KwaZulu-Natal North Coast
Just north of Durban and a stones throw from the new King Shaka International Airport is the Zulu Kingdom’s North Coast, also known as the Dolphin Coast. This region, perhaps best known for its schools of bottlenose dolphins and luxury seaside resorts, offers luxury, beauty, sport and history - an unspoilt natural environment with lush tropical coastline and warm waters. It is a malaria-free region of infinite beaches and gentle rolling hills covered in sugar cane, a place to indulge the senses - either in good restaurants offering fi ne dining, or partying in nightclubs. Tee off on one of the excellent golf courses or for the sheer thrill of it - take to the air for a birds-eye view of this magnificent coastline.
The North Coast, with the seaside town of Ballito as its hub, is well located being centrally located with easy access to both Durban and the game reserves of Zululand and the Elephant Coast. This region offers visitors a variety of modern facilities at seaside hotels and resorts as well as boutique hotels, many of them with meetings facilities. Whilst its natural setting provides opportunities for a number of outdoor adventures from horse riding and hiking, surfing and fishing to mountain biking, micro-lighting. Incentive visitors can work up a sweat in the morning on one of these adventure activities and then relax in a sublime spa by afternoon before a night out on the town.
Situated within an abundant forest environment is the Zimbali Coastal Resort, an up-market residential estate, lodge and golf course. Zimbali - Zulu for “valley of fl owers” is an unspoiled region and nature lover’s wonderland. With dappled shadows from the lush vegetation and cool breezes from the Indian Ocean, Zimbali is a wonderful canvas for the inspired event planner. A variety of meetings facilities are available at both the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge and Resort.
This region boasts some of the fi nest golf courses in the Southern Hemisphere - golfers visiting this region will be spoilt for choice with no less than six golf courses of varying standards of difficulty available. The Zimbali Golf Club which is amongst the top 10 courses in South Africa in terms of the ultimate golfi ng experience and a must visit to any keen golfer excepting the challenges of narrow fairways and bunkers surrounding the greens. The Prince’s Grant course offers a great variety of holes found amongst dunes, valleys, streams, and the lagoon and the clubhouse and lodge are a rare example of authentic colonial architecture.
A fascinating cultural mix exists in this region that was once part of the great Zulu empire built by King Shaka. This was created by the subsequent waves of adventurers moving into the area, from the arrival of colonialists, the French Mauritian sugar cane growers to the indentured Indian labourers.
The Caledon Boutique Hotel is an upmarket hotel near the quaint little sugar farming village of Umhlali, and only 12 km from the King Shaka International Airport. It offers conferencing for up to 120 people. Umhlali village has beautiful buildings, “old world” charm and a distinctly colonial atmosphere, the shops are varied and visitors can enjoy home-made treats and fresh farm produce and witness fi rst hand the crushing of sugar cane, and sample freshly crushed, iced sugar juice at the sugar mill.
Walk a ‘muti’ (African medicine) trail through the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve or visit historic battle sites such as the Ultimatum Tree, Ndondakusuka or Fort Pearson, or visit the burial place of the great Zulu King at Kwa-Dukuza. Zulu hospitality is warm and the people friendly, and they are proud to show you their heritage. This region is also home to a large Indian community, so look out for their temples, sample their spicy foodstuffs or shop for fresh produce at any of the numerous markets. This area abounds with ideas for memorable adventures, cultural interactions and teambuilding activities.