Updated: Jun 28, 2022
The South African Tourism Board stated, “Hiking trails are the best way to experience South Africa’s scenery, sunny climate and outdoor culture – it’s one of the world’s most popular hiking destinations. Whether you like to hike up mountains, along rivers or through valleys, you’re certain to find a perfect route.”
The development of tourism routes in the hinterland is a key role of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT), bringing unique experiences to visitors while creating valuable job opportunities for local communities. The launch of the Umzumbe River Trail at the Durban ICC on Wednesday, 4 May is the latest hinterland initiative that takes visitors into the heart of the KZN South Coast for an authentic Zulu experience.
“There are more than 1 000 registered hiking trails across South Africa’s nine provinces offering visitors an incredibly immersive experience,” explained Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of USCT. “Drawing on this popularity, we considered a dedicated KZN South Coast hiking trail the perfect way to provide visitors with an unmatched hinterland excursion that brings in natural and cultural enlightenment along the way. In this way, we’re creating a sustainable rural tourism product that further entrenches the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom as a prime holiday destination.”
Those embarking on the Umzumbe River Trail will be given a traditional welcome at the start at Mhlabatshane Dam in Phugashe before a week-long hiking adventure that winds along 70km of spectacular natural landscape. Knowledgeable local trail guides will lead guests, either hiking and biking, while sharing information on the unique geology, flora and fauna of the region as well as the many medicinal uses of plants that have formed part of Zulu culture for centuries.
This trail winds across a landscape that is home to six Zulu clans; the eNhlangwini, eMabheleni, KwaCele, KwaNdelu, KwaQwabe and KwaMadlala. Guides will take hikers on detours along the trail to places of interest and privately owned refreshment stops. Every night, visitors will be welcomed into authentic homestays where they get to experience the traditional culture of each of these clans.
Drumming, song, dance and storytelling will give insights into a history stretching back to the days of iNkosi uShaka and beyond. Guests will also enjoy the opportunity to venture out and experience the taverns, sights and sounds of nearby villages. The world-renowned skill of local artisans will be showcased through handmade arts and crafts on display.
There is so much to ‘sea and do’ on the KZN South Coast! To find out more about the Umzumbe River Trail and other KZN South Coast experiences, download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app from Google Play and Apple stores, check out ‘South Coast Tourism’ on Facebook or YouTube, @infosouthcoast on Twitter or Instagram, or ‘Info Ugu South Coast Tourism’ on LinkedIn.
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(Image: Supplied by USCT)
Visit www.visitkznsouthcoast.co.za for more information on tourism offerings