Neighbourhood, activities and nearby attractions
Palm Beach is a beautiful beach where you can walk for miles, pick up shells, tan and swim. It is also a popular fishing spot. The Mpenjati game reserve is adjacent to the beach, and offers hiking trails through the lush tropical seaside. Other close by beaches are: Trafalgar: 5 minute drive; Marina Beach (blue flag beach): 7 minutes drive; Southbroom: 10 minutes drive; Margate: 15 minutes drive; Wild Coast: 15 minutes drive
A golfers dream! Top Golf courses in close vicinity include Southbroom (10 minutes), San Lameer (7 minutes), Port Shepstone (20 minutes), Margate (15 minutes) and Wild Coast (15 minutes).
If you feel like mall-shopping, visit the Shelly Centre or South Coast Mall (both 15 minutes drive). Pop in at the local SPAR (5 minutes) for emergency shopping like bread and milk etc.
Closeby (5 minutes) is a banana farm, Mac Banana, enjoy an authentic pancake breakfast or lunch, and visit their village shop with a rich variety of fresh local produce and even crafts!
If you want to watch an important sports game, the local High Rock Pub is close by and provides big screen viewing, a pub like real local “South-African” experience
Dining on the beach: Marina Beach Restaurant; Riptide (in Southbroom); Fish-On-The-Sea (St Michaels)
Hotel dining: Wild Coast Sun
Many many more Deli’s and restaurants in neighouring towns.
Nearby Attractions 20min – 40min
- The Mpenjati Nature Reserve is situated on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast. The beautiful reserve lies situated around the Mpenjati River Lagoon, and extends seawards 500m, serving to protect the unique fossils found there. The 66 hectare reserve is managed by KwaZulu Natal Wildlife, and consists of a system of interconnecting riverine and floodplain marsh habitats, extensive areas of coastal forest, coastal grasslands and open coastline, as well as river estuary. The Mpenjati River Lagoon has also gained reputation as a popular venue for a variety of water-based activities which include fishing, board sailing, boating, canoeing and swimming. Mpenjati features two picnic sites situated on each bank of the Mpenjati River, as well as barbecue facilities, ablution blocks, and a children’s playground.
- The Mpenjati Reserve is a prime birding destination , as well as providing decent opportunities for hiking. Along the beach and river estuary a number of less common bird species may be spotted including Water Thick-knee, Osprey, Swift Tern, Half-collared Kingfisher, Kittlitz’s Plover, African Black Oystercatcher, and Giant Kingfisher. Birds inhabiting the coastal dune forest include, Black-bellied Starling, Red-capped Robin-chat, White-browed Scrub-robin, Brown Scrub-robin, Black-backed Puffback, Forest Canary, Green Twinspot, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike and Grey-headed Bush-shrike.
- The Ipithi Trail which is just over a kilometer in length travels along the south bank of the river, and allows visitors the occasional opportunity to sight blue, red and grey duiker as well as bushbuck. The Yengele trail on the northern back is a short distance under two kilometers, and leads hikers through one of the KZN South Coast’s largest dune forests. Observation platforms ideally placed along both trails, provide magnificent views of the lagoon, as well as the wetland system and the coast.
- An enormous flock of Barn Swallows have chosen to roost in the reed beds of Umkobi Lagoon at Southbroom, on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast, and in the summer months between October and April, visitors to the area can observe millions of swallows retiring for the evening, a short while before sunset. This natural phenomenon provides both regular and non-regular bird watchers with a truly spectacular sight.
Various theories exist regarding the continuous 24hour daily migration of the barn swallow. Whilst some believe that the small birds sleep in mid-flight, others have been said to think that while one half of the brain sleeps, the other half attends to the business of uninterrupted flight and feeding.
In 2008, a bird expert on the Hibiscus Coast named Andy Pickles managed to ring 300 barn swallow in an attempt to establish where the birds spend their winter months. To date none of the birds have been found, but one Barn Swallow from Umhlanga Rocks holds the record for the fastest known migration, taking only twenty seven days from being documented, to recapture in Whitley Bay, on the eastern shores of England.
Barn Swallows do not breed in South Africa, and they don’t build nests either. They prefer to roost in large numbers, as many as eight to a single stalk, depending on the strength of the chosen reed. All of this is easily accomplished when one considers that a single swallow weighs less than twenty grams. Decent swallow viewing points in Southbroom are at Umkobi Beach, the patio of the Trattoria restaurant, the lagoon shores of Marina Beach, as well as a number of residences in Lower Milkwood, and Umkobi Lodge.
- The Frederika Nature Reserve located at Southbroom on KwaZulu Natal’s South coast, was established in 1977 when thirty beachfront residential sites were placed on the market to be sold. A concerned environmentalist named Leo Driessen realised the importance of the area’s unique biodiversity, and the effect that development of the primary dune would have on Southbroom, so he decided to buy all of the properties and donate them to the South African Nature Conservation Centre.
The reserve was named after Driessen’s wife Frederika, who later went on to donate a number of adjoining sites on the highest part of the dune, which increased the size of the conservation area. In 1990, the reserve was registered with the Department of Environment Affairs as a South African Natural Heritage Site of National Importance.
The Natal Parks Board’s Chief Professional Officer’s at the time reported: “The stand of Coastal Forest is in good condition and has a high diversity of species present. The area shares a common boundary with the Government reserve and is therefore somewhat unique in having sea frontage. This community was once more extensive along the Natal South Coast but today exists only in a few isolated patches due to land being cleared for urban and agricultural development. Species such a blue duiker and bushbuck are present in the forest.”
Frederika Nature Preserve consists of eight hectares of mature, virgin dune forest and borders the 2nd, 16th and 17th fairways of the Southbroom golf course, and is best viewed from the beach. The Southbroom Conservancy is currently involved with the management practices required by Natural Heritage status which includes the continuous removal of alien vegetation with associated soil damage and erosion reclamation as well as regular patrolling to prevent the debarking of trees for traditional medicine, and the prevention of snares.
The Riverbend Crocodile Farm has over 200 Nile crocodiles on display in a natural aquatic setting. The farm is a breeding centre for Nile crocodiles, producing over 4000 hatchlings every year.
Demonstrations of crocodile hatchings take place in January and February daily at 3:30 pm. Crocodile feedings take place every Sunday at 3:30 pm. There is also a snake demonstration at 2 pm on Sundays.
The ever-popular Crocodile Cafe offers delicious meals including a kids menu and is fully licensed. A well-stocked curio shop provides a wide selection of souvenirs.
The park is located on the Old South Coast Rd near Southbroom.
Telephone ( 039) 316 6204
- The Southern Cross Astronomical Observatory and Museum, also known as the Natal Space Centre, was opened in Port Edward on KwaZulu Natal’s South Coast fifteen years ago. The complex consists of an astronomical museum housing an extremely large and interesting private collection of telescopes, optical equipment, books and astronomical photographs, posters, and lasers, and the observatory itself which originally sat on top of the planetarium. Also include is the small planetarium which seats a total of eighty people.
Each year the Southern Cross Astronomical Observatory and Museum stages up to 150 various presentations for the public and for scholars, and sees an average of 1,000 visitors passing through its doors annually. The venue also holds formal meetings on a monthly basis, and sees a number of visiting astronomers giving interesting and informative lectures, as well as viewing evenings, special presentations and film screenings.
For keen astronomers, the Space Centre features two ten inch Meade telescopes, two five inch refractors, both eight and six inch reflectors, and much more which can be viewed daily during holiday seasons. Bookings for interested parties must be made at other times.
For more information call (039)311 2891
- At Beaver Creek Coffee Farm (30 minutes), go for a tour on the farm and enjoy the specialty coffees and teas with your breakfast or lunch, and visit their village shop with local produce.
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