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Overview
LLilizela Provincial Awards – Visitor Experience of the Year Categories: Marine Adventure and Beach Experience 1. INTRODUCTION: The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence (KZNSB) is mandated to be a global leader in bather protection against shark attacks while minimising environmental impact, thus promoting beach tourism in KwaZulu-Natal. The KwaZulu-Natal coastline is the only coastline with 37 beaches equipped with bather safety gear owned and maintained by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence in South Africa. The KZNSB also conducts research into the biology of sharks. The public, tourists and scholars are educated with dynamic audio-visual shows and shark dissections. In-depth research, that has already produced vital insight, is conducted into shark behaviour, feeding and breeding. The public can enjoy early boat trips out to sea to observe staff at work, where one will witness the checking of shark safety gear as well as stand an excellent chance of spotting a variety of marine life. KZNSB is a vital and strategic role player in the success of tourism in our province and our mandate of the protection of our beaches and bathers throughout the KZN coastline has resulted in the ever-increasing number of tourists that grace our shores. In the fulfilment of our vision, we are luring the tourists’ influx into the Province of KZN. The KZN Province is renowned of its warm waters and its favourable weather that is almost forever summer. Out of approximately 85% of the visitors from all over the world, at least ±60% of those visitors have heard about the beaches of KZN highlighting their warm waters and the protection of the beach against shark attacks. In return these visitors stay in hotels, they do shopping at our malls and this results into a considerable shopping spend that contributes immensely into the GDP of our province. Our protected beaches become a vehicle that create a platform for exploring strategic economic opportunities within our province. 2. KZNSB TOURISM OFFERINGS/EXPERIENCES: 2.1 Boat Trips: An exciting experience for members of the public to enjoy and learn more about the Operations and Research side of the Entity. Early morning boat trips give the passengers a view of the shark safety gear being checked and maintained while the skipper on board explains the Board’s operations up and down the coast, research being carried out and conservation efforts being managed on a daily basis. This 2-hour trip departs from Wilsons Wharf, weather and sea conditions permitting as well as minimum number of passengers being pre-booked. The trip offers opportunistic viewing of marine wildlife such as seabirds and dolphins and other marine life. 2.2 Audio-Visual Presentation and Shark Dissection: An essential part of the Board’s education programme is to inform the general public and learner groups on the activities of the organisation. The audio-visual presentation and shark dissection offers all this and more. Running six shows a week the audience is enthralled by the dynamic aerials shots, slow pans across the ocean and superb imagery that focuses on the shark and the important role it plays in the marine eco-system. This is followed by a shark dissection where the audience can get close up and personal with these awesome creatures, learning more about their senses, breeding and feeding habits. Bather safety is always emphasised bringing in the rules of safe bathing to prevent incidents and drownings. Shows: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 09h00 and 14h00 and the first Sunday of each month at 14h00 2.3 Shark Museum: A large variety of lifelike replica sharks, skates, rays and dolphins enhance the foyer and display areas. Posters with interesting facts on sharks are also on view. Open hours: Monday to Friday 08h00am to16h00pm, and the first Sunday of each month at 14h00pm. 2.4 Curio Shop: Unique, unusual and stylish gifts are available in “Fathoms”. This treasure chest includes the ever-popular branded t-shirts, jewellery handcrafted items and more. Open Monday to Friday 08h00 to 16h00 and the first Sunday of each month at 14h00. Page 3 of 7 2.5 Sardine Run: The annual Sardine Run, a phenomenon that occurs off our KZN during the winter months, brings tons of the tiny silver fish in our waters from the Cape as part of their breeding cycle, and is a spectacle to be behold. However, the “run” has been poor for the last two years, with on 15 baskets being taken in 2013 and none at all in 2014. This had a devastating effect on the subsistence fisherfolk who rely on this bounty to sustain them during the year. There could be a number of reasons for this, such as the water being too warm and not below the 19 degrees they require, which means they have moved off into deeper water away from the close inshore waters. The bird and dolphin activity always indicated where the shoals of sardines were in the past making it a highly visible event in the past as the shoals travelled up the KZN coastline. Shark safety gear is usually lifted to avoid unnecessarily high captures of the accompanying predators such as sharks, dolphins, gamefish and seabirds. Bather protection against sharks ensures the safety of tourists and supports tourism growth. Tourist visits to the Province's beaches form a significant proportion of international and local tourism. The KZNSB also conducts research into the biology of sharks and other animals caught in shark safety gear and offers a public education programmes. Public education activities include educational outreach and marine tourism programmes to create awareness about safe bathing and the marine environment. In these programmes tourists and scholars are educated with dynamic audio-visual presentation and shark dissection show. In-depth research, that has already produced vital insight, is conducted into shark behaviour, feeding and breeding. Pleasurable yet educational early morning boat trips also form part of the educational programmes that are offered by the KZNSB. The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence (KZNSB) is mandated to be a global leader in bather protection against shark attacks while minimising environmental impact, thus promoting tourism. The KwaZulu-Natal coastline is the only coastline with 37 beaches equipped with bather safety gear owned and maintained by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence in South Africa. Bather protection against sharks ensures the safety of tourists and supports tourism growth. Tourist visits to the Province's beaches form a significant proportion of international and local tourism. The KZNSB also conducts research into the biology of sharks and other animals caught in shark safety gear and offers a public education programmes. Public education activities include educational outreach and marine tourism programmes to create awareness about safe bathing and the marine environment. In these programmes tourists and scholars are educated with dynamic audio-visual presentation and shark dissection show. In-depth research, that has already produced vital insight, is conducted into shark behaviour, feeding and breeding. Pleasurable yet educational early morning boat trips also form part of the educational programmes that are offered by the KZNSB.

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