Oribi Gorge adventures
Did you know?
The sandstone cliffs at Oribi Gorge are believed to be over 365 million years old.
The spectacularly beautiful Oribi Gorge on KwaZulu-Natal's South Coast is a haven for adventurists, bird lovers, photographers and nature-lovers alike.
Apart from 250 recorded bird species, small mammals such as bushbuck, reedbuck, blue duiker and grey duiker live in the gorge, and leopards are spotted on rare occasions. Access to the gorge is by means of self-guided trails or an amble along the cliff edge.
When it comes to abseiling in South Africa, few sites can match the rush offered by Oribi Gorge's Wild Abseil. At 110 metres high, it is one of the world's premier natural commercial abseils. Abseilers are lowered over the edge of the gorge, right next to the spectacular Lehrs Falls, to drop the 100-odd metres into the valley below. The first 45 metres is a cliff abseil and the remaining 65 metres a free abseil.
And the action doesn't stop there. The Wild Abseil is part of the gorge's Wild Five adventure activity roster, which includes the Wild Swing and the Wild Slide. The Wild Swing is one of the most popular big swings in South Africa and the highest in the world. It entails a heart-stopping leap off the top of the waterfall and swinging more than 100 metres to the gorge below.
The Wild Slide is slightly less hair-raising and involves sliding 160 metres above the valley along a 120-metre-long steel cable across the front of the falls. This provides the perfect opportunity to take in the awe-inspiring beauty of Oribi Gorge.
Professional instructors are available to assist with all activities and the highest safety standards are adhered to. All safety equipment, including full body harnesses, is provided.
The Oribi Gorge also features some beautiful hikes, ranging from easy one-kilometre trails to more challenging nine-kilometre hikes. A guided overnight trail that includes abseiling is also available.
With grade three to five rapids, the Umzimkulu River provides great white water rafting conditions. Half-day, full-day and two-day packages are available, with two-man inflatable rafts being used when water levels are lower than during the summer rainfall season.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Oribi Gorge Hotel & Adventure Resort
Tel: +27 (0) 39 687 0253
Fax: +27 (0) 39 687 0267
How to get here
Fly from any of South Africa’s major cities to Durban International Airport. If you’re driving, from Johannesburg take the N3 highway direct to Durban. From Cape Town, take the N2 highway to Durban. From Durban, travel south on the N2 to Port Shepstone and follow the signs to Oribi Gorge.
Best time to visit
Thanks to a tropical climate, Oribi Gorge is an all-year-round destination. Summers (September to March), however, are particularly hot and humid.
Around the area
The Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve has a number of excellent hiking and mountain bike trails and is a birdwatcher's delight.
Length of stay
Take a few days to explore the surrounding area.
What to pack
No matter what the season always pack a hat and plenty of sunscreen.
What to eat
Country style fare at the Leopard Rock Coffee Shop, boasting awesome gorge views.
The annual sardine run from May to July; South Coast Lions Show at Port Shepstone in July; Ski-Boat Festival at St. Michaels Beach in July.
Locally made arts, crafts and curios, including beautiful beadwork and woven baskets, at roadside stalls and venues throughout the area. Locally grown coffee at Echo Valley and Thornton coffee farms.