Celebrating Our 25th Edition!

The Southern Explorer Magazine and Route Guide have become synonymous with exploring the beauty, diversity and tourism opportunities on the KZN South Coast since its inception in 2002. Thanks to the support of Tourism KwaZulu Natal and formal regional tourism structures (South Coast Tourism and later the South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise), the Southern Explorer Magazine is recognised as the region’s official tourism route guide, supported by extensive road signage. The Southern Explorer Association attributes much of its success and longevity to the fact that it is a non-profit member-owned association with several of its profiled members having been showcased for the last 22 years. Managed by a dedicated elected member committee, the publication and distribution of the magazine have been outsourced since 2008 – this year being the 25th edition.

Looking back from humble beginnings to a well-established brand
Much of the success of the Southern Explorer magazine can be attributed to the rapid growth and development of tourism in the Ugu over the last 22 years. From humble beginnings in 1998, a few product owners were able to build on a concept created by the Margate Publicity Association. By 2008, the Southern Explorer Magazine had developed into one of the top route and destination guides in South Africa. Together with the “Midland’s Meander”, “Route 62 Guide” and the “Crocodile Ramble”, the Southern Explorer has established itself as one of the top 4 publications in South Africa.

Tourism – the region’s economic driver
By the late 1990s, the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal had established itself as one of the predominant and favoured destinations of domestic tourists, with tourism in the region being built on the back of the most amazing natural attributes. Initially known best for its amazing swimming beaches and year-round mild climatic conditions, the South Coast developed into the beach destination of choice for thousands of South Africans and foreign visitors. Naturally, associated tourism attractions developed, and the region soon became known as the “Golf Coast” with the establishment of 11 superb golf courses. Beach and marine offerings have been amplified each year by the annual “Sardine Run”.

Tourism and agriculture are the Ugu region’s primary economic drivers accounting for a significant percentage of the region’s employment. With agri-tourism being one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the world, the region has taken advantage of opportunities in this sector creating a number of exciting tourism opportunities. Likewise, the development of rural tourism has also added a new dimension to the region’s tourism offering in the last few years creating a number of jobs.

The Southern Renaissance
Given the rapid growth of the region, both infrastructure and services have been stretched in the last 10 years resulting in the loss of market share to other domestic regions. There has, however, been a major economic awakening of the regional economy in the last 18 months, underpinned by the significant development of the extension of the N2 connecting Durban with the Cape and the fact that the region offers incredibly affordable opportunities. The new N2 freeway to be completed in 2027 will be an “economic game changer” for the region. Significant investment has already come into the region with the development of a number of shopping malls, retirement properties and production facilities. The superb climate and wonderful lifestyle offerings have resulted in a number of young families “semi-gravitating” to the coast since Covid. For many European visitors, especially for golfers “Swallows”, the South Coast has become a second home, and the Southern Explorer is well positioned to amplify the “Southern Renaissance” – exciting times lie ahead for the region!

Onward and upward
The Southern Explorer Association is excited about the future of the region and the increased visitor numbers will grow our local economy and significantly create more jobs and tourism opportunities. The Southern Explorer Association is committed to the development of tourism amongst all communities, supporting development tourism and is dedicated to unlocking both human and economic opportunities and tourism potential in the region.

To all our visitors, we thank you for your support. We appreciate you and look forward to hosting you and being of service to you in the future. Please connect with us on our social media platforms: https://linktr.ee/thesouthernexplorerkzn. For accessibility and convenience, this publication is also available as a DIGIMAG which you can download by clicking on the following https://tsekzn.co.za/digimag.

We thank you for making use of our EXPLORE route guide and for making our region your destination of choice! We look forward to hosting you again soon.