Margate, named after the resort town on the coast of Kent in England, was developed by a farmer as a resort back in 1919. The Zulu name, iNkhongweni, might refer to the stinginess of the locals, but the Margate of today is welcoming and exciting.
In fact, if it’s action you’re after, Margate is where you should head, especially for a fun-filled family holiday. On a coastline that stretches for 160km or so, from Durban all the way to Port Edward, Margate is the spot with the most buzz. That said, Margate is still very much a resort town, so out of season everything calms down a little and life returns to normal.
Because Margate is such a party town, it plays host to a number of annual events. The Margate Airshow takes place every year at the local airport, while thousands of bikers come to town for Africa Bike Week.
Margate owes much of its success to a string of beautiful sandy beaches, two of which have been granted the coveted Blue Flag status and all of which offer wonderful surfing, swimming and even fishing.
As you’d expect, shark nets and lifeguards keep swimmers as safe as can be.
Due to its popularity, the town offers a range of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets, while activities range from outdoor and beach pursuits to malls, night clubs, arts and golf.
Look out for
It might be surprise a few to hear that Margate is home to an impressive Art Museum. Situated in the centre of town, it offers free entrance and a wide variety of South African arts and crafts.
The Margate Airport is not only home to an annual air show, but also offers scenic flips. For an even more spectacular trip, head out during the sardine run. Although the number of sharks you spot might put you off the sea for life!
Surfing lessons are held on the beach, and Margate is a great place to learn the ropes. Local shops can give you lessons, rent you a board and have you hanging ten in no time.
The Margate Amusement Park on the beachfront is lots of fun for when the sea loses its appeal.
Head out to sea, either on a whale- and dolphin-viewing trip, or to do some scuba diving. Fishing charters also launch from Margate.
River Valley Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Margate is a great place to spend a day or two. In addition to good birdwatching (think African finfoot and narina trogon), the little reserve offers nice walks, fishing, horse rides and archery.