The Umdoni Park

 
  Umdoni Park

Syzigium Cordatum, the Latin name for the tree that makes this part of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast so special. The Zulus will tell you - Woza hlala nami kwa-amanthe isihlahla Umdoni phansi. Come and sit with me under the Umdoni tree.

Some 508 acres in size and encompassing the Umdoni Park Golf Club, the Umdoni beach and point, Umdoni train siding, Botha House and of course excellent trails through some of the most pristine coastal forest left on the KZN South Coast today, The Umdoni Park was the awe-inspiring vision of Sir Frank Reynolds. After acquiring the land in 1918, Sir Frank set about drawing up the final papers that denoted the Umdoni Trust, a mandate that ensured the well being of this exquisite site.

To this day, this beautiful park is maintained in line with the vision initiated in 1918. For the public, it is a place where bird and wildlife abounds, where the coastal forest envelopes you as you venture deeper into the indigenous bush along the many well-maintained trails, where an 18 hole layout tests even the most seasoned golfer and where a luxury guesthouse, having entertained statesmen and past presidents alike, stands proudly overlooking the Indian Ocean...truly a GIFT TO THE NATION.

Birding

 

Bird Watching

As you awake in the morning, your location within this pristine birding area becomes evidently apparent. Wagtails whistle in excitement as they chase moths around on the lawn, the Purple Crested Turaco (Lourie) sends out its morning wake up call from the Flat Crown Tree and the distant call of the Trumpeter Hornbill echo's across the valley.

The real draw to Umdoni Park however lies in the rare birds localised to this lush coastal forest. Fantastic walking trails take you through this 508-acre site with the possibility of seeing 1 of 230 species. Birding enthusiasts have regularly noted their excitement when spotting the Green Malkoha, the Narina Trogon and the Magpie Mannikin. If you are also lucky, the pair of nesting Crowned Eagles will be heard calling from their towering vantage points, a sighting of them quite a humbling experience.

Hiking-Trails

 

Trail Walking

With over 20 kilometres of forest and beachfront hiking trails, bring along the walking shoes and enjoy trails that are over a hundred years old. To this day, all paths are clearly marked and well maintained and have a varying degree of difficulty to challenge even the seasoned hiker. The Gorge Trail takes you down into the Mkhumbane River Gorge where you'll be met by steep inclines, boulders and waterfalls.

For the more relaxed walking experience, Molly's Road winds its way along the top of the ridge and brings you to the Otter Site, a stunning viewpoint punched out of the lush coastal bush. My breath has been taken away just telling you about it, you just going to have to come and see for yourself. Oh yes, and don't worry about a walking stick, we have plenty to choose from.

Beaches

 

Beaches

Home to the Leave Only Footprints Organisation, the Pennington and Umdoni area enjoys kilometres of pristine sandy and rocky coastline. Perfect for those seeking the romance or the challenges of a day's walk along the beach, discover rock pools, river estuaries and dramatic points where even ships have seen their peril.

The lifeguards on duty throughout all holiday periods will ensure your safety when swimming and if you're lucky you'll be able to spot the local pods dolphins or whales frolicking not too far out of view behind the breakers.

diving

 

Diving

Rated amongst the top 10 dive sites in the World, Aliwal Shoal is a sandstone reef, five kilometres in length, featuring elaborate sandstone structures, pinnacles, gullies and caves. At a maximum depth of 28 meters, the abundance of sponges, anemones, hard corals and abundance of fish life will astound even the most experienced divers.

Choose from the many dive centres located in the Umkomaas, Scottburgh and Park Rynie areas and enjoy adrenaline-filled excursions out to sea. Coming to stay at Botha House on a diving getaway will also contribute to the Leave Only Footprints Organisation, an awareness and educational project aimed at keeping our beaches and oceans clean.

Deap Sea Fishing

 

Deep-sea Fishing

The sun rises, the adrenaline is ever increasing, and the air is filled with the sound of the boats roaring engines as you punch your way through the surf. As you exit the breakers and out onto the open ocean, the true experience of your fishing trip becomes more and more apparent.

The excitement is overwhelming as you begin your search of that prize game fish or tasty bottom fish. Arrange with the staff of Botha House to have your catch prepared for you over an open fire as you relax after a day of enjoyable angling!

Oribi Gorge  

Oribi Gorge

Carved out by the mighty Mzimkulwana River, the Oribi Gorge is a mere 21 kilometres inland from Port Shepstone. Sandstone cliffs, forest-cloaked banks and stunning views abound here.

Enjoy day trips to the many attractions within this area, including the Wild 5 experience, the Lake Eland Game Reserve as well as the truly spectacular Leopard Rock Coffee shop. Which ever you choose, be spell bound by this natural wonder.

sardine run kzn1

 

Sardine Run

The natural phenomenon of the Sardine Run still holds a mystery amongst biologists and marine scientists around the world.

Each year, during the months of June and July, huge schools of these tiny sardines can be seen passing along the coastline, always accompanied by larger predators including sharks, dolphins and the ever-vigilant Cape Gannet. To the local fisherman it is a time to prepare the equipment and enjoy excellent angling opportunity.

Golf  

Golf

The stretch of coastline from Durban to Port Edward, regularly referred to as the "Golf Coast", is a Mecca for golfing enthusiasts of all skill levels. Ten golf courses to choose from, a balmy winter climate and stunning views make for an unforgettable golfing experience.

Pack the golf clubs and enjoy two of the South Coasts most well known courses, Umdoni Park and Selborne Golf Club, right on your doorstep. Arrange for fully inclusive packages or just arrive and take advantage of Botha House's location amongst this true reflection of golfing bliss.

Crocodile Farm  

Crocodile Farm

Riverbend Crocodile Farm is home to over 100 adult Nile crocs. But crocs are not the only attraction here! A well-stocked public wine cellar with fine wines on sale, an art gallery showcasing some of the South Coasts most talented artists and the Crocodile Café, famous for it's waffles, head to Southbroom and enjoy a day out for the whole family.

Weekly crocodile feeding on Sundays at 3.00pm always promises action and exhilaration as well as some interesting insight to these prehistoric creatures' lives.

Game and Nature Reserve  

Game Reserves

Although the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal is not famous for it's game reserves, there are a selection of parks one can choose from. The beautiful Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve is a secluded coastal getaway just inland of Umzinto and Scottburgh, a mere 20 kilometres from the guesthouse.

The nature reserve is renowned for its bio-diversity, with densely wooded slopes, open grassland ridges and magnificent views of the ocean. Amazingly this small coastal reserve boasts 56 mammal species including zebra, blue wildebeest, bushbuck, blesbok, oribi, reedbuck, blue duiker, black-backed jackal, vervet monkeys, rock hyrax, tree hyrax, caracal, four mongoose species and porcupine.

Cultural Tours  

Cultural Tours

The Zulu kingdom is alive with a cultural diversity that typifies the South African Experience. Cultural and township tours can be arrange with the many tour operators in the area, available to take you through some of this diverse culture and rural living.

It is imperative to book well in advance and the costs of such tours range from approximately R350.00

   

 southern-explorer

Visit the Southern Explorer website for more activities on the KZN South Coast