In the lush tropical setting of South Africa's KwaZulu Natal South Coast is a unique private resort called Caribbean Estates, bordered by the Indian Ocean on the East and the Umtamvuna River on the South. Caribbean Estates is an established development with exquisitely furnished and equipped three bedroom and two bedroom villas.
On the Estate itself there is a charming swimming pool complex, with two graded adult pools and a paddling pool. A Caribbean gazebo provides shade for a cool drink, and there are built in braai (barbeque) facilities.
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There are two floodlit all-weather tennis courts, Volley ball and table tennis and also a jungle gym and trampoline for younger guests.
The ocean and river allows surfing, swimming, diving, snorkelling, angling, boating, etc and the Wild Coast Casino offers horseriding on the beach and along trails with magnificent scenery. Waterworld across the river has fabulous water sports facilities and offers regular river cruises. Bring your own boat or take advantage of the boats, jetskis and other equipment at Waterworld.
The 18-hole golf course is challenging and scenically breathtaking.
The Wild Coast Sun Hotel and Casino complex is five minutes away and apart from the attractions of the casino itself, there are cabarets, restaurants, a fabulous children's entertainment centre with a tenpin bowling alley and a wide variety of sports, including water sports on the river.
The Caribbean Estate terrain is relatively level and slopes to the beach and river. A conservation area lies between the development and the water on both sides and forms a beautiful natural boundary to the Estate. The reserve abounds with small game such as duiker, bushbuck and monkeys and there are numerous species of tropical birds.
Scenic walkways have been constructed through this green belt, with wooden viewing platforms at strategic points. The pathways and the decks are gently illuminated after dusk to allow for evening strolls to enjoy the moonlit water and woodland.
From the river mouth to both north and south stretch kilometres of unspoilt beaches with the nearest public access two kilometres away in either direction. This ensures that the almost one kilometre beach reached directly from the property remains virtually exclusive to Caribbean residents. It is as common to see spoor of otter, buck and waterbirds as it is to see human footprints. Access to the beach from the resort is via the Sunrise Beach Trail, the Wagon Trail and the river from River Ramble and Tassleberry Lane.
The Umtamvuna River is navigable by motor boat for about four kilometres, but canoes can be taken much further inland over the small rocky rapids. It is possible in this way to come across small sandy beaches and deep pools for swimming. Look out here for baboon, otter, leguaan and the mighty fish eagle with its haunting cry.
The KwaZulu Natal south coast is known as the Golf Coast: there are numerous courses between Caribbean Estates and Durban, from the fairly easy to the downright difficult. All welcome visitors, but bookings should be made in advance.
Located only a few kilometres from Caribbean Estates, the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve is an absolute must. Run by the KwaZulu Conservation Services, it covers some 3250 hectares and lies along 25 kilometres of the river. There are several trails for walkers of varying degrees of ease and severity.
Apart from the myriad varieties of wild flowers and grasses (some very rare), there are numerous small mammals, including bushbabies, samango and vervet monkeys, chacma baboons, red hares, clawless otters, mongooses and spotted genets. Large nocturnal predators such as black-backed jackal and servals hunt rodents in the grasslands. Some of the buck you may see are blue duiker, oribi and bushbuck; and after dark the common duiker and reedbuck.
To quote Tony Abbott from the Reserve's publication: "The magic of hidden waterfalls, of staggeringly beautiful cliffs of curious colours and fantastic formations, the views over grassland to gorge and sea beyond, the blaze of colour as the grasslands burst into spring flowers ... a complete peace: all this and more is here to tempt you".
Just four kilometres north of Caribbean Estates lies Port Edward: a small holiday town with a beautiful white sand beach and first class surfing. All the usual shopping and banking facilities are located here, plus an excellent 9-hole golf course, bowling greens and squash courts.
The lower South Coast has an excellent choice of restaurants catering for all tastes and nationalities. In the vicinity of Caribbean Estates visitors can find Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Indian, English, French and German food - not forgetting the ubiquitous hamburger and pizza. Many restaurants are in the most beautiful settings - whether overlooking the sea, lagoons or rivers or nestling in idyllic rural scenery.