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Southbroom, Port Shepstone

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Southbroom at a glance

Area Profile: Southbroom

Southbroom can actually be described as a district; which includes the coastal villages of Southbroom, Trafalgar, San Lameer and Canaan. This picturesque part of the Hibiscus Coast of KZN stretches between the Imbezane and Mpenjati rivers. 

The village of Southbroom itself, is a flourishing, up-market, yet welcoming village with a treasure trove of natural beauty, quality accommodation, and a vast array of attractions and activities to offer visitors of all ages! In fact, the district as a whole, has been described as the ‘jewel’ of the South Coast.

Southbroom's wealth of vegetation is undoubtedly due to the residents’ determination to preserve the area’s natural beauty, fauna and flora. This has ensured that Southbroom as a whole, remains a sparkling example of ecologically sound, aesthetically appealing development.

There is easy access to three beautiful swimming beaches, and the coastline stretches along the length of the village. Southbroom’s beaches also offer safe, child friendly bathing with two tidal pools, and a lagoon.

There are two nature trails within the village boundary which meanders through the sub-tropical coastal forest, with a third trail which winds its way alongside the lagoon. Birdlife is plentiful and at times, one can catch a glimpse of the rare blue or grey duiker or bushbuck. Dassies can also be spotted, sunning themselves on the rocks towards the beach end of Imbezane Drive. Nocturnal wildlife includes porcupines, white tailed mongooses and even honey badgers.

A visit to Umkobi lagoon at sunset will let you see the flight of masses of Barn swallow, as they return to roost during the summer months of October to April. Visitors can observe truly massive amounts of swallows retiring for the evening, just before sunset. These swallows overnight in the reed beds – without nesting – often as much as 6 to 8 on a single reed. The sight of these swooping swallows at sunset over the lagoon, is truly majestic. Other worthwhile swallow lookout points in Southbroom are from the patio of the Trattoria restaurant, the lagoon shores of Marina Beach, as well as several residences in Lower Milkwood, and Umkobi Lodge.

A brief History of Southbroom

In 1884, an English pioneer named Alfred Eyles set up a mission station, named Imbizane Mission on the site of the present-day Outlook Farm. In 1908, the Eyles’ family home was renamed “Southbroom”, after a family home in Devizes, England. During this time, the Swedish Zulu Mission took over from Alfred Eyles and rebuilt Imbizane Mission at Bushy Vales.

In 1895, the Fascadale, a four-masted steel barque, en route from Mauritius to Lisbon, was wrecked on the large rocks seawards of the Southbroom hotel’s tidal pool.  Captain Smith was not on board at the time, and the first mate, Alfred Julius, was in charge. Sadly, two crewmembers were lost due to drowning.  Fortunately, the arrival of Norham Castle, a steamer, prevented any further loss of life.

Frank and Gilbert Eyles, youngest sons of Alfred, actually proclaimed the township of Southbroom in 1933 on land acquired by their father (originally at 10 shillings an acre before the turn of the century), stretching from the Imbezane to the Umkobi River.

In 1935, the Southbroom Hotel opened, with its landmark tidal pool (known as Granny's Pool) opening in 1937. The town’s first general store and postal agency was founded by Ruth and Howard Barbour in 1944.

Southbroom’s iconic golf course (the brainchild of Frank Eyles), was originally laid out by J. Naven, a professional golfer of that era. It became a fully-fledged golf course of 18 holes in 1948. A.L. Mandy was the designer of the new course; which incorporated only 4 of the original 9 holes. In the same year, the bowling green was laid down by Jimmy Green and Ernie Sturman. In 1950, Southbroom Golf Club was formally established under Chairman/Captain E.A. Marshall, with Gilbert Eyles as President.  Southbroom Bowling Club formally opened with Reg Ault as President.

The Frederika Nature Preserve was donated to Southbroom in 1977, by environmentalist Leo Driessen. Today, the preserve is a National Heritage Site, consisting of 8 hectares of mature, virgin dune forest bordering the 16th,17th, and 2nd fairways of the golf course.

Sadly, in 1984, the Southbroom Hotel was demolished with great controversy. This caused the land to lie vacant for many years, until The Admiralty was eventually built on the site.

The landmark Southbroom Conservancy was established in 2004.

Nearby Attractions and Activities

Besides the many swimming beaches found in Southbroom, both Marina and Trafalgar Beach have Blue Flag status. Shark nets protect this section of the coast and kids love to explore Granny’s Pool, a calm tidal pool next to The Admiralty. Besides a round of golf or bowling, you can surf, paddleski, paddleboard, kayak, or canoe on the lagoon or freshwater lakes at South broom.

Other nearby attractions and activities (with estimated distances from Southbroom) include:

Southbroom offers a fair share of eateries. The Trattoria, overlooking the Umkobi Lagoon, describes their menu as “contemporary Mediterranean Italian”, for a sophisticated, upmarket dining experience. Alternatively, Riptide overlooks the main swimming beach; and offers a more economical menu of steak, seafood, and other snacks. For more information on eateries in and around Southbroom, click: https://www.wininganddining.co.za/kwazulu-natal/southbroom/

References:

  1. https://www.afristay.com/a/southbroom/
  2. https://www.wheretostay.co.za/coral-tree-colony-bed-and-breakfast-accommodation-southbroom-south-coast
  3. http://www.southbroom.org/history.htm
  4. http://www.southbroom.org/dates_in_time.htm
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southbroom
  6. https://www.sa-venues.com/accommodation/southbroom.php?page=2
  7. https://www.wininganddining.co.za/kwazulu-natal/southbroom/

   

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