With the exceptionally varied and beautiful terrain of the Garden Route just begging to be explored on foot, it lends itself perfectly to hosting South Africa’s very first walking festival.
Highlighting some of the finest trails our region has to offer, the Garden Route Walking Festival has been designed to offer both locals and visitors the opportunity to experience the eye candy of the Southern Cape: mountains, forests, lakes, rivers and never-ending beaches – we have it ALL!
The festival is scheduled over the Easter holidays from 25 – 29 March 2016. The festival programme includes a whopping 52 walks between George and Storms River. Participants are definitely spoilt for choice.
“Walking festivals are a big trend globally, but this is a first for South Africa,” says Galeo Saintz festival founder. “It’s a massive undertaking that involves the support and involvement of local communities. Hi-Tec, a brand which has become synonymous with hiking in South Africa, are sponsors of the event, which enables us to offer a wide range of walks catering to all levels of fitness and adventure,“ he added.
So, whether you are looking to enjoy a leisurely saunter or eager for a more strenuous, full day adventure, there is something on the programme for everyone, young and old alike. While the programme includes many of our more popular, well-trodden trails, such as the Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail and the Circles in the Forest Elephant Walk, the event organisers have been very creative with some of their walks, and the programme is peppered with some delightfully fun, educational and memorable walks.
The list below of some of the walks scheduled is enough to whet your appetite.
Walking with Poetry - 26 March 2016
A walk interspersed with nature’s poetry, reconnecting our ecological self with the landscape around us through the words of great poets - a soulful experience.
There are a number of caches hidden along the Garden Route – can you find them? This event runs throughout the festival. All you need is a phone with GPS.
3 – 4 Hours
Mindfulness Mediation Walk
This is slow, mindful walk through the forest; an opportunity to experience walking meditation and expand one’s awareness.
Biomimicry and Naturally Knysna – 27 March 2016
Discover the hidden gem of the Pledge Nature Reserve right in the centre of Knysna town, while discovering what an incredible teacher Nature is and how much we can learn from her. The underlying principles of the Naturally Knysna initiative will also be revealed on this relatively gentle meander through a restored forest area.
A Vertical Walk – Abseil - 27 March 2016
A chance to abseil and “walk vertically” down the cliffs of Salt River. A wild out there adventure for the entire family.
Love Me, Love My Dog – Monday 28 March 2016
An early morning beach walk for dog lovers and well-behaved dogs.
Exotic Fancy Dress Walk from Forest to Sea –Tuesday 29 March 2016
This is magical coastal walk through the forest and down Forest Hall Estate to the ocean and back. Bring sundowners and ensure you are dressed for a ball in nature: body adornment, feathers, vines and ball gowns – it’s a carnival procession to the sea.
• Registration is necessary to participate in any of the walks, to help the organisers coordinate and ensure places are available.
• Registration for the festival costs R 150 per person (children under 12 years are free), this includes all the following benefits:
• Access to all walks (additional fees may be required for certain walks on SANParks or CapeNature Reserves or for walks led by professional guides. Please see each walk for cost details)
• Chance to win Hi-Tec gear hampers
• Prizes for walkers who complete the most walks over 5 days
• A limited edition Festival Cap
• Limited edition stitch-on Walking Fest Badge for backpack or jackets
• Walking Fest sticker
• Other surprise goodies from energy bars to apparel give-ways
• Children under 12 years of age are free
Details of each event are currently being finalised.
For further information, visit www.walkingfestival.co.za.