The South Coast, also known as the Hibiscus Coast is a land filled with adventure, whether it be on land or upon the high seas. A popular destination for weddings, business getaways and family holidays, the area offers something fun for everyone. There is abseiling, horse riding, scuba diving, shark cage diving and more. If there is one thing that can be enjoyed by everyone, it is the views. Coastal forests, deep gorges, panoramic ocean views, sandstone cliffs and the never ending coastline are but a few of the sights that you can take in. These sights are best taken in while on a walk or hike, in the middle of nature. There are some of the best hiking trails in the South Coast with incredible birdlife. Hiking is an activity that can be done alone, as a couple or with your family. There are hikes of varying difficulties and distances, and there is one for everyone.
Here are 4 of our favourite hiking trails in the South Coast:
- The Mpenjati Nature Reserve offers hikers an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of scenic walking trails along the beautiful beaches and rivers teaming with the bountiful animal life, vegetation and rock formations. There are walks of varying distances starting from the Mpenjati River, and the longest being a casual 4 hour (9km) walk to the Mbizana River at Southbroom. The sand dunes should be left undisturbed due to the delicate fauna and flora. The area between the high and low water mark is ideal for walking as it is relatively firm. The flexibility of this trail allows for the whole family, of all fitness levels to tag along on. It is situated off the R61, 20km south of Margate and gates are open from 06h00 to 18h00 in summer (October to March) and from 07h00 to 17h00 in winter (April to September).
- For the more adventurous hiker, visiting the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve which is eight km’s from Port Edward, offers some trails with varying difficulty and distances to explore. There are three incredible trails to choose from. The options include the Kingfisher trail which is thirty minutes long, the Loerie trail which takes up to two hours and the Fish Eagle trail, which is a four-hour circular route which provides hikers the opportunity to discover the incredible array of birdlife including some rare bird species and the breathtaking views of this diverse reserve.There are also several species of buck and monkeys which inhabit the lush surroundings. If you visit the reserve in the spring, you will be fortunate to experience various areas covered in beautiful wild flowers. This reserve is situated off the Izingolweni Road and the R61, and it is open from 06h00 – 18h00 in the summer and winter, from 06h30 – 17h30.
- For those who love taking walks on the beach, why not tackle the Marine Ramble.This is a seven-kilometre hike that starts in Margate and ends in Ramsgate. It is an ‘out and back’ trail, so you will use the same route to go and come back. The trail starts from Margate’s tidal pool, and the first three kilometers of the trail is a beach walk. There are no markers, so just follow the beach towards Ramsgate and enjoy the secluded scenery. Once you reach Ramsgate’s Pinky rock, the trail starts to take shape with paths and bridges. There are no strenuous hills on the walk, but you will cover beach and rocky terrain and cross a few small shallow lagoon mouths. This hike is ideal for the whole family.
- Other hiking trails in the South Coast can be found in the Oribi Gorge area. The Hoopoe Falls hike is an easy route which follows the river from the main picnic site in the gorge. You will be flanked by the towering sandstone cliffs of the gorge as you follow the river for about ninety minutes. You will then join the running trail alongside the Mbalala Stream. This hike is seven km’s long and will take four hours, return on the same route. Another option is to do the Mziki hike. This hike also starts at the main gorge picnic site but takes you to the top of the cliffs where you can enjoy the spectacular views of the gorge as you make your way through grasslands. It is nine km’s long, and it takes an about five hours.
These are but a few of the excellent trails available to you on the South Coast. After a day of hiking and exploring, there is nothing better than heading back to your beachside hotel and unwinding. At Umthunzi, you can arrange for a massage or just load up on some carbs at our restaurant. For more great things to do in our beautiful country, check out this blog piece on the top 100 things to do in SA! We hope to see you here, soon. Happy hiking!