Whether you’re an adventurer, bird lover, photographer, nature-lover, a solo traveller or a family trekker, Oribi Gorge, on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast, has something for everyone.
Here, gorge swings, abseiling, mountain biking and white-water rafting come standard with any visit.
When it comes to abseiling in South Africa, few sites can match the rush offered by Oribi Gorge's Wild Abseil. At 110m high, it’s one of the world's premier natural commercial abseils. Abseilers are lowered over the edge of the gorge, right next to the spectacular Lehrs Falls, to drop the hundred-odd metres into the valley below. The first 45m is a cliff abseil and the remaining 65m, a free abseil.
And the action doesn't stop there. The Wild Abseil is part of the gorge's Wild Five adventure activity roster, which includes the Wild Swing and the Wild Slide. The Wild Swing is one of the most popular big swings in South Africa and the highest in the world. It entails a heart-stopping leap off the top of the waterfall that leaves you swinging more than 100m to the gorge below.
Fly from any of South Africa’s major cities to Durban International Airport. If you’re driving, from Johannesburg take the N3 highway direct to Durban. From Cape Town, take the N2 highway to Durban. From Durban, travel south on the N2 to Port Shepstone and follow the signs to Oribi Gorge.
The Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve has a number of excellent hiking and mountain bike trails and is a birdwatcher's delight.
The annual sardine run from May to July; South Coast Lions Show at Port Shepstone in July; and the Ski-Boat Festival at St. Michaels Beach in July.
Oribi Gorge Hotel & Adventure Resort
Tel: +27 39 687 0253
Fax: +27 39 687 0267
Country-style fare at the Leopard Rock Coffee Shop, boasting awesome gorge views.
Locally-made arts, crafts and curios, including beautiful beadwork and woven baskets at roadside stalls and venues throughout the area. Locally-grown coffee at Echo Valley and Thornton coffee farms.
Thanks to a tropical climate, Oribi Gorge is an all-year-round destination. Summers (September to March), however, are particularly hot and humid.
Take a few days to explore the surrounding area.
The Wild Slide is slightly less hair-raising and involves sliding 160m above the valley along a 120m-long steel cable across the front of the falls – the perfect opportunity to soak up the beauty of the Gorge with the best views in the house.
Professional instructors are available to assist with all activities and the highest safety standards are adhered to. All safety equipment, including full-body harnesses, is provided.
The Oribi Gorge also features some beautiful hikes, ranging from easy one-kilometre trails to more challenging nine-kilometre hikes. A guided overnight trail that includes abseiling is also available.
With grade three to five rapids, the Umzimkulu River provides great white-water rafting conditions. Half-day, full-day and two-day packages are available, with two-man inflatable rafts being used when water levels are lower than during the summer rainfall season.
And for those who prefer to sit and watch as their friends and family take on their bucket lists, there’s a pretty magnificent view to accompany you while you do so.
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