Here’s a couple of really interesting ways to spend a few hours as a family. Join Anne Williams (a local birding expert) on her Three Sisters Saunter on Sunday 13th July 2014. This is a guided walk covering many aspects of the environment, birds, shipwrecks and historical tales of the area. @ R80 per person it is wonderful value, walking on a beautiful stretch of beach, taking in clean fresh air and learning something interesting in the process!
On both Wednesday 16 July and Saturday 19 July, Anne will be leading a 2 hour birdwatching tour in diverse habitats, starting from Kleinemonde at about 08h00. Also R80 per person.
Booking for all tours is essential. Contact Anne on 046 675 1976 or 083 719 4950
I’ve just picked up a brochure for the Morgan Bay’s Footprints Festival this weekend. Wish I’d heard about it earlier. It looks innovative and has something for everyone – young and old. Everyone is looking for a ‘point of difference’ these days and this attempt by the Morgan Bay community to do just that deserves success. Well done ….will definitely look out for a repeat event next year and will book early.
The Eastern Cape ‘dorps’ are definitely taking a page out of the Western Cape’s festival manual – what with Cradock’s recent Slow Food Festival adding to a host of wonderful “weekend away” opportunities now in our Province. Another one I heard about which will take place on 12/13 and 14 September this year is the Hogsback Reforest Fest. Here the plans is to plant thousands of trees to starts re-growing the area’s indigenous forest. Forest Walks, eco-workshops, yoga sessions, live music and delicious food will all be on offer. (email@example.com)
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)
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……
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 threat of mining on the Wild Coast just cannot be laid to rest it would seem. Only last year the Minister of Mineral Resources withdrew mining rights from Transworld on the basis that there were outstanding environmental issues that needed to be addressed. Now it seems as if the Ministry may have been convinced that environmental damage will be minimised and mining should go ahead. This is a real blow to the local Amadiba community who are putting a lot of effort into fledgling tourism ventures which will, if managed carefully, provide them with a sustainable future. Fortunately there are groups, the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) and Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) who are actively campaigning to have this decision changed. Our voices need to be added to their call.