Is the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast Living Up to its Potential?

Potentially the Best Holiday Destination in South Africa

The Oink KZN South Coast website is dedicated to bringing both foreign and local tourism and business back to the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast region, but is it living up to its potential to be a world class destination? There is this ‘thing’ about the ‘beach holiday mecca’ of South Africa which has become clearly apparent. As much as things have changed on the South Coast, they remain pretty much the same. Perhaps it is my own uninformed perspective, but I think not and quite frankly, it’s disappointing.

I have been visiting the coast for over 50 years. It was my hideaway and source of fun during my teens and I have lived here on and off for about 10 years as an adult. KwaZulu-Natal is awesome. It has everything. The South Coast, as far as I am concerned, is the unpolished jewel of KZN. The climate can be compared with any place on the planet as being the best in the world; the space, ocean views, vegetation and sense of freedom one feels travelling along the R102 (the ‘Old Road’) is awesomeness itself; nature, pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, hiking trails and ocean adventures are available, literally from town to town.

My disappointment is based between the online world and the reality on the ground. While there is an uncomfortable friendliness between the different ‘groups’ of people, I see a pretence which stands in the way of constructive development. In short, I don’t see an effort toward making the KZN South Coast a cohesive society. Too little is being done. Too few jobs are being created and too few companies are seriously investing in their communities.

The same applies to the online world in which the South Coast appears to be an unwilling participant. This is where the foreign tourism aspect loses its attraction. If you’re not on the web and promoting your company or service, you’re not promoting your town or your province. Indeed, neither are you a particpant in South Africa’s online world. Too many businesses on the South Coast do not even own their own online real estate (their domain/website), yet it only costs R79 per year to secure a domain for your company.

The biggest disappointment for me is government. Where is the rail system? Where is the new port/harbour? Where are the opportunities for our youth? Sports clubs and buildings which can house educational and developmental projects lie in a state of deterioration, growing moss and mould.

Is the South Coast becoming an old age home/retirement village? Perhaps not, but it is clear this is what some would like it to be. I can give a few examples but will refrain for the sake of keeping the peace. I know of popular places, and one in particular, which has literally banned every youngster in town with a bit of attitude. The place is right on the beachfront and the owner literally stands at the door seperating her idea of riff raff from the decent folk. The place is closed by 10pm on a Friday night IN SEASON and there is no way you’ll get a breakfast before 9.00am. Seriously? Tourists breakfast early before executing their plans for the day. By 9.00am they’re out at sea diving with sharks, hiking a trail, visiting a nature reserve or exploring our local cultures. Some might even be pub crawling 😈.

Anyway, laziness, judgemental attitudes, racism and unfriendly demeanour is a great way to chase away visitors from your business, your town, your province and your country. Government incompetence and false promises don’t help and neither does the unwillingness of business to take matters into their own hands, other than a few willing particpants. You have to feel for business though. It is not easy to invest in a community or town when government itself seems to have no plan or intention to create a specific plan to grow the economy either of a particular town or the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast itself.

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