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Umdoni Park

Syzigium Cordatum, the Latin name for the tree that makes this part of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast so special. The Zulus will tell you - Woza hlala nami kwa-amanthe isihlahla Umdoni phansi. Come and sit with me under the Umdoni tree.


Some 508 acres in size and encompassing the Umdoni Park Golf Club, Umdoni Point with it’s relatively private beach and tidal pool, Botha House and excellent trails through some of the most pristine coastal forest left on the KZN South Coast today, The Umdoni Park was the awe-inspiring vision of Sir Frank Reynolds. After acquiring the land in 1918, Sir Frank set about drawing up the final papers that denoted the Umdoni Trust, a mandate that ensured the well being of this exquisite site.


To this day, this beautiful park is maintained in line with the vision initiated in 1918. For the public, it is a place where bird and wildlife abounds, where the coastal forest envelopes you as you venture deeper into the indigenous bush along the many well-maintained trails, where an 18 hole layout tests even the most seasoned golfer and where a luxury guesthouse, having entertained statesmen and past presidents alike, stands proudly overlooking the Indian Ocean...truly a GIFT TO THE NATION.

Bird Watching

As you awake in the morning, your location within this pristine birding area becomes apparent. Wagtails whistle in excitement as they chase moths around on the lawn, the Purple Crested Turaco (Lourie) sends out its morning wake up call from the Flat Crown Tree and the distant call of the Trumpeter Hornbill echo's across the valley.

The real draw to Umdoni Park however lies in the rare birds localised to this lush coastal forest. Fantastic walking trails take you through this 508-acre site with the possibility of seeing 1 of 230 species. Birding enthusiasts have regularly noted their excitement when spotting the Green Malkoha, the Narina Trogon and the Magpie Mannikin. If you are lucky, the pair of nesting Crowned Eagles will be heard calling from their towering vantage points, a sighting of them quite a humbling experience.

Trail Walking

Over 20 kilometres of forest and beachfront hiking trails. Bring along your walking shoes and enjoy trails that are over a hundred years old. To this day, all paths are clearly marked and well maintained and have a varying degree of difficulty to challenge even the seasoned hiker. The Gorge Trail takes you down into the Mkhumbane River Gorge where you'll be met by steep inclines, boulders and waterfalls.

For the more relaxed walking experience, Molly's Road winds its way along the top of the ridge and brings you to the Otter Site, a stunning viewpoint punched out of the lush coastal bush. My breath has been taken away just telling you about it, you are going to have to come and see for yourself.

Beaches

Pennington and Umdoni enjoy kilometres of lovely coastline with beach and rocky outcrops. Perfect for discovering rock pools and the fascinating creatures that depend on those pools for their survival.  If you’re lucky, you may spot a pod or two of dolphins frolicking in the waves.

Diving

Rated amongst the top 10 dive sites in the world, Aliwal Shoal is a sandstone reef, five kilometres in length, featuring elaborate sandstone structures, pinnacles, gullies and caves. At a maximum depth of 28 meters, the abundance of sponges, anemones, hard corals and abundance of fish life will astound even the most experienced divers.

Choose from the many dive centres located in the Umkomaas, Scottburgh and Park Rynie areas and enjoy adrenaline-filled excursions out to sea. 

Oribi Gorge

Carved out by the mighty Mzimkulwana River, the Oribi Gorge is a mere 21 kilometres inland from Port Shepstone. Sandstone cliffs, forest-cloaked banks and stunning views abound here.

Enjoy day trips to the many attractions within this area, including the Wild 5 experience, the Lake Eland Game Reserve as well as the truly spectacular Leopard Rock Coffee shop. Which ever you choose, be spell bound by this natural wonder.

Sardine Run

The natural phenomenon of the Sardine Run still holds a mystery amongst biologists and marine scientists around the world.

Each year, during the months of June and July, huge schools of these tiny sardines can be seen passing along the coastline, always accompanied by larger predators including sharks, dolphins and the ever-vigilant Cape Gannet. To the local fishermen it is a time to prepare fishing gear and enjoy excellent fishing opportunities.

Golf

The stretch of coastline from Durban to Port Edward, regularly referred to as the "Golf Coast", is a Mecca for golfing enthusiasts of all skill levels. Ten golf courses to choose from, a balmy winter climate and stunning views make for an unforgettable golfing experience.

Pack your golf clubs and enjoy one of the South Coast’s most well-known and challenging courses, right on your doorstep. Arrange for fully inclusive packages or just arrive and take advantage of Botha House's location amongst this true reflection of golfing bliss.

Riverbend Crocodile Farm

If you are looking to entertain the kids, learn about crocodiles, buy curios or eat something then Riverbend Crocodile Farm, in Southbroom, on the beautiful South Coast is the place to be. Visit one of the most successful crocodile breeding basks in South Africa!

The farm is open daily from 09h00 to 16h30. Crocodile feeding takes place every Sunday at 15h00 and every Wednesday at 15h00 in the summer months of December, January, February, March & April. The farm is closed on Christmas Day.

Contact:  039 316 6204

Oribi Vulture Viewing

We are very privileged to have a resident breeding colony of over 200 Cape Vultures on our doorstep at Oribi Gorge, allowing very close up and personal encounters with these magnificent birds. From easily accessible cliff vantage points, you can observe the vultures soaring along the ridges, flying above, below and at eye level. Watch as they perform stunning formations and hear the rush of air through their feathers as they glide past, sometimes within just metres. This is a truly memorable (and has been described as almost spiritual) experience. Just a short drive from the tar road at Oribi and you are there. No 4x4 roads to navigate, no mountains to climb, no long hikes.

Contact:  072 893 3794

South Coast Cultural Heritage Experiences

KwaZulu-Natal is blessed with a very rich and recognisable, intriguing and often awe-inspiring African culture, that of the Zulu. The South Coast, known as the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom, has made accessible 5 new cultural experiences that will interest the visitor seeking an authentically African rural adventure. 

Contact:  039 682 7944

Visit the Southern Explorer website for more activities on the KZN South Coast

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