South Coast hot spots offer innovative online experiences during lockdown

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While confinement indoors has proven a difficult – albeit necessary – undertaking for South Africans, many organisations have quickly adapted to allow innovative visitor experiences during the national lockdown.

On the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, a number of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) member establishments have introduced online portals to give residents at a home a chance to experience virtual tours and interactions.

“These are obviously unprecedented times, but it has been so enlightening to see how our local tourism establishments are pivoting to maintain visitor interest while also performing a civic duty in keeping people home, safe and entertained,” said CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism, Phelisa Mangcu.

“Virtual tours have worked really well for nature-based organisations where core staff members are still performing maintenance and animal feeding. These virtual experiences are a great opportunity for new visitors to get a sense of these tourism offerings and for regular customers to enjoy the serenity of the KZN South Coast during these difficult times.”

Crocworld Conservation Centre (www.crocworld.co.za)

This Scottburgh-based animal conservation centre has garnered a number of new online visitors through its comprehensive video sharing, animal talks and tours during this time. The Crocworld team has been hosting virtual tours of the centre with live feeds and interactive sessions with the resident experts, Martin Rodrigues (Centre Manager), James Wittstock (Reptile Curator) and Ryne Ferguson (Bird Curator).

The public can also visit the Crocworld Conservation Centre Facebook page to vote on environmental topics and themes they would like covered during the lockdown period, and check out any of the exciting snake capture videos being posted. Upcoming live-stream videos set to be shared on the ‘Crocworld Conservation Centre’ Facebook page include the Flamingo feeding and talk on and the Green Mamba talk.

Crocworld Conservation Centre.

Wild 5 Adventures (www.wild5adventures.co.za)

Located in the stunning Oribi Gorge, Wild 5 Adventures is renowned for its incredible Wild Gorge Swing – an adrenaline-inducing ride on the world’s highest gorge swing. A free-fall of 55 storeys has participants accelerating to speeds of 120km/h.

During the lockdown, Wild 5 Adventures is inviting everyone who has taken the leap to share their videos online in the ‘Show Us Your Jump LOCKDOWN Competition’! This gives viewers a chance to experience the adrenaline from home while one lucky participant stands the chance of winning R1 500 and a lifetime supply of #BraggingRights.

Wild 5 Adventures.

Lake Eland Game Reserve (www.lakeeland.co.za)

Another Oribi Gorge spectacular, Lake Eland Game Reserve is 2 500 hectares of diverse ecosystems home to some of South Africa’s most impressive wildlife and natural vegetation. During the national lockdown period, they will be sharing images and video clips to give residents a chance to escape into the African bushland and get up-and-close with natural wonders – from the comfort of home.

Lake Eland Game Reserve​.

Rocky Bay Resorts and Rocky Bay Trails (www.rockybay.co.za)

Scottburgh’s popular holiday location, Rocky Bay Resorts – home to Rocky Bay Trails – is keeping nature lovers engaged and uplifted through regular Facebook posts and messages. Smell the sea air and get a virtual taste of the ocean life by visiting ‘Rocky Bay Resorts’ or ‘Rocky Bay Trails’ on Facebook. Visitors can even go on a virtual mountain bike ride or trail run by watching one of the uploaded scenic videos of the site.

For more information about USCT and its member establishments, download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app from Google Play and Apple stores or visit www.visitkznsouthcoast.co.za. USCT is also on social media – follow the ‘South Coast Tourism’ Facebook page, or @infosouthcoast on Twitter using #travelsouthcoast #tourismsouthcoast #kznsouthcoast.

Rocky Bay Resorts and Rocky Bay Trails.

About Ugu South Coast Tourism

Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) is the official destination management organisation of the Ugu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. The Ugu District comprises four local municipalities that include Umdoni, Umzumbe, Umuziwabantu and Ray Nkonyeni. USCT’s mandate is to grow tourism within the KZN South Coast. This involves implementing marketing and development initiatives that are aimed at showcasing the diverse offerings and experiences of the South Coast as tourist destination. A board of directors oversees USCT, headed by CEO, Phelisa Mangcu.

About KZN South Coast

Known as the ‘Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom’, the KZN South Coast stretches 120 kilometres from Scottburgh to Port Edward and inland to Harding. Here, the spirit of adventure can be discovered among the many cultural experiences, as well as the 35 nature trails and 58 beaches, ideal for activities like river rafting, abseiling, suspension bridges, paintball, surfing, SUP, canoeing, beach horse rides, shark cage diving and free diving. Nicknamed ‘The Golf Coast’, there are 11 golf courses on the KZN South Coast ranging in difficulty, with endless hiking, mountain biking and 4×4 trails for more rugged excursions. Promoting sustainability, the KZN South Coast has a growing agri-tourism sector that offers world-class produce and hosts tours and excursions. The region boasts a number of permanently managed Blue Flag beaches, and is home to some of the world’s top diving sites, Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks. The originality continues with the annual Sardine Run, coined the #GreatestShoalonEarth, which is the largest biomass migration on earth and a marvel to witness. The region’s many nature reserves are inhabited by indigenous bird and wildlife, and it holds the title for ‘smallest desert on earth’, The Red Desert in Port Edward. The KZN South Coast is a fast-emerging MICE destination which also plays host to a number of high-profile events including the The Bike Fest, Uvukile Gospel Festival, Ugu Jazz, Ugu Film Festival and the South Coast Fever MTB & Trail Run Series.

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