Industry News

A Dedicated Mission Tourism Route Opens Rural Tourism Economy

Launch of Mission Tourism Route on the KZN South Coast

The KZN South Coast has a rich cultural history, forming part of the many tourism excursions and adventures found here. With incredible religious sites dating back to the 1800s, this experience is set to attract attention with the launch of the Mission Tourism Route on Tuesday, 14 March.

Launched by South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE), media and key stakeholders such as Tourism KwaZulu-Natal and tour operators got a first-hand experience of the Mission Tourism Route that included The Capuchin Adoration Convent in Pumula; Maris Stella Mission at Oshabeni; Assisi Mission at Oshabeni; and Maria Trost Mission in St Faiths.

“We have noted that a growing source of tourism interest currently is the origins of Mariannhill and its constellation of outlying mission stations, many of which are found within the KZN South Coast,” explained Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise (SCTIE). “The launch of a dedicated Mission Tourism Route not only opens up a new avenue of tourism to our region while providing our visitors with exciting new offerings, it expands our tourism footprint further into the hinterland, opening up the rural tourism economy.”

The Mission Tourism Route touches on the history of Roman Catholic Mission Stations within the region and the interesting story of the Trappist monks. It starts in 1880 with the enigmatic Austrian monk Franz Pfanner, who arrived in KwaZulu-Natal with around 30 monks of the Trappist order. Two years after establishing Mariannhill, Pfanner started setting up outstations to reach people in rural areas, providing education and skills training.

The missions’ long history of serving the local communities continues today, with a local school and orphanage benefitting from the work done by these selfless individuals. Establishing the Mission Tourism Package will further support these efforts, providing an important opportunity for contributing towards social responsibility. The Mission Tourism Route is also ideal for historians, religious devotees, educationalists, retreats, and other interested visitors to discover more about the KZN South Coast’s rich, multi-cultural history. Other Missions found within our KZN South Coast of various religious denominations are to be introduced and included in future Mission Tour packages.

What’s included in the Mission Tourism Package?

Visitors will depart from Port Shepstone for the first stop, the Capuchin Way Mission, for a tour of the property and more on the operational history of this unique site. Then it’s on to Maris Stella Mission which includes a viewing of the incredible craftsmanship of the mission’s interior, murals and alters. The third stop is Assisi Mission, where visitors can learn more about the ongoing work of nuns residing here. Finally, there’s a tour of the beautiful Maria Trost Mission, constructed entirely out of local stone.

The tour group will then proceed to the historic Spillers Wharf along the Umzimkhulu River in Port Shepstone. After a tour of the wharf and some insight into its history, visitors will enjoy lunch at Fish on the River.

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