What was once a small seaside retreat from the masses of urban living has become a popular spot in which to settle and enjoy summer holidays. Young and old have descended on the picturesque town of Ballito to start a new phase of their lives in its peaceful, laid-back atmosphere. The balmy KwaZulu-Natal climate means that even the winter months are temperate.
Due to its prime positioning along the Kwa-Zulu Natal coastline of South Africa, the beaches are Ballito’s primary attraction, both for visitors and for locals. The sea here is warm, being part of the Indian Ocean, making watersports and swimming a real pleasure, even for very little ones. Ballito is a surfer’s paradise, with the most acclaimed waves being found at Ballito’s, Salmon Bay, Clark Bay, Willard’s Beach, Thompson Bay, Salt Rock and Tiffany’s beaches. There is a promenade along the beachfront that extends for some 2.5 kilometres. This is an idyllic setting for a long, leisurely stroll, a jog or a walk with the dogs.
Although once a tiny village of locals, Ballito has grown and is now equipped to handle the tourists that visit it every year. There are sizeable malls, including the Lifestyle Centre, The Ballito Bay Mall and The Junction. Shopaholics and holiday-makers that are in need of some retail therapy will love spending their time exploring the clothing and décor shops, boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops. The Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom is only 20 minutes from the town centre and is sure to get the adrenalin pumping as you try your luck at the variety of gambling tables and machines.
Fishing is a popular pastime in Ballito for the sheer abundance of great fishing spots and, more importantly, great fish. Some of the most popular spots include Tongaat River Mouth, Boulder Bay and Jackson’s, Willard Beach, Chaka’s High Rock, Van der Riets, Christmas Bay, Loves Beach, Nonoti, Black Rock and Zinkwazi Bay.
Other things to do in and around Ballito include:
• The Harold Johnson Nature Reserve – this beautiful reserve is situated on the banks of the Tugela River, just north of Ballito. It is home to two national monuments (the Ultimatum Tree and Fort Pearson) and a host of fascinating fauna and flora.
• Golf enthusiasts that want to relax on the fairways are urged to visit the Umhlali Golf Course or the Zimbali Golf Course. Umhlali is a small course with a cunning design that both novices and pros can enjoy. Zimbali is an 18-hole course that is renowned for its magnificent views.
• Dolphins love the warm Indian Ocean water that passes by Ballito. Keep your eyes peeled for these acrobatic marine mammals as they play in the surf.
• Revitalise body and mind at the ZenJu Day Spa. This exclusive retreat combines ancient methods with a modern approach to holistic treatments and therapies. In addition to individual treatments, they also offer packages for couples and even for small groups of friends. Other popular spas in the region include Impilo Beauty Spa at Hotel Izulu, African Skies Spa, Bella Spa, and Kimaya Spa.
• Crocodile Creek and Reptile Farm is only 10 minutes from Ballito and is home to thousands of crocodiles as well as snakes, monkeys, alligators, tortoises and leguaans. Guided tours provide visitors with an opportunity to touch snakes and small crocs.