Ballito ready for seasonal 'invasion'
Category SA Property Market
Ballito is often described as the 'Pearl of the Dolphin Coast' due to its stellar blue-flag beaches that stretch 2,5km along the Indian Ocean. It was established in 1954 and has grown since then from a quiet coastal village surrounded by rippling sugar-cane fields into a sizeable town surrounded by some of the most sought-after real estate in SA.
However, it is also still a premier destination for SA holidaymakers, and at the start of this festive season, the Chas Everitt International holiday rentals manager for Ballito, Karen von Wielligh, says the town is ready and waiting to receive its annual influx of inland visitors, especially from the Free State and Gauteng, but also from the Northern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
The town keeps growing in popularity as a year-end destination, she says, because it lies at the heart of the rapidly developing North Coast playground which has something for every kind of holidaymaker, from adrenaline-pumping extreme adventures to a slow morning stroll along the boardwalk to watch the sun rise over the sea.
"There are tidal pools in Ballito Bay and Clarke Bay, where visitors may also be lucky enough to spot whales and dolphins playing, and these and other beaches also offer plenty of opportunities for safe swimming, snorkelling, surfing, kite-surfing, microlighting and deep-sea fishing.
"However, Ballito also offers many other attractions including Sugar Rush Park where families can enjoy mountain biking, mini-golf, and trampolines; the Crocodile Creek reptile park; the Flag Farm which is a great favourite with children; the Litchi Orchard farmers' market; the King Shaka Heritage Route and, for golfers, the splendid Peter Matkovich-designed course at the Umhlali Country Club.
"And for rainy days or lazy days, there are several malls offering movies and other entertainment as well as leisurely shopping - and a huge selection of excellent restaurants."
Von Weilligh adds that affordable holiday accommodation is another reason that holiday visitors continue to stream to Ballito."There are options here to suit a broad range of budget requirements, which makes it accessible to people from all walks of life.
"For example, you can easily book a standard two-bedroom unit in a self-catering apartment for an average of R750/night (low season), R1000/night (mid-season) and R1500/night (peak season), and we have plenty of other options available."
In addition, she says, the King Shaka International airport is only a 10-minute drive from Ballito, which makes it extremely accessible for inland visitors who decide to fly rather than drive to KZN.
"And of course the year-round warm climate is a big attraction too, which is why the town is increasingly not just abuzz with tourist activity during December, but throughout the year as well. In fact, many visitors tell us they specifically plan to come to Ballito in winter now, to enjoy the North Coast warmth and escape the Highveld cold."
Von Weilligh says she also expects the number of tourists booking holiday accommodation in the town to continue to increase next year, due to the many reduced-price flights to Durban, and the overall growth of internal tourism in SA thanks to initiatives like Sho't Left.
"As it is, KZN plays host to half a million tourists during the festive season, and with South Africans being encouraged to explore their own country, we expect many more to start looking outside of traditional destinations like Durban and Umhlanga to Ballito and other towns along the North Coast, where greater affordability and variety of accommodation might enable them to stay longer and enjoy their holiday even more."
What is more, she says, there is a growing trend among those who visit Ballito for holidays to fall in love with the town and the area, buy their own homes here and become permanent residents.
"From tourist to resident, the move from enjoying Ballito as a holiday town to a permanent address is a common transition, with secure estates such as Simbiti Eco-Estate and Palm Lakes Estates being among the most popular options for semigrants from the inland provinces."
*To find out more about the self-catering holiday apartments available for this festive season, call Chas Everitt Ballito Holiday Letting on 032 586 0154.
Author: Meg Wilson