Ugu South Coast Tourism officially launched its Great Drives Out initiative at the Tourism INDABA 2018 on Wednesday.
The launch was endorsed by Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) and attended by the TKZN Board Chairperson, Sthembiso Madlala, Ugu South Coast Tourism Board member, Victor Mzulwini and CEO, Justin Mackrory (pictured), as well as municipal dignitaries and the popular Mseleku family from Uthando Nes’thembu fame. Great Drives Out was welcomed as a feather in the cap of the Ugu district for developing its hinterland treasures to pave the way for rural economic beneficiation.
As Mackrory, CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism, explains “the four Great Drives Out rural adventure experiences encourage responsible and authentic culture and heritage explorations in scenic environments, fostering links between diverse cultures and between the popular KZN South Coast coastline and the lush hinterland, only a few minutes’ drive away.”
Mazethu Zondi, GM of Development for Ugu South Coast Tourism, added that “We are proud of our ongoing work on the Great Drives Out. We have trained tour guides, developed and geolocated the routes, organised signage, developed and promoted tourism products ranging from accommodation to activities and entertainment, and are consulting and mentoring the small businesses and people that stand to benefit from this tourism initiative”.
The Great Drives Out includes the KwaNzimakwe Experience, the Nyandezulu Experience, the KwaXolo Caves and the Mseleku Homestead Tours.
The KwaNzimakwe Experience starts at the WowZulu Welcome Centre on the R69 Road between Mpenjati Nature Reserve and Ezinqoleni, above KwaNzimakwe “place of the Nzimakwe” Village. Here the local tribal leader will welcome you warmly. See a sangoma, or traditional healer, watch crafters and learn to weave, visit a cattle kraal and organic garden. Then follow a mountain trail past a Shembe Church to a site with spectacular views of the area. Nearby activities include community theatre at Msenti Art Academy, guided walking trails at Xhuluweshe mountain and Nojani Tavern.
With the Nyandezulu Experience, only 9km inland from Shelly Beach, see breathtaking scenery high above the sea, while enjoying the hospitality of the local community and discovering local arts and crafts. Start at Mfihlo Guest House for a 5-hour guided drive with a hike to the Ntantana Mountain, overlooking Nyandezulu Waterfall. Visit the sangoma and the local Dafeleni shebeen or tavern. Walk to a Shembe Church and the top of the holy uMdlungwana mountain, reputed to harbour a seven-headed water monster. Don’t make too much noise!
At KwaXolo Caves, near the town of Port Edward, go on a 5-minute hike to a newly discovered prehistoric cave with San paintings that are older than 100 000 years. These caves tell the story of the San in years of plenty, before the deserts they would later inhabit. This rock shelter is still difficult to access, so consult your guide for a visit to it.
The Mseleku Homestead Tours feature the traditional home of the stars of popular local reality TV show Uthando Nes’thembu (Love and Polygamy), who have generously opened their traditional homestead in the rural Madlala area of Umzumbe, KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, for guided tours. The TV show gets up close and personal with polygamist businessman Musa Mseleku and his four wives, affectionately called MaCele, MaYeni, MaKhumalo and MaNgwabe. Guided tours need to be pre-arranged.
As Justin Mackrory says “The Mseleku family are becoming a tourism force to be reckoned with. Not only are they local superstar TV personalities, but they are also proud owners of Zizi’s restaurant and four-star establishment, Umdlalo Lodge in Umtentweni, venue of many a wedding.”
All Great Drives Out cultural adventure experiences are recommended as part of a guided tour with registered tour guides, so visitors can understand the area, its people and places and are not just driving through. Some roads are best driven by 4×4.
The Great Drives Out are detailed in the latest issue of the Southern Explorer, Ugu South Coast Tourism’s official guide, including maps with points of interest highlighted. In addition, group travel can be customised to include a variety of experiences that will further give insight into the rich Zulu culture, such as Zulu dancing, beading workshops, drumming demonstrations, sangoma readings, storytelling for the kids, traditional food and drink, refreshing stops at taverns, hikes up holy mountains, San cave paintings, shopping for handmade arts and crafts, overnighting in rural accommodation.
Apart from the four Great Drives Out, two more cultural adventures will add colour to a KZN South Coast trip, the 3- or 4-day guided Wild-South Coast Walk, incorporating KwaNzimakwe and organized by WOWZulu, and the upcoming Maidens Ceremony on 30 June 2018, which encourages visitors to gain insight into this vibrant traditional cultural celebration.
As Mackrory points out “Our beaches are a great way to relax on your holiday, but if you stay only at the beach, you are missing out on a rich, cultural landscape, which promises to give you even more unforgettable moments.”