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Shelly Beach, Port Shepstone


Shelly Beach at a glance

Area Profile: Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach is a lively coastal resort and is one of the fastest developing commercial and residential towns on the South Coast. It offers a truly vast range of accommodation options to local and international visitors; from self-catering single units, bed-and breakfast establishments, to large residential homes, specially designed for expanded family holidays.

A unique feature of Shelly beach, is how conveniently located this friendly, relaxed town’s accommodations are to all essential amenities; including a vast range of retailers, restaurants, banks, medical practitioners and entertainment venues (to name a few).             

One of the landmarks of the town, is its ski boat club – the largest ski boat launch between Durban and East London – which regularly hosts numerous well-organised deep-sea angling competitions, all year-round. Besides fishing, Shelly Beach’s ski boat club is also very popular for dolphin and whale watching excursions and scuba diving. It is also the base for the Hibiscus Coast’s National Sea Rescue Institute (N.S.R.I.).  

The warm Indian Ocean flowing past Shelly Beach, provides a natural haven for a multitude of tropical fish living on the abundant South Coast coral reefs, which allows for excellent diving and snorkeling. For anglers, Shelly also offers excellent rock- and surf fishing spots.

Shelly Beach gets its name from the great variety of sea shells (such as the beautiful miniature Pink Lady) that decorate its beach. The beach itself, is of course also protected by shark nets and is patrolled by lifeguards during school holidays – with the added piece of mind provided by the presence of the N.S.R.I.  staff and boats on hand. There is also a tidal rock pool for children (of all ages!) to explore, offering ultra-safe bathing for less experienced swimmers.

For the more adventurous, there are two world-renowned dive-sites nearby: Protea Banks (about 8 km offshore from Shelly Beach), and Aliwal Shoal (about 5 km offshore from Scottborough). Experienced dive operators offer diving trips to these reefs and the chance to encounter any of at least seven shark species, with frequent sightings of Zambesi, Tiger, Ragged Tooth, and Hammerheads. Soft cage diving is also offered for less skilled divers.

For those interested in (more sedated) water sports, neighbouring St Michaels-on-Sea offers good surfing waves and its lagoon is an excellent spot for pedal boating, kayaking, or windsurfing. St Mikes (as the locals refer to it) is also a very popular family beach; with well-kept lawns, ample parking, kiddies swimming pools, neat ablution facilities and the renowned C-Bali beach restaurant – a firm favourite for especially oriental seafood, sushi, or a great (hot or cold) beverage with friends and family.      

Nearby Attractions and Activities

If you need a break from the beach, there are numerous possibilities for excursions and activities within and around Shelly Beach; to suit just about any taste and budget.

For nature lovers, the Skyline Nature Reserve (founded in 1962), is conveniently located between Uvongo and Margate. It offers 76 indigenous coastal tree species, about 300 other indigenous trees and 400 exotic tree species. This creates a perfect natural habitat to a rich variety of birdlife that “call” this area their home. A series of one-hour self-guided trails are demarcated. Although game such as blue and grey duiker, and bushbuck do occur, the emphasis is on botanical species. Most tree species are clearly labelled. Please note that there are no ablution facilities and though people may picnic there are no barbecuing allowed. Entrance to the reserve is free. Contact the Officer-in-Charge on Tel: 039 3150112 for more information.

For slightly more “creepy” creatures, a 'must do' is the Pure Venom Reptile Park at Shelly Beach – one of the largest reptile farms in Africa.

For cycling and trail running enthusiasts, The Burry Stander Bike Park is only about 15 km north of Shelly, inland from Umtentweni. For more information on this and other great biking trails, simply click:

For avid hikers, there is a footpath alongside nearby Uvongo’s waterfall, mapped out to reach the 28 ha iVungu River Nature Reserve. Trails lead through riverine forest up against the river banks with abundant birdlife in the canopy and on the river. Be on the lookout for the pretty purple-banded sunbird, Pied Kingfishers and Egyptian Geese (to name just a few).

For the “not-so-serious”; there is a fun-run each Saturday morning; starting from neighbouring St Michaels-on-sea, to Uvongo, and back. The roughly 5 km route winds gently along Orange Rocks, offering spectacular ocean views along the way. Afterwards, enjoy a refreshment at the C-Bali restaurant (the start and finish of the “race”), while taking in the scenic views of the St Michaels’ beach, lagoon and the waves – a firm favourite of local and international surfers.      

For golf lovers, Margate Country Club nearby, features superb greens and abounds with tall trees and stunning South Coast scenery. Lower South Coast golf courses are a much sought-after destination for golfing enthusiasts. These courses stretch from Southbroom Golf Club, to Port Shepstone, Selborne and Umdoni, most of which are within a leisurely hour’s drive from Durban.

Retail therapy…

Shelly Beach is served by numerous restaurants, retailers, banks and other convenience stores, mostly located along Marine Drive (R 102). For more “serious” shoppers, the Shelley Beach Mall, or the landmark South Coast Mall, is where you will find anything you could possibly need or desire. Or, you could meander through the Uvongo Flea Market, held every weekend, where you can purchase that something special for a friend or loved one, or sample some of the delicious culinary creations on offer.

Also visit these other towns near Shelly Beach

North of Shelly:

Oslo Beach – about 7 km north
Port Shepstone – about 9 km north

South of Shelly:

St Michaels-on-Sea – about 1.5 km south
Manaba Beach – about 8 km south

Margate – about 10 km south
San Lameer – about 21 km south
Southbroom – about 25 km south
Marina Beach – about 26 km south 


Other worthwhile attractions:

Bushbuck Trail Southbroom (about 25 km south from Shelly)

Pure Venom Reptile Park Shelly Beach (about 5 km north from Shelly)
Riverbend Crocodile Farm Southbroom (about 25 km south)
Frederika Nature Reserve Southbroom (about 25 km south)
Port Shepstone Lighthouse (about 10 km north)
Mpenjati Nature Reserve (about 30 km south)
Natal Space Centre Port Edward (about 45 km south)
Umtamvuna Nature Reserve Port Edward (about 40 km south)

Butterfly Valley Farm Ramsgate (about 15 km south)

Beaver Creek Coffee Farm (about 40 km south)


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