Local Getaway

The Wild Coast Sun gets full marks for being fun for the whole family

The Eastern Cape resort, which turned 40 this year, allows you to celebrate the nostalgia of past visits while making new memories

24 October 2021 - 00:00
The Wild Coast Sun Resort lies on the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
The Wild Coast Sun Resort lies on the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Image: Wild Coast Sun

It’s the ’90s. I am in mustard-coloured jeans, a sparkling top and my long hair is held back with what was known as butterfly clips. I am also the reigning champion of the dolphin race game in Wild Coast Sun Resort’s arcade.

My winning tickets are redeemed for sweets, which I happily share with my siblings and cousins. Afterwards, we pool our remaining pocket money to buy milkshakes and ice cream. The group then splits up to find another game to conquer. I find myself back at the dolphin race and win again and again.

More than 20 years later, this memory is vivid in my mind as my four-year-old asks for the umpteenth time since we left Durban if we are there yet.

While I am a mother in desperate need of a holiday, a massage and time alone in the bathroom, it’s difficult to be annoyed with his impatience because I too am excited.

JUST WHAT YOU NEED

Over the years, I have discovered that Wild Coast Sun Resort can be anything from a day outing to a mini getaway or even a much-needed family holiday.

For my husband and me it’s a much-needed break but for my four-year-old, it’s the first real holiday experience that he will remember. He was too small to remember holidays pre-Covid-19.

The resort turned 40 this year. If it’s anything like me, it should feel old, tired and out of date, but it’s not. Wild Coast’s charm is that though it has changed to embrace technology, little has really changed over the past four decades.

The poolside Driftwood Bar and Terrace.
The poolside Driftwood Bar and Terrace.
Image: Wild Coast Sun

I am told that from the outset it was designed to fit the landscape. The buildings were designed and positioned on the property so as to interfere as little as possible with the environment and natural view.

Today, flanked by ocean, river, lagoon and 750ha of lush indigenous bush, the property boasts an R80m water park, games area for children, outdoor sports, a top-ranked 18-hole golf course, casino and a range of restaurants.

For families, the resort’s straightforward layout, which hasn’t changed but has been upgraded over the years, makes all sorts of sense. You can walk to wherever you want to go without bundling the entire family into the car — a blessing that most parents would relish.

WHILING AWAY

While we had seen throngs of guests during check-in, once in our room, there were no signs that we were sharing a building with hundreds of people.

Our room, which became a cocoon where we shut out the outside world, was spacious and clean, with two beds, a bathtub with a bottle of bubble bath nearby, and sea view ... what more could we ask for?

The crashing waves on the shore were the only reminder of the outside world. While I got lost in the view, transfixed by the gentle ebb and flow of the majestic waves, my husband and son found their sweet spot in the pool below.

I had to practically drag my husband away from the deckchair, which he had become one with, when it was his turn for a full body massage at the Mangwanani Spa.

At Chico’s we found delicious and diverse dishes but I was more impressed with the way the restaurant had adapted to catering in the time of Covid-19. Salads, fruit and even desserts were individually wrapped while social distancing was managed by on-site supervisors. There were no complaints from patrons as the atmosphere was relaxed with cordial staff and efficient service.

The Wild Waves Water Park with its splendid variety of water rides.
The Wild Waves Water Park with its splendid variety of water rides.
Image: Wild Coast Sun

If I had my way, we would have been holed up in the room for the entire weekend so I could finish a novel on my reading list, but the four-year-old had other ideas. He had seen brochures promoting a river boat cruise, the Wild Waves Water Park and, of course, the game arcade.

All too eager to try out the slides, father and son set out on their own adventure while I found peace on the Lazy River tube ride.

Ordinarily, getting a four-year-old to bed each night takes some effort, but at the end of each day, after a soothing shower, an exhausted yet happy little boy hopped into bed and fell asleep before we switched off the light. For that alone, Wild Coast Sun should get a five-star rating!

Family holidays are tricky. It’s hit and miss. Sometimes you end up wishing you were back home from the moment you arrive. But Wild Coast Sun has a formula that works; it caters for every member of the family. Its picturesque setting takes you away from your everyday life, even if it’s on your doorstep. It allows you to celebrate the nostalgia while making new memories.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

WHERE IT IS

Wild Coast Sun is located 5km from Port Edward and  straddles the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. It’s a two-hour drive from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.

ACCOMMODATION 

The four-star hotel boasts 396 garden and sea-facing rooms.

A suite with a balcony and sea view.
A suite with a balcony and sea view.
Image: Wild Coast Sun

THE FOOD 

Chico’s serves up “buffet dining fit for a king”. Indulge in a hearty selection of carveries, curries, stews and vegetables, and for something lighter, fresh grilled line fish and crunchy salads. Wrap up your meal with a variety of delectable desserts and coffees. All bread and desserts are freshly made on-site every day.

Visit the Driftwood Bar and Terrace after a dip in the pool and enjoy some light snacks and delicious, exotic cocktails. Hang out with your friends or family and just relax before heading back to the indoor pool for another round of splashing. The Driftwood Bar and Terrace is now open for breakfast.

WHAT TO DO

The casino has a wide range of slot machines and popular table games such as roulette, blackjack and other classics. Both smoking and non-smoking facilities are available.

The championship 18-hole Wild Coast Sun golf course is famed for its magnificently curated fairways and greens that cross a rugged terrain of hills, ravines, rivers, dams, waterfalls and the lagoon until the final hole, with unforgettable views of the Indian Ocean.

Land-based sports are mostly located at the Sports Centre, which houses a gymnasium, lawn bowls, squash and tennis.

Families can enjoy activities like Segways, quad-biking and cycling.
Families can enjoy activities like Segways, quad-biking and cycling.
Image: Wild Coast Sun

The AquaPlay area’s slides will keep youngsters safely entertained for hours, while the entire family will enjoy activities such as Segways, quad-biking and cycling.  Indoor entertainment for children is provided by the Magic Company and Cosmic Bowling in the Aloha Village.

The Wild Waves Water Park boasts some of the world’s best water rides. Choose from a gentle Lazy River tube experience to fast-paced, heart-pounding body slides; tube rides and flume experiences.

RATES AND SPECIALS

Rates start from R1,796 a room sleeping two per night and include breakfast. Kids under 18 eat and stay free when sharing with an adult.

South African residents can book a SunScapes family stay from R1,473 a room a night for travel before December 9 2021, including breakfast and access to the Wild Waves Water Park.

Sunday buffet lunch at Chico’s is R119 a person.

High Tea is served every Saturday at Lagoon Bar and costs R150 a person.

Gin picnics on the last Saturday of the month on the Driftwood Bar and Terrace lawns cost R250 a person and include a picnic basket,  gin and tonic mix, still water and fruit juice.

CONTACT DETAILS

Email wildcoastmvg@suninternational.com or see suninternational.com.

• Nair was a guest of Sun International.


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