Hibiscus Coast, KwaZulu-Natal
Did you know?
The sardine run, an Hibiscus Coast attraction, is one of the world's greatest marine spectacles.
The Hibiscus Coast, KwaZulu-Natal, is so named for the thousands of beautiful hibiscus shrubs that bloom along this part of the coast. Hibberdene, Port Shepstone, Uvongo, Shelly Beach, Margate, Southbroom and Port Edward are the small towns and villages that make up the lower South Coast.
These spots feature a wide range of holiday accommodation, restaurants, shops and tourism facilities that support the main attraction, the beaches.
The Hibiscus Coast boasts six Blue Flag beaches at Margate, Marina/San Lameer, Ramsgate, Trafalgar, Umzumbe and Lucien. Blue Flag beaches are those that have achieved excellence in water quality and environmental education while adhering to international safety standards.
A glorious coastline, protected pockets of sub-tropical bush and the Oribi Gorge offer visitors a wealth of Hibiscus Coast activities that can be enjoyed all year round.
Between May and July, the calm waters off the coast become a hive of activity when the annual Sardine Run takes place. This mass pilchard migration transforms the sea into one of the greatest feeding frenzies on Earth, as thousands of bottlenosed dolphins, sharks, game fish and gannets feast on the passing shoal.
Although the sardine run attracts many natural predators, anglers also make fantastic catches at this time of the year. Fishermen gather to try their luck from the rocky shore and from boats launched from local ski-boat clubs. Diving enthusiasts may explore some of the world's best shark-diving sites at Aliwal Shoal (a half-hour drive north) and Protea Banks (8km off Shelly Beach).
The Hibiscus Coast is also fondly referred to as South Africa's ‘golf coast' as there are seven golf courses in the vicinity, including two of the country's top courses – all offer varying levels of difficulty and majestic vistas over the Indian Ocean.
Twitchers will be in their element with the abundant birdlife in the area; get your fix on the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Birding Route or visit the Oribi Gorge and Umtamvuna Nature Reserve. These reserves are also home to a number of mammal species, including buck, and they offer a variety of walks and hiking trails.
The scenic and spectacular Oribi Gorge is a local inland adventure destination that boasts the world's biggest bungee swing, the world's highest natural commercial abseil, and a range of wonderful hikes.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Hibiscus Coast Tourism
Phone: +27 (0)39 682 7944
Fax: +27 (0)39 682 1034
How to get here
Fly from any of South Africa’s major cities to King Shaka International Airport.
If you’re driving from Johannesburg take the N3 freeway direct to Durban. From Cape Town, take the N2 freeway to Durban.
From Durban, travel south on the N2 motorway to Hibberdene, the start of the Hibiscus Coast.
Best time to visit
The Hibiscus Coast is an all-year-round destination due to its beautiful, warm climate. Summers (December to February) are particularly hot and humid.
Around the area
Visit the Oribi Gorge, a scenic and beautiful landmark where adventure sports are offered.
Tours to do
Fabulous lighthouse tours; Oribi Gorge and Umtamvuna and nature reserves; Oribi Gorge adventure activities; Uvongo Bird Park; Butterfly Farm at Ramsgate; Beaver Creek Coffee Estate in Port Shepstone; Margate Art Museum; the Red Desert at Port Edward; Space Centre and Observatory in Port Edward; dolphin and whale-watching tours.
Length of stay
At least a week to enjoy a variety of offerings.
What to eat
Fresh seafood and waffles served a hundred different ways at Ramsgate's Waffle House.
The annual Sardine Run from May to July; South Coast Lions Show at Port Shepstone in July; Ski-Boat Festival at St Michael's Beach in July.
Traditional Zulu art and crafts at roadside stores all along the coast.