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12 unforgettable ways to celebrate Heritage Day in iLembe

Because how else would you rather spend Heritage Day?

1. Visit Umkhosi weLembe 

Spears clash, warriors collide and the dust dances to the rhythmic beat of a drum, leading hundreds of Zulus in the ‘zokugiya’, a traditional Zulu dance. Heritage Day in Kwa-Zulu Natal is not complete without Umkhosi weLembe (previously known as King Shaka Day). This year it will be held at Stanger High School in KwaDukuza on September 24. Thousands of South Africans attend this annual event.

2. Go snorkeling in Ballito

There is nothing quite like getting up close to marine life while snorkeling. Photo: Tidal Tao.

The tidal pool at Salt Rock, just north of the beach and directly opposite the campsite, is a delight and perfect for first-time snorkelers and children. It is very safe, calm and easy to access.
Thompson’s Bay tidal pool is another ideal spot with an array of marine life. Further north is Sheffield Beach, with its plethora of rock pools it is one of the best spots for snorkeling in KZN. We recommend Tidal Tao for excellent snorkeling excursions along the North Coast. Contact them at 079 307 0608.

3. Take a walk on the wild side

The Howard Johnson Nature Reserve is known for its rich variety of butterflies and bird-life, the reserve is situated north of Ballito on the banks of the Tugela River and north of Zinkwazi. A small variety of wildlife is located on the reserve such as giraffe, zebra, bush-pig and antelope as well as the iconic Ultimatum Tree, Fort Pearson and a museum that documents the life of King Shaka Zulu. Contact them at 032 815 1050.

4. Try some Zulu traditional food

Originally, the Zulus depended on farming and hunting for food. That is why Madumbe, sweet potatoes, maize (the staple food of the Zulus), and other vegetables are part of traditional dishes. One thing of note about Zulu traditional food is that it’s always boiled.

However, these days people put different spins on the traditional dishes. There are many restaurants in KwaDukuza that offer traditional food. One of the most popular being ‘isigwaqane’, sugar beans mixed with maize meal.

You can have this dish with boiled meat, imfino (plant that grows wild) or beef curry. The other popular traditional dish is imfino with phuthu, boiled chicken and salad.

Again, the dishes vary from chef to chef.

We recommend Nhla’s Kitchen in KwaDukuza. Contact them at 063 315 8258.

5. Take the Balllito to Salt Rock trail

This wonderful coastal trail from the seaside resort of Ballito north to Salt Rock takes just more than an hour walking at a comfortable pace, but with its tidal pools and rock platforms, you can easily make a whole day of it in stunning weather.

There are several tidal pools en route, so don’t forget a swimming costume, mask and snorkel. Check the tides before you set off as some of the coves become inaccessible at high tide.

6. Write a love letter

Dumsani Gumbi says he could spend the whole day producing incredible beadwork.

Beads play a vital role in African culture. They are used to decorate traditional attire and make jewellery. But the most important aspect is the message – usually love messages – carried through the different colours.
It is quite easy to find beadwork vendors on the North Coast, often at the main beaches. Almost every township or rural area has talented beadwork artists, so if you need a specific type of beadwork done, you can easily place an order. Some hire out jewllery for special events.

7. Go back in time at the Luthuli Museum 

Sit under the tree where Albert Luthuli and Robert F. Kennedy sat 52 years ago.

Visit the Luthuli Museum and sit in the very spot where African National Congress’ president-general and Nobel Peace Laureate Chief Albert Luthuli sat in conversation with New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 8 1966. Kennedy later referred to Luthuli as one of the most impressive men he had met on his travels around the world.

The KwaShushu natural hot spring.

8. Enjoy a natural sauna

If you are looking for a natural hot spring and a place to take the family or your partner for a rustic getaway, head inland to the KwaShushu natural hot spring. Located on an island in the middle of the Thukela River below Ntunjambili, also known as Kranskop, in Maphumulo the site has no formal camping facilities, however tents can be pitched.

The site is best enjoyed between June and July in winter when the river is low and access to the spring is easier. Contact 082 459 4473 for more information.

9. Go to nature, go to Dokodweni

Be sure to go fishing while enjoying Dokodweni.

Situated north of the Amatikulu Nature Reserve, the Dokodweni lagoon and beach boasts marvellous views of pure and untainted nature for what seemingly continues for miles and miles. The blue flag beach has also maintained its status three years in a row.

So be sure to visit it for a quiet and peaceful getaway from the rush of everyday life.

10. Visit Monkeyland KZN

Monkeyland KZN is a free roaming primate sanctuary, the sister sanctuary to Monkeyland Plettenberg Bay.
Enjoy a monkey safari and see multiple species of exotic monkeys – for example the black howler monkey, the loudest land animal in the world. Their “roar” can be heard up to 7km away!
And kids will love spotting the ring-tailed lemur, the iconic monkey made famous by the Madagascar movie franchise. He likes to “move it move it!”

Contact them at 032 004 0178.

11. Get your adrenaline pumping!

Ballito Cable Ski Park offers tons of fantastic activities, including wakeboarding, waterskiing, slalom skiing, paintball, and so much more. Perhaps their most exciting and unique activity, though, is the flyboard. This is a kind of jetpack or hoverboard, powered by gas turbines, and it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience. The park has also recently launched their new 4×4 course, an intricate course for adrenaline junkies to test out their off road driving.

12. Learn to surf

There’s no better place to learn to surf than in the azure waters of the North Coast. Tiffany’s beach (north of Salt Rock tidal pool), is a particularly good spot for those just starting out. Phone Ballito Surf School on 082 330 6216 to arrange some surfing lessons with Yanek and his team.

Download The North Coast Courier mobile app, now available free from the Apple iStore and on Google Play, for IOS and Android phones.


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