Things to Do in Margate
Margate, a little seaside town on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast, offers the tourist plenty of things to see and do, including:
Margate Blue Flag Beaches
No doubt Margate’s biggest attraction, its stunning Blue Flag beaches. The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to some 3849 beaches and marinas in 46 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean. The Blue Flag Programme is managed by a non-government, non-profit organisation, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and promotes the sustainable development of beaches and marinas. To be awarded Blue Flag status, beaches must meet strict criteria regarding:
- Water Quality – including the absence of sewage and waste-water discharges and featuring a low faecal E. Coli count
- Environmental Management – beaches must be clean, with plenty of garbage bins, public restrooms and properly maintained buildings and beach equipment
- Environmental Education – including information about the quality of bathing water and local ecosystems
- Safety and Other Services – including lifeguards, lifesaving equipment, first aid equipment, and management of beach users.
Margate beaches proudly bear this prestigious Blue Flag status, so you can be assured of a safe, happy beach holiday on pristine beaches.
Deep-Sea Fishing and the Annual Sardine Run
For those who enjoy the thrill of deep sea sport fishing, several Margate fishing charter companies offer day trips out to sea to fish for reef fish and game fish. Every year during June & July KZN coast come alive with the exciting site when the sardines make their way through the deep waters of the South Coast, enticing every living creature of our magnificent ocean.
Pleasure Boat Cruises
Not quite up to wrestling with game fish, but looking for a more relaxed trip out to sea? Rather go on a pleasure boat trip with one of the charter boat companies in Margate.
Did you know Margate is one of the best places to whale watch? Every year, around August, Southern Right Whales and Humpback Whales make their way up the coast to warmer waters to mate and calve. Margate has a whale watching platform – sit here awhile and you may be lucky enough to glimpse a few of these magnificent beasts frolicking in the water. Or book one of the registered operators who offer whale watching trips in Margate. Also frequently seen are Bottlenose dolphins and porpoises.
Shark Diving at Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal
Looking to ramp up the excitement? Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal are considered of the very best places to have up close and personal encounters with sharks. Shark enthusiasts won’t be disappointed, with many species to be seen here, including more well-known species like Tiger and Bull Sharks to the rare species like the Giant Guitar Shark and Scalloped Hammerhead Shark. The cherry on the top, a sighting of a Great White Shark!
Riverbend Crocodile Farm
From sharks to crocodiles…if toothy grins are your thing, don’t miss a visit to Riverbend Crocodile Farm. Learn all about one of Africa’s most feared animals, the giant Nile Crocodile. See the little ones at the hatchery and take in a crocodile feeding.
Pure Venom Reptile Park
Not content to stop at sharks and crocs? Visit Pure Venom Reptile Park – eyeball some of the world’s most fearsome snakes and take in a snake demonstration.
Game Drives at Lake Eland Game Reserve
For a more gentile look at African wild animals, book a game drive at Lake Eland Game Reserve, Oribi Gorge. See giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland and more. Birders will be delighted with birdlife here, from Crowned and Marshall Eagles to Ground Hornbills and the elusive Knysna Woodpecker.
Wild Swing and Wild Ride, Oribi Gorge
Adrenaline junkies, put your name down for the Wild Gorge Swing at Oribi Gorge – step off the top of Lehrs Falls and plunge 165m into the gorge. Then there’s the Wild Slide (Zip Line) – enjoy a bird’s eye view of the gorge as you slide along a cable across the gorge. Not for the faint-hearted!
For the keen golfer, who can’t get away from the game, there are several pleasant golf courses in the greater Margate area, including the Margate Country Club, Southbroom Golf Club, Port Shepstone Country Club and the prestigious San Lameer Golf Estate Resort.
The Red Desert
Reputedly the world’s smallest desert, the Red Desert is a strange patch of desert in the midst of lush, subtropical vegetation. Covering an area of eleven hectares and resembling the ‘cowboy movie’ landscapes of Arizona, the Red Desert is just outside Port Edward, a seaside town 31km from Margate.
Why not treat yourself to a helicopter flip, and see Margate’s scenic coastline from the air. Air charter companies operate from Margate Airport.
Shopping Centres and Night Life
For those who can’t leave the big city life behind, the greater Margate area has several shopping centres, including the Hibiscus Mall and Shelley Centre, where you will find most of South Africa’s major retail stores and six cinemas.
Far from being a sleepy seaside town, Margate has a thriving nightlife, with several popular night clubs, pubs, restaurants and cocktail bars.