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Margate is a favourite seaside resort town on South Africa’s wild South Coast.
The South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal is the southeastern shore of Africa, a somewhat remote and beautiful coastline along the warm turquoise Indian Ocean.
The largest most popular small holiday town along the secluded scenic coastline, Margate is about 100 kms south of Durban, between Port Shepstone and Port Edward. It is set in what is known as the Hibiscus Coast, due to its profusion of flowering shrubs and lush green vegetation.
For a hundred years South African families have been going to Margate for Easter and Christmas holidays. The incredible natural beauty of the beach and lovely surrounding natural landscapes explains why it is a much loved holiday destination.
The South Coast attracts international tourists as it has some of the most beautiful protected wildernesses on the planet. Due to the shallow sea and rocky outcrops it was impossible to establish a harbour and some of the pristine beauty of the paradise that it was, still remains.
Things to Do
The permanently pleasant climate and warm sea are perfect all year for a relaxing holiday, especially with children, in fresh air and surrounded by nature.
Beach and Water
The main Margate beach is magnificent, with a lagoon and river.
Long and broad, the sandy beach gently slopes down to a huge shallow expanse of sea, wonderful for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and sailing. There is an adjacent pool and restaurant and the beach has Blue Flag status.
Visitors can relax in the sunshine on the glorious beach, or swim in the sea and pools. The climate is warm enough for swimming and water sports all year .
St Michaels beach nearby is especially good for surfing.There are shark nets and lifeguards to ensure safe surfing and swimming.
Margate has some of the best angling in the world, with a huge variety of fish.
There are lagoons, piers, ski boats, jetties, massive rock formations and cliffs from which to fish along the seashore. It is popular for fishing all year.
There is an increasing fascination with birds, and the South Coast has some amazing bird watching places. It is a heavenly environment for birds, with habitats that include lagoons, estuaries, wetland forests, gorges and open grasslands, and there are about 400 species recorded on the coast.
The South Coast is a Golfing Paradise.The Margate Country Club has a picturesque 18 hole golf course that winds along the river, designed for all levels of players.The subtropical vegetation with exotic and indigenous trees and shrubs, is an impressive background for golf courses, some of which overlook the sea and rivers, and there about 8 more courses nearby, some of the best in the country.
For nature lovers there are many untouched natural wildernesses to visit near Margate, as there nine reserves altogether on the South Coast. There are guided hiking trails and tours.
About 40 kms inland from Margate, is Oribi, a spectacular ravine 27 kms long and 400 ms (55 stories) deep. Abseiling, gorge swinging, cliff climbing and hiking are among the adventure activities available there. It is an unforgettable experience looking down at the dramatic deep gorge and sheer cliffs in this forested Nature Reserve.
The park also has leopards, zebras, giraffes and other game animals.
There is the Hibiscus Mall in Margate, and the Shelly Centre, a large and popular shopping centre nearby. There are also numerous small art galleries and craft markets selling beautiful handmade items in the seaside villages.
Margate Airport is the second largest runway in Natal. Small planes can be chartered for scenic flights over the sea to explore the stunning surrounding terrain and fly along the lovely coastline, which is great fun.
There are enjoyable scenic drives both up and down the coastline and also several beautiful drives inland, such as to the breathtaking Oribi Gorge and the Nature Reserves.
Where to Stay
Margate has many self catering cottages, holiday homes, and guest houses as it is well equipped for family holidays. There are also lodges and hotels.
Luxury holiday apartments are available on the gorgeous beachfront with direct beach access. The Margate Beach is particularly beautiful with exquisite expansive views of blue sea.
Margate is well organised with many types of accommodation to suit different requirements, especially for family activities and holidays.
Where to Eat
After a day of swimming or relaxing, Margate has plenty of seaside bars, restaurants and nightclubs nearby once the sun sets.
Flavours Restaurant uses fresh high quality ingredients.
Le Rendezvous is a french bistro in Scottburgh.
La Capannina is in Ramsgate nearby.
The Trattoria La Terrazza is an Italian restaurant on Outlook Rd on the beach in Southbroom.
Margate is about 160 kms from Shaka Airport down the N2, about 1 ½ hours drive in a taxi or hired car. Cars are available at the airport.
There are several airport shuttle services to Margate every day and it is best to choose a company and book before hand. The shuttles take about 2 ½ hours due to stops on the way.
Tours can also be booked locally to see the staggering beauty of the views along the coast.
For a more down to earth experience there are guest houses. Less expensive than hotels, they offer a more homey environment, as well as more privacy. Converted from a private house it’s a much gentler environment and for those with furry friends, there are also pet friendly options. They are usually well situated with shops and places of interest nearby. Being so small it offers a much more personal and intimate attention to it’s upkeep, leaving you with a more polished and homely experience.