South Coast Mecca The Hibiscus C
South Coast Mecca
The Hibiscus Coast Municipality has its administrative seat in Port Shepstone and covers an area of approximately 90 km of coastline, comprising of 21 beaches and extends 30 km inland, covering a vast, rural area under the leadership of six tribal authorities.
The Hibiscus Coast Municipality is the most concentrated economic hub within the Ugu District Municipality. The main features of the economy are tourism and agriculture with some manufacturing centred around Port Shepstone
The largest town on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, Port Shepstone was founded in 1867 at the Mzimkulu River Mouth because of marble deposits found on the banks of the river. Many settlers of different origin boosted the town’s economy, which is built on agricultural and industrial wealth and safe, sunny beaches. Plans are afoot for the development of Port Shepstone as a regional economic and tourism hub for the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
Farming activities in the municipality include intensive and semi-intensive farming (sugar-cane, bananas in the Umtamvuna area, and forestry), and non-commercial stock-raising and crop production (mainly for home consumption) in the rural areas
The SouthCoast is the second-largest domestic tourism market after Durban, with about 2.2 million annual visitors. The towns along the coast are popular holiday resorts which offer a wide range of sports amenities and recreational activities. However, the rural areas that now form part of the municipality are relatively underdeveloped. Much property growth is currently underway with the establishment of new shopping complexes and residential developments.
The greatest shoal on earth describes the huge shoal of sardines that leaves Africa's west coast to follow the plankton- rich cold ocean current that flows up the South Coast during the winter months. 50,000 common and bottlenose dolphins, thousands of sharks, shoals of different species of game fish, seals and tens of thousands of sea birds all follow the huge shoal, competing for nature's bounty. In an amazing spectacle of combined hunting skills, copper sharks and dolphins team up by herding sections of the shoal closer to the surface, making it easier for sea birds to plunge in and take their share. Hundreds of humpback whales salute the ocean extravaganza by lifting their large tails as they move up the coast during their winter migration
Margate is the main holiday resort, accommodating more holidaymakers than residents. The town is also the economic centre for a strip of coastline almost completely made up of accommodation, holiday homes and tourist-related establishments. Margate has its own airport.
Tourism projects for the next five years include a small-craft harbour to link the Port Shepstone central business district (CBD) to the beach. The Hibiscus Coast Development Agency is spearheading a R2 billion initiative to develop the Port Shepstone beachfront, with plans including an inner harbour, canal, pier and coastal boardwalk.
Other development Hibberdene Small craft harbour and Zulu village , the promotion of rural arts and crafts, to be sold in the central business districts of the coastal towns; international marketing of the Sardine Run; the provision of rickshaws on all main beaches; and the development of “rural experience” tours.
Southbroom, about 9 km beyond Ramsgate, provides excellent facilities for watersports. Giant fossilised trees are to be found at Fossil Head, 5 km beyond Port Edward. Adjacent to the Eastern Cape border is the Wild Coast Casino.
Places of Interest
Margate Bird Park, Riverbend Crocodile Farm, Skyline Nature Reserve, Uvongo River Reserve, Banana Express, Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, Vernon Crookes Game Reserve, Old Macdonald’s Family Farm, Umtumvuna River Gorge, arts and craft centres, tours and river cruises, Port Shepstone and Margate Museums, Shell Museum (Uvongo).