South Africa’s only walking festival is becoming the ‘not-to-miss’ event on the Garden Route over the Easter Weekend. Home to our country’s most famous trails and hikes, the festival celebrates the region’s iconic walks and appeals to adventure lovers while offering an exciting programme suitable for everyone in the family, from kids to seasoned hikers.
“Some of the best walks in the country are showcased in this exciting festival. Not to be missed are the Tidal Pool Meander and the brisk hikes up the region’s highest peaks, such as the Peak 1067 Challenge outside George and the Peak Formosa Adventure in the Tsitsikamma. Traditional walks include the Robberg Peninsula or Circles in the Forest Elephant Walk in the Knysna forest.
“For kids there is an amazing line-up this year, we have SA’s first Gruffalo Walk based on the famous children’s book character, allowing kids to learn about and encounter different
species of animals in the forest. The all Jme favourite Hi-Tec Kids Pirate Treasure Walk is perfect for Easter Sunday and promises to be great fun with friends and family on
Keurbooms beach,” says festival founder Galeo Saintz.
“The Hi-Tec Garden Route Walking Festival is the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere - it’s a massive undertaking that involves the support and involvement of
volunteer and professional guides who share their knowledge of the region and their passion for nature. There are walks on offer every day for four days all along the coast from Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Knysna and PleW to Nature’s Valley.”
“Each year we are astonished by how many new people discover the festival and join in. The Garden Route is one of the world's great walking destinations, its incredible mountains, secret forests, cascading waterfalls, coastal cliffs, amazing beaches and famous trails are ideal for an end of summer festival in the outdoors.”
The programme of over 52 different walks includes unusual walks, such as the Walk with Poetry, the Underwater Walk and the Sketching in Nature walk. For those with an
adventurous spirit tough hikes along the rocky coast are a must and the one not to miss is the Oystercatcher Trail experience.
“Everyone is welcome, as the festival is about building connection between our diverse communities and between ourselves and wild nature,” says Saintz. The festival benefits local Garden Route environmental charities and conservation projects by showcasing their work and facilitating donaJons contributed by walkers.
“Join us for fun time out, meet new friends and discover hidden gems off the beaten track. This festival is ideal for families and everyone keen to discover new trails,” concludes Saintz.
Date: 19 - 22 APRIL 2019 - Easter Weekend
Registration is free, and necessary to coordinate numbers. Most walks are free, while
others require SANParks or CapeNature permits or guiding fees.
Register at www.walkingfestival.co.za
Organiser: Galeo Saintz
Cell: 082 888 8181
Facebook: Garden Route Walking Festival
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.