Not that long ago Ballito was a sleepy seaside village surrounded by endless fields of sugar cane. Even then, though, it was a favourite holiday spot among Natalians. Ballito has since grown into a tourist hub of impressive dimensions, facilities and popularity.
Every Christmas and Easter see an influx of holidaymakers from the interior, swelling the population tremendously and bringing the town alive. Ballito has embraced its role as a tourist destination, so there is always something on the go. There are regular surfing competitions, an annual jazz festival and a lot of other entertainment. To find out the latest happenings, pop into the Sangweni Information Centre.
Central to Ballito’s popularity are the beautiful beaches, especially the Blue Flag Willard beach. All the main beaches are patrolled by lifeguards and protected by shark nets.
There are tidal pools for children to enjoy safely, while the surfing is as good here as anywhere on the coast. Surf angling remains popular and good catches of shad can be made in winter.
When the family has had enough sand and surf, head inland for a day. Here you can try all sorts of land-based activities like horse riding, quad biking, zip lining or mountain biking.
There are quite a few craft markets in the area offering beaded work, traditional Shweshwe cloth, wood carvings and more. The local pottery gallery is also worth stopping in at.
Look out for
Learn to fly a microlight or go on piloted trips along the coast at the Ballito Microlight School. While the scenery alone is worth it, you might also spot dolphins and whales from the air.
The Luyt Brewery is an attractive proposition on a dreary afternoon, for sampling of Luyt Lager. Regular tours are held every Saturday, and private events can also be organised.
Every winter the Ballito Prawn and Jazz Festival warms up the town with festive entertainment and great food. As you’d expect, all sorts of secondary entertainment springs up around it.
Little kids love to visit the animal farm, but something even more exciting is Crocodile Creek, just 12km from the Tongaat Toll Plaza. Up to 7 000 Nile crocodiles call this spot home and tours are held daily.
Ballito has also become well-known for its night life, and there are restaurants and pubs to suit everyone. This isn’t one of those seaside villages that close down when the sun disappears!
A few spas have popped up in support of Ballito’s booming wedding business. These are another great way to melt away the stress and the years - if the beaches don’t do it.