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Adrenalin junkies explore beautiful Midlands & Berg

KZN tourism industry bouncing back

Pictures: Supplied

Adventure travel is seeing river rafts, scuba diving gear, mountain bikes, 4X4s, boots and binoculars coming out of mothballs to get KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism industry firing again.

Covid-19 hit the industry unexpectedly and with devastating force, and now, with the easing of lockdown restrictions, restless adventure seekers want to break the shackles in the refreshing air of open spaces amid nature. KZN, with its endless stretches of beach, scenic Drakensberg mountain resorts and the many game parks and nature reserves, provides the perfect opportunity.

Thandi ‘Zisto’ Mhlongo and Khulekani Mbambo from Gagasi FM enjoy a first for them… canoeing in the Berg. Pictures: Supplied

River rafting and hiking in the Berg, a safari on foot, abseiling down cliffs, diving with the sharks, turtle tracking in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, scuba diving, tandem skydiving, wildlife safari tours, exploring nature reserves and 4X4 off-road tours is getting the adrenalin pumping again after months of being cooped up indoors.

Given that adventure activities take place in large unspoilt spaces and on off-the-beaten paths, this could act as an added advantage to the comeback of KZN’s tourism sector. At the same time, all health and hygiene protocols are in place to ensure the safety of travellers.

Hiking in the Midlands: Umkhomazi Reserve in pictures

As part of Tourism KZN’s domestic marketing campaign aimed at taking KZN to the number one spot, TKZN hosted some top KZN radio personalities on familiarisation trips, taking them through some of the province’s exciting adventure spots.

DJs Stacey Norman and JSbu from East Coast Radio’s Drive Show and On-Air Presenters, Thandi “Zisto” Mhlongo and Khulekani Mbambo from Gagasi FM, were hosted in luxurious comfort in the heart of the Drakensberg.

The radio personalities were part of the #KZNHasItAll #BelieveIt campaign.

The stunning Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse in the Kamberg. Pictures supplied.

After checking in at Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse in the Kamberg, the lodge dedicated to sumptuous food and rustic luxury, Stacey and JSbu had their hearts pumping with a helicopter flip over the Berg to the trout dams in Highmoor Reserve.

Why the Midlands is a gem for outdoors enthusiasts and hikers

During a live broadcast from Cleopatra, award-winning chef Richard Poynton was interviewed about his interesting career journey and “dishes to die for”. He revealed how he was groomed to become a farmer but upon realising sugar farming was not for him, he dabbled in music and pottery. He wanted to do something a bit more responsible and converted their house into what would become Granny Mouse’s Country House.

Gourmet getaway

After eight years he and his wife moved to the UK for a year, working with great chefs and travelling through Ireland, France and Italy, learning so much about cooking. Returning to SA to a family farm in the Drakensberg mountains they started Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse – a gourmet getaway whose reputation today stretches far and wide.

Richard Poynton.

After sundowners next to the dam, Stacey and JSbu savoured a seven-course dinner. Cleopatra’s food is all about the tastes, fun and the passion that goes into outstanding country cooking.

During their heavenly stay, the radio duo also experienced horse-riding followed by a guided, walking tour of Kamberg Rock Art.

Stacey said: “The atmosphere, the food and the entire team that hosted us were amazing.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my stunning, warm room which truly made me feel like a VIP.”

Extraordinary

JSbu said: “I enjoyed every experience, the views, the service, the people and of course the food was extraordinary.”

Zisto and Khulekani enjoyed their weekend getaway at the spectacular Premier Resort Sani Pass, nestled at the foot of the pass on the banks of the Mkhomazana River.

The area is populated by eland and there are many hiking and biking trails for the adventurous at heart.

Castleburn Resort in the beautiful Drakensberg Gardens valley.

The resort is a base for 4X4 excursions up Sani Pass and there is access to horse trails up the mountain to Lesotho as well as shorter horse rides around the property.

Zisto and Khulekani were thrilled with planned activities such as river rafting, horseback riding and paragliding.

Love to come back

Khulekani said: “Canoeing and horseback riding were first-time experiences for me which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would love to come back with my wife.”

Zisto said: “All the adventurous activities, the food and hospitality were wonderful. Now I am even more keen to travel to different places in KZN and unearth gems like Sani Pass Resort.”

TKZN is confident that tourism will grow in leaps and bounds over the ensuing months and is encouraging people to visit its website http://www.zulu.org.za/dokzn/specials to get amazing specials and plan their holiday itinerary before it is too late.

Summer is coming: Are you ready to explore our Midlands adventure kingdom? – Copy supplied, on behalf of TKZN.

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