The KZN North Coast boasts a host of spectacular beaches, niche boutiques, several well-stocked malls and plenty of upmarket restaurants to work your way through on holiday. Add these special events to your schedule if you’re at the seaside.
1. BROWSE THE LITCHI ORCHARD AND LUNCH AT KELLY’S EATERY
The Litchi Orchard is a treasure trove of local produce and products. Kapas has the most gorgeous clothing for little ones, Breazies’ quirky swimwear for men and boys will have you standing out on the beach and for interiors inspiration, visit Howie and Co, Dandelion Designs and Scatter Creative Studio. We also love a browse through the colourful plant life at Muddy Boots Garden Centre. Grab a bite at Kelly’s Eatery afterwards – formerly the Sous Chef at The Chefs' Table, it’s a must-eat-at spot in Ballito this season.
2. VALLEY OF LIGHTS
Sugar Rush Park is a cornucopia of active fun for the family and over Christmas it’s going to be extra-festive with a twinkling wonderland experience for the whole family at The Valley of Lights. Santa will be visiting for photo ops and there’ll be nighttime putt-putt, forest walks and activities at The Jump Park. Live entertainment and a range of food and drink will keep Mom and Dad happy, too.
3. MAD HATTER’S TEA PARTY NEW YEAR’S EVE BASH
Let’s face it, 2019 has been a little too much reality. Escape it all and celebrate the arrival of the new year at The Shed’s Mad Hatter-themed party. With brilliant live acts, including Desmond and the Tutus and Majozi, and dressing up encouraged, it promises to be a fabulous night out.
4. MOVIES ON THE BIG SCREEN AND DINNER FROM THE MARKET
Lifestyle Centre Ballito is screening the perennially charming The Polar Express outdoors and on the big screen on December 12. If you long for the drive-in, join this night of nostalgia while you tuck into dinner from one of the excellent eateries at The Market. All small businesses with a local focus, the food is inventive and exciting and not to be missed, whether you’re movie-going or not.
4. ALCHEMY BAR
Alchemy cocktail bar at Ballito Lifestyle Centre is everything you want in a bar – it’s stylish, sophisticated, stocks the latest and greatest in local, artisanal tipples and produces great food from its new kitchen. So, make sure you pop in to eat, drink and be merry while you holiday this year. Don’t miss their own range of drinks, including the unique Ginsala gins produced by their sibling business, Blackstrap Distillery.
6. BALLITO GIN AND TONIC FESTIVAL
There are few things more refreshing than a G&T on a humid summer’s day. Enjoy tasting a range of locally made artisanal gins, with Fitch & Leedes tonics and tailor-mixed garnishes to bring out the best in the spirits, at the Gin and Tonic Festival on December 28. The event is part of a series of small-town, niche gin festivals around South Africa. Grab your free glass on arrival and enjoy your G&T's as tasters, singles or double perfect serves. Hosted by The Litchi Orchard, the setting under the trees is hard to beat as you soak in the joy of being on holiday mode between Christmas and new year.
* We incorrectly stated that the Litchi Orchard offers litchi picking, and tractor rides allowing you to eat litchis as you go. The Litchi Orchard only sells litchis in 2kg bags fresh from the farm shop, and not litchi pickings and tractor rides.