Sunshine Coast Attractions
The coastal region between Amanzimtoti and Mtwalume, 40km/25mi south, is known as the Sunshine Coast. To the south of this, between Hibberdene and Port Edward, is the Hibiscus Coast. This whole stretch of coast is one of the country's most popular holiday regions. It is best avoided during the school holidays, particularly at Christmas and Easter, when many South Africans come here for a break. There is plenty of accommodation for visitors: few hotels of the highest standard but numerous more modest establishments and innumerable holiday apartments. The beaches farther south, in the Western and Eastern Cape, are even more beautiful and are less crowded.
Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve
The Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve (area 2,200ha/5,400ac is reached on R 612, which runs inland from the coastal town of Park Rynie, passing through Umzinto (15km/9mi west of Scottburgh). In this gentle upland region, declared a nature reserve in 1973, live porcupines, blue wildebeests, antelopes and gazelles, zebras and black-backed jackals. Two artificial lakes attract large numbers of birds. The area is worth visiting for its fascinating vegetation, seen at its best in spring. Good walking. Simple self-catering accommodation.
South of Umkomaas (4km/2.5mi north of Scottburgh) is Croc World, a crocodile-breeding farm with over 2,000 crocodiles and snakes A particular attraction is the glass tunnel running through the snake house. There is a restaurant in which visitors can sample crocodile meat.
Kingsburgh, South Africa
A few km/mi south of Amanzimtoti is Kingsburgh (pop. 26,000), a town formed by the amalgamation of five small seaside resorts. The long sandy beaches (altogether 8km/5mi in length) and the coastal lagoons, with nets to keep out sharks, offer safe bathing.Each of the five parts of Kingsburgh has its own individual character. Nearest Amanzimtoti is Doonside, a little settlement with a shady beach and a modern apartment block: an ideal place for a relaxing holiday. Warner Beach is a friendly little resort situated on a lagoon which is a favorite haunt of sailing and motorboating enthusiasts. Winklespruit offers good sailing waters and good fishing, and there are pleasant walks in the dense forest bordering the beach. Illovo Beach, at the mouth of the river Illovo in a sugarcane-growing area, also has good fishing. Karridene appeals to walkers, with long beach and forest walks.
Umkomaas, South Africa
On the Sunshine Coast is Umkomaas (pop. 2,000), at the mouth of the Mkomazi River, which rises in the Drakensberg at a height of 3,000m/10,000ft. Umkomaas is a center of the cellulose industry, and accordingly is not particularly attractive as a holiday resort. It does, however, have a beautifully situated 18-hole golf course.An attempt in 1881 to establish a port at the mouth of the Mkomazi was frustrated by the strong currents and sandbanks off the coast. The town of Umkomaas was founded in 1902. Its name, derived from that of the river, means "place of the whale-cows": the female whales used to come to the shallow water at the mouth of the river to produce their young. The Zulu chief Shaka is said to have observed this on one occasion and to have named the river accordingly.
Between June and August huge swarms of sardines can regularly be observed off the coast here. They normally live in the cold water off the south and southwest coasts of Africa, but in the spawning season move to the coastal waters off Durban which are warmed by the Benguela Current. The current carries the sardines, followed by hungry predators, close to the coast.
Ifafa Beach (pop. 400), at the mouth of the river Ifafa, has a sheltered bathing beach and a lagoon with good fishing. Water-skiing is practiced here, and there is rowing (against the stream) on a long stretch of the river.
Mtwalume, South Africa
At the south end of the Sunshine Coast is Mtwalume, with a rocky beach which offers good fishing. There is a seawater swimming pool.
The bleak coast at Scottburgh (pop. 7,000) is popular with fishermen. On the main beach there is a seawater swimming pool, and there is also a golf course.
In Umgababa visitors will find numerous stalls selling Zulu craft products (woodcarving, pottery, etc.) - as well as imported kitsch.