There are beaches and there are beaches. The beaches on the lower south coast are of the proper kind. Long sweeping beaches, soft white sandy beaches, palm- and banana-leafed beaches, warm water beaches, real wave beaches, rock pool beaches, life guarded beaches, restaurant-on-the-beach beaches. These are the types of perfect beaches you will find from Port Shepstone to Port Edward.
As you approach Durban from the Highveld and swing south at the big N3/N2 junction, your concentration becomes focused and your eyes take to staring. They stare straight ahead, at the horizon, waiting for the first views of the fine sandy beaches of the South Coast. These beaches do come into view, just around Umgababa for example, but sightings are intermittent as you pass from one Zulu village to the next. But your senses have been aroused, and thoughts of sea spray, beach games, ice cream, umbrellas, sand, and sun excite your mind until you finally reach the lower South Coast. Whether you take off at Munster or Margate, Uvongo or Marina Beach, St Michaels or Ramsgate, your beach idyll is now just a few minutes away.
Ramsgate, for example, has a great family beach. It sweeps around in an arc formation and is fixed on each end by a rocky outcrop, with the legendary Noel Quarry’s tidal pool anchoring down the south end. The ‘Big Billy’, which bulges into the Blue Lagoon, finally spills out across Ramsgate’s sandy beach and into the blue ocean. On the lagoon, colourful paddle boats can take the visitor on a winding river flanked by reeds and nest building weavers. Back on the beach, the swim zone is broad, and the sands run out shallow into the breaking, salty waves.
Ramsgate’s beach is soft, and umbrellas, cooler boxes, and deck chairs are spread all around in holiday season. The scene is truly colourful and alive. Children and parents plays ball games, others read, and still others communicate on mobile devices or listen to music. The mood is happy and peaceful. After a while you can take the children on a short stroll to the south end of the beach for a quick dip in Lady Quarry’s tidal pool. After a little exploration, it’s back to the fresh water showers, then on to the kiosk for an ice cream. On the way you will pass the creative works of the sand sculptors, a very creative group of truly skilled artists at work creating contemporary themes. Just last week the Titanic was in her final moments as the sand sculptors fixed the last angled smoke stack to her slanted deck. Children pose next to a mermaid and there are smiles all around.
As lunch time is approaching, the sun is nearing the top of the sky, and dad is in need of cold refreshment. Ramsgate has two great restaurants, both in superb locations overlooking either the lagoon or the sea. If you are in the mood for a delectable sea food plate with prawns, fish, and white wine, or excellent banana toffee waffles with ice cream and superb filter coffee, your wishes will be most happily satisfied.
Ramsgate is a great beach for the family. It is quiet, does not have the gimmicky attractions of many modern day beaches, and best of all, allows for children and their parents to enjoy a true family holiday.