Festival time in the Eastern Cape

Whether you’re looking for something literary, something flowery or even just a great day out in celebration of nature’s abundance there are some wonderful of events to diarise in the upcoming months.   The economies and communities of these Eastern Cape ‘dorpies’ benefit hugely from attendances at these Shows and a huge amount of work goes into their organisation.  Let’s all get out there, support their initiatives and have fun in the process

  • Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival 9 -12 August 2012 (www.tuishuisie.co.za/olive_schreiner_festival.htm)
  • Hogsback Spring Festival 21-24 September 2012
  • Naartjie Festival, Loerie 24 September 2012
  • Shell Festival , Jeffreys Bay 28 – 30 September 2012
  • Grahamstown Flower Festival 6-7 October 2012
  • The Addo Rose and Garden Show 12-14 October 2012 (www.addorose.co.za)
  • Bedford Garden Festival 26-28 October 2012



Have you a love of the great outdoors? Do canoeing and hiking interest you?

The Eastern Cape offers plenty of opportunity for hiking and canoeing enthusiasts – but an offering that has caught my eye recently are the three trails marketed by a company called Shipwreck Hiking and Canoe Trails (www.shipwreckhiking.co.za).   The Kleinemonde West River Canoe Trail features a 9km paddle up river and a 2km hike through the Nyala Valley Game Reserve where you will overnight at the delightfully named Lily Pad hut. The other two hiking options are a 5 day, 4 night option or a 6 day, 5 night option, the latter which will include the Kleinemonde West River Canoe Trail described above.  The coastal hikes are from Port Alfred to the Fish River Mouth – hiking along the beach, over dunes, through farmlands and riverine forest.  Your nights will be spent at Milkwood hut, Tree House, Three Sisters hut and Stone Cottage.   Check out their website and contact Dave Marais for more information.   With Spring and Summer just round the corner – why not plan a fun few days with family and friends in the great outdoors.   Its birdlife, its wildlife, its history, its exercise, its comraderie……

Tiffindell to re-open – good news for Eastern Cape tourism

Tiffindell, South Africa’s only ski resort is set to re-open next year again after being sold on auction to Lew Campbell, the owner of the Ski Deck Snow Skiing Centre in Johannesburg.This is great news as it represents a unique offering (found nowhere else in South Africa) and adds to the diversity of tourism experiences that our Province offers.  It will also serve as a job creation opportunity for the locals in this very impoverished area.  Adventure sport is a fast growing tourist category and in the Eastern Cape we offer plenty of that.  This is a very welcome addition.  We salute Lew Campbell’s vision and positive investment.

The National Arts Festival reveals some amazing Eastern Cape craft talent

Every year I go up to the Arts Festival to enjoy the theatre, the music and the art and usually spend a morning wandering around the Village Market.    This year I was ‘knocked’ out by the high standard of the work of some our own local home-grown talent. Some of those that really impressed are: Thobelani Crafts in Tarkastad with their outstanding useable and decorative works (www.winterberg.co.za/Thobelani), Karoo Kwezi in Somerset West  (www.karookwezi.co.za) for their quirky upcycled lights made from re-cycled bottles, Elizwe Ceramics from Cookhouse for their beautiful creations (www.elizwe.co.za), the gorgeous exclusive range of children’s clothes branded Nasty and Nice by Jessica Hornby (www.nastyandnice.co.za), the wonderful Uthando dolls being made by the Siyakhula Doll Cooperative under the auspices of the the Angus Gillis Foundation at Kwande,( www.angusgillisfoundation.co.za) the fresh and innovative functional and fashion items made with sishweshe prints made by Bright Sewing Ideas in Pewuleni Village in Debe Nek and the magnificent wood carving by Zolani Mpente,  a Port St. John’s artist.  Last but certainly not least the artistic talent of the little company Pewter-it (www.pewter.webs.com).   These products and many other high quality items that I am sure are being made in our midst deserve exposure in our Tourism offices, in our local gift shops and via our local press.   So much great work is being done to help people lift themselves out of the poverty trap but they need access to the marketplace. It gives me an idea for a tourism venture in the making!




The Eastern Cape coastline has something to shout about….

Whether you’re into the great Billabong Surf Pro at Jeffreys, the world famous Sardine Run along the Transkei Coast, the numerous coastal hiking Trails in the Tsistikamma and in the Alexandria area or are interested in a simple old-fashioned bucket and spade family holiday, the Eastern Cape is the place to be in July.   Our beaches are some of the best in South Africa and the least crowded in the world, our winter climate is temperate and whilst we have experienced some of the Cape winter rains this year and some cold, particularly this weekend, generally the sun shines and the wind does not blow too hard.  With loads of accommodation options available  along this 2954km coastline (almost a third of the entire country’s coastline!) this in an area that should be on everyone’s’ bucket list.  A new Getaway Guide just published by Sunbird Publisher called Eastern Cape & Wild Coast by Michael Brett (ISBN 978-1-920289-21-8) would be a  valuable addition to your holiday research.