winding Boomerango, it doesn’t get much more exciting than this. Younger children can splash around in the dedicated, lifeguard-supervised Kids’ Zone while mom and dad kick back on a tube and float leisurely along the Lazy River.
Spend a day amongst crocodiles and other reptiles with a visit to Croc World Conservation Centre located on Old Main Road in Scottburgh. You’ll learn more about these legendary ‘lizards’ and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of them enjoying their lunch or tending to their hatchlings. The kids will love the opportunity to see these incredible creatures up close! Following your explorations, be sure to head over to the Fish Eagle Café for a light family lunch before paying a visit to the onsite animal farm and dedicated bird centre. There’s also an outdoor play area for the little ones to enjoy, in between all of that animal action. Open seven days a week (besides Christmas Day), the entrance fee for Croc world is R90 for adults and R60 for children.
The TC Robertson Nature Reserve is located in the idyllic seaside town of Scottburgh and offers a top-notch spot to roll out the blanket for a picnic. Switch out the beach for the bush and spend some time surrounded by nature, keeping a keen eye out for a variety of birds, butterflies, and blue and grey duiker. The Mpambinyoni River also flows through the reserve and comprises various ecosystems to explore with numerous braai (BBQ) spots available, making it ideal for family outings. The reserve is open from 9am to 5pm daily with an entrance fee of R30 per car.
Wild 5 Adventures is an extreme adventure company offering access to some of the South Coast’s most exhilarating exploits. The Wild Swing, which will have you teetering at the top of Lehr’s Waterfall and swinging into the gaping Oribi Gorge, is the most adrenalin-inducing activity available – and the highest swing of its kind in the world! The good news is that there are also plenty more family-friendly adventures in which to partake. Think wild water rafting, paintball, and a scenic (yet nerve-wracking) walk across the Wild Bridge, which extends 84 meters above the gorge
A holiday along the the South Coast is not quite complete without a visit to one of KwaZulu-Natal’s most phenominal natural settings. Just an hour’s drive from Scottburgh, Oribi Gorge offers excellent picnic and hiking opportunities, ticking all the right boxes for nature-lovers and photographers who will quickly fall head over heels for the most incredible scenery of lush forests, rumbling rivers, rapids and ravines. As for the wildlife, there are several antelope species and an array of birdlife within the reserve, including five species of kingfisher and seven species of eagle. Adrenalin junkie? The list of outdoor activities includes water rafting, abseiling and ziplining. Oribi Gorge's infamous Wild Abseil reaches 110m high, making it one of the world's premier commercial abseils.
Scottburgh’s main beach promises soft sand, gentle waves, and tepid waters for a relaxing time spent soaking up the sunshine and building sandcastles with the kids. This beach is ideal for bodyboarding, surfing and snorkeling and allows for safe swimming with lifeguards on duty and shark nets up throughout the year. On the boardwalk, you’ll also find several family restaurants, an array of surf shops chockfull of beach attire, water sport equipment, and plenty of curio shops brimming with interesting trinkets, souvenirs, and keepsakes to help you remember your time away. Canoes can also be hired to explore the nearby lagoon.
Up for some scuba? The Blue Marlin Hotel in Scottburgh has the distinction of being the only PADI recommended resort in South Africa, featuring the Crystal Divers Academy, a PADI 5 Star TM, based right within hotel. The centre offers all levels of PADI Scuba Diving Courses from beginner to professional. With Aliwal Shoal on your doorstep, you can don your mask and snorkel, and experience the thrill of diving with sharks on one of their specialised shark dives during your stay.
Intimate dining and a modern approach to fusion-style cooking are what best characterise the Cellar Boutique Restaurant in Port Shepstone on the KZN South Coast. The restaurant is spearheaded by chef Dylan Smith and his wife, Kate, who prioritise flavour and customer service above all else. Some of the signature dishes include the succulent cellar steak, generously topped with creamy chermoula sauce, as well as the slow-cooked Asian pork belly with crisp crackling and traditional sweet and sour dressing. Complement your meal to perfection with a fragrant glass of wine from the restaurant’s extensive proudly South African selection.
Located on Ramsgate’s blue flag beach – one of the safest family favourites on the South Coast – the Blue Lagoon Restaurant serves up a variety of hearty dishes. It is renowned for its extensive seafood menu, including jumbo fish, Thai green prawn curry and a filling seafood platter. If you have already had your fill of seafood since arriving on holiday, you can’t go wrong with a steak, burger or cheesy pizza. The kids will undoubtedly enjoy tucking into the cinnamon and sugar pancakes, or perhaps giving the savoury chicken mayo pancake a try. The deck and verandah downstairs are pet-friendly for families keen to bring their fur kids along for a walk on the beach and a quick bite to eat.
The Thirsty Whale is a popular local hangout located on Toti Main Beach in Amanzimtoti and offers incredible views of the silky beach sand and crashing waves. The restaurant is always chockfull of entertainment, from karaoke to live performers. It’s known for its laid-back, beach-bum vibe, and boasts the best seafood and cocktails in town. There are plenty of kiddie menu items to choose from, as well as the opportunity for hungry littles to build their own juicy burgers.