Margate, South Africa: A Coastal Gem on the KZN South Coast
Nestled in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, Margate is a radiant seaside resort town, sitting just a stone’s throw from Port Shepstone and a short drive from the bustling city of Durban. As a pivotal point on the KZN South Coast, Margate is a beacon for tourists seeking the picturesque beauty of South Africa’s eastern coastline.
In 1908, an English surveyor named Henry Richardson mapped out the town, naming it after its British counterpart in Kent. The town made global headlines in 1922 when a mysterious creature, nicknamed “Trunko” due to its elephantine trunk, was discovered washed ashore, leading to the legend of the “Margate monster”.
Nestled between Manaba Beach and Uvongo to the north and Ramsgate to the south, Margate offers panoramic ocean views, with its airport being the highest vantage point. The expansion of the town has resulted in the Greater Margate area, which seamlessly connects several picturesque beachside towns.
Marine Drive, the town’s main artery, is lined with an array of restaurants, shops, banks, and nightclubs. The town boasts several shopping centres, including the Hibiscus Mall, Margate Centre, Emoyeni Centre, and Margate Mall. However, the neighbouring town of Shelly Beach offers larger shopping complexes, such as the Southcoast Mall and Shelly Centre.
Attractions Galore in Margate: A Tourist’s Dream
- River Valley Nature Reserve: A verdant oasis in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, this reserve is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. From the majestic African Crowned Eagle to the vibrant hues of the Knysna and Purple Crested Turaco, it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise.
- Shopping Delights: From the local Hibiscus Mall to the grandeur of Shelly Centre and Southcoast Mall, shopaholics will find themselves spoilt for choice.
- Culinary Adventures: Dive into Margate’s culinary scene with gems like, The Grove, Aura, Mozambique, Senzi’s, and Keg.
- Golfing Glory: Tee off at the Margate Country Club or explore other renowned courses in the vicinity for a golfing experience like no other.
Margate is home to several schools, including public institutions like Hibiscus Primary School, Margate Middle School, and Margate Primary School, as well as private establishments such as South Coast Academy and Hibiscus International Academy.
Margate’s transport infrastructure is well-developed, with the R61 South Coast Toll Road providing connectivity. The R620, or Marine Drive, is the primary local route, linking Margate with other coastal towns. The town also houses the Margate Airport, offering a domestic route to Johannesburg, while the larger King Shaka International Airport near Durban is about 166 km away. In terms of healthcare, the Netcare Margate Hospital, a private facility, caters to the town’s medical needs. The Margate municipal clinic offers public healthcare services, with the Port Shepstone Regional Hospital being the closest public hospital.
Margate, with its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning coastal beauty, stands as a testament to South Africa’s allure as a travel destination. Its blend of natural charm and modern amenities make it a magnet for both local and international tourists. While it faces challenges, particularly during peak seasons, its resilience and adaptability ensure it remains a vibrant and essential part of the KwaZulu-Natal province. As a microcosm of South Africa’s broader tapestry, Margate encapsulates the spirit of a nation that continually evolves while cherishing its roots.