Hibiscus Coast On a BudgetThe Hibiscus Coast, or KwaZulu-Natal, is located on the southeast coast of South Africa, just south of Durban. The area is rich in beautiful beaches and lush nature reserves which offer fantastic opportunities for hiking, swimming, and other outdoor adventures. The Hibiscus Coast experiences their summer from December-February, with temperatures in the 70's Fahrenheit, making these the best months to visit.
SightsSome of the best sights on The Hibiscus Coast are found at the Oribi Nature Reserve, a thick woodland area with the Mzimkhulwana River flowing through it. Here, you'll get incredible views from the sandstone cliffs that overlook the forests and river below and the chance to see wildlife such as the Samango monkey. Oribi Nature Reserve is also a leopard sanctuary, and is home to a few very impressive waterfalls, including the Samango Falls, Hoopoe Falls, and Lehr's Falls.
Be sure to check out the Red Desert, located right outside of Port Edward, it is considered to be the smallest desert in the world. The area is famous for it's bright red sand and lush vegetation. After a walk through the desert, head over to the cliffs on the Umtamvuna Gorge to get an aerial view of the red desert. If you're looking to see wildlife, head to Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve, where you have a great chance to see zebra, wildebeest, impala, and over 300 different bird species.
Cities and RegionsThe Hibiscus Coast has many different cities throughout the area, some are more industrial while others are dedicated tourist resorts. These are the key cities in the area:
Port Edward: A small tourist resort area that is home to the large Silver Beach and tropical forests. This is a great place for swimming, surfing, and visiting the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve.
Margate: A popular tourist resort destination due to its incredible beach.
Uvongo: One of the more visually stunning resorts as it is built on cliffs that overlook the sea, it is another great beach destination.
Shelly Beach: A large beach town with the majority of shops and restaurants in the area. The beach is very popular here and is often used as the base beach for diving excursions.
ActivitiesThe Hibiscus Coast offers countless things to do, whether on land or in the sea. The Oribi Nature Reserve offers a number of well marked hiking trails that lead to some of the best viewpoints in the area such as Horseshoe Rock and Overhanging Rock. The Oribi Gorge within the nature reserve is a great place for adventure spots like swinging from the world's largest bungee swing or rappelling down the world's highest natural rappel. For something more off the beaten path, check out Umtamvuna Nature Reserve, which offers some of the best hiking opportunities. The nature reserve is covered in thick rainforests with huge rocks and beautiful flowers covering the rainforest floor. For something a little more relaxed, head to the one of the dozens of beaches on the coast. Shelly Beach and Silver Beach are some of the most popular, offering plenty of swimming areas and beach activities. If you've ever wanted to learn how to surf, the Hibiscus coast is the place to be! You can find surf schools on many of the large beaches who offer lessons for all ages.
Food and DiningThe number one food in the area is seafood, which is incorporated into nearly every dish. One of the best places to try the local seafood is at The Lagoon Grill in San Lameer where you can dine outside while enjoying a delicious meal. Another popular dish in the area is waffles, served both savory and sweet. Ramsgate's Waffle House is one of the most popular places to try this local favorite. You'll find that being such a huge tourist destination, most restaurants serve international fare, with Italian being the most common option.
TransportationIf flying, you'll want to fly into the King Shaka International Airport, located north of Durban. From the airport, you can take the Margate Coach to many of the cities on the Hibiscus Coast. You can also rent a car from the airport or Durban to take to the Coast, which will also help you when touring the area. When getting around, utilize the hotel's car and bus services if they are offered. Public transport here is very unsafe and not recommended. If you are driving yourself around, do not leave valuables in the car and be sure to keep it locked at all times.
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