Margate Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, where to stay, and travel tips for exploring Margate, one of KwaZulu-Natal's top South Coast destinations.

Margate, a charming coastal town situated in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa is a sought-after holiday destination for both locals and international visitors. Known for its golden sand beaches, stunning natural landscapes, cultural attractions, and delicious cuisine, Margate offers something for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you to a tour around Margate’s must-see sights, outdoor adventures, accommodation options, and travel tips to make the most of your visit.

Introduction to Margate

Margate is a seaside town that was founded in 1922, originally named after the popular English seaside resort. The town spans across the Indian Ocean, bordering the Umdoni Coast with rocky cliffs at the southern end and pristine beaches at the northern end. The subtropical climate of Margate provides comfortable weather, perfect for outdoor activities all year round. Here are the top attractions to visit in Margate:

List of Places to Visit in Margate

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

(1) Margate Art Museum

The Margate Art Museum is one of the town’s oldest public buildings, and it is home to various collections and displays of local artworks, rare books, and artefacts.

(2) Ramsgate Marine Ramble

The Ramsgate Marine Ramble is an outdoor museum that showcases the seaside town’s nautical history, particularly the marine animals and birds in the area. Among these exhibits are whale and dolphin skeletons, shark eggs and shells.

Natural Attractions of Margate: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

(1) Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve

Located only 25 km west of Margate, the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve offers adrenaline-pumping activities such as abseiling, zip-lining, and bungee jumping, with stunning views of the gorge below.

(2) Margate Beach

Margate Beach is the town’s most popular attraction, spanning almost a mile of pristine coastline. Visitors can partake in water activities like swimming and surfing, or just relax under the sun on the fine sand. The beach features modern amenities such as restrooms, showers, and beachside vendors.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Margate

(1)Whale Trail

The Whale Trail is a popular hiking and biking route that follows a 5 km route along the coastline. The trail features a beautiful cliffside route that offers breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean, with a chance to spot whales in season.

(2) Skyline Nature Reserve

The Skyline Nature Reserve is a haven for hikers and bikers showcasing its diverse flora and fauna. There are six hiking and biking trails that range from easy to challenging, offering panoramic views of the town from its vantage point.

Best Things to Do in Margate: Activities and Tours

(1) Scuba Diving

Margate’s beautiful coastline and rich marine biodiversity make it a scuba diving hotspot in South Africa. Visitors can sign up for scuba diving lessons, or take a tour to explore the world of underwater sea creatures.

(2) Deep Sea Fishing

Margate is a top game fishing destination with a variety of gamefish such as marlin, tuna and swordfish. Visitors can experience an exciting day on a deep-sea fishing boat, challenging themselves to reel in their catch.

Week-Long Itinerary for Margate

Day Activity
1 Visit the Margate Art Museum and explore the town’s cultural scene
2 Take a hiking or biking trip on the Whale Trail
3 Head to Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve and enjoy the stunning views and outdoor activities
4 Relax on the Margate Beach and indulge in water activities
5 Explore the town on a bike tour or take a trip on a deep-sea fishing boat
6 Visit the Skyline Nature Reserve for a scenic hike
7 Unwind on the beach and visit the market in the town centre to buy souvenirs

Food and Drink Scene of Margate

Must-Try Dishes

(1) Bunny Chow

A favourite among locals, Bunny Chow is a spicy curry served in a hollowed-out bread bowl.

(2) Bobotie

Another local specialty, Bobotie, is a savoury dish made with spicy mince meat, curry powder, and dried fruit, topped with an egg custard layer.

Local Beverages

(1) Rooibos Tea

Rooibos Tea is a popular local beverage, with antioxidant properties and soothing effects, perfect for relaxing after a day’s adventures.

(2) Umqombothi

Umqombothi is a traditional beer made of corn, sorghum, and water, prevalent in the Zulu people’s culture. It is a social beverage and is often shared in communal tins.

Where to Stay in Margate: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Margate offers plenty of accommodation options for visitors, from luxurious hotels to budget-friendly hostels.

(1) Margate Sands

Margate Sands is a luxurious hotel off the beachfront, offering modern amenities, stunning views, and a prime location.

(2) Khaya La Manzi

Khaya La Manzi is a budget-friendly guesthouse located in Uvongo, a few kilometres away from Margate. The guesthouse features a swimming pool and barbecue facilities, with easy access to the beach.

What to Buy in Margate: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

(1) Beaded Crafts

Margate has an exciting, vibrant arts and crafts scene, with beaded crafts being the most popular. These beaded products include Zulu beaded bracelets, necklaces, and bags

(2) Handmade Tortoise Shell Bowls

The Tortoiseshell Bowls are signature artworks appreciated by tourists and locals for centuries, and are made by hand in Margate with various hues to attract attention.

Local Culture and Customs of Margate

The Zulu culture is prevalent in Margate, and visitors can expect a warm welcome, lively music and dance, and delicious local foods. Visitors should show respect for local culture, always ask permission before taking pictures, and avoid wearing inappropriate clothing in public.

Best Time to Visit Margate

Margate can be enjoyed all year round, with its subtropical climate providing favourable weather for outdoor activities. However, peak tourist season is during the summer months (December - February). During this period, it is advisable to book accommodation in advance.

Do’s and Don’ts of Margate


  • Respect local culture and customs.
  • Enjoy the town’s beautiful beaches and outdoor activities.
  • Try the local cuisine and support local businesses.


  • Consume or carry illegal drugs.
  • Litter on the beaches or streets.
  • Engage in any activity that could be detrimental to marine life.

Safety and Health

Safety in Margate

Margate is generally a safe town; however, visitors need to remain vigilant, especially when exploring late at night on foot. It is essential to lock doors and windows when in accommodation.

Health in Margate

Visitors should take precautions against mosquito bites, use insect repellent and cover up at dawn and dusk. Visitors should also ensure they are up to date with their vaccinations before travelling.

Getting to Margate: Transportation Options and Logistics

Margate is situated on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, approximately 132 km from Durban.

Airports Near Magate

The two main airports near Margate are King Shaka International in Durban and Margate Airport.

Bus Stations Near Margate

Greyhound offers daily bus services to Margate from major cities such as Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Durban.

Other Options

Visitors can hire a car or use taxis to travel within the town.

How to Get Around in Margate

Margate is a small town that can be explored on foot, with local taxis and car rentals for trips further afield.

Where to Go Next from Margate: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

(1) The Wild Coast

The Wild Coast, situated at the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, is an incredible destination and popular for great weather and water sports activities.

(2) Mkhambathi Nature Reserve

The Mkhambathi Nature Reserve is an ideal spot for hiking, bird watching, and wildflower viewing. Located on the northern banks of the Mkhambathi River, this reserve has a diverse wildlife population, with more than 300 endemic plant species.


Margate is a charming, picturesque town offering visitors the perfect combination of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and cultural attractions. With its warm weather, stunning beaches, and hospitable locals, Margate is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring South Africa’s South Coast region. Follow our comprehensive guide and make the most of your visit.