Visit Knysna, Knysna Tourism, Garden Route, South Africa

2023 SIMOLA HILLCLIMB SET DELIVER FAN-FRIENDLY AUTOMOTIVE EXTRAVAGANZA

 If the country’s most spectacular and fastest cars are your thing, there’s only one place to be from 4 to 7 May 2023, and that’s at the 13th edition of the Simola Hillclimb in Knysna.

  • Fan Fest, street parades and a chance to see the cars and drivers close-up at official scrutineering add to the excitement and adrenaline-fuelled atmosphere before the Simola Hillclimb even starts
  • Gasoline Alley offers some of the best views of the event with variety of activities, exhibitors, food and beverage vendors to make it a fun-filled family affair
  • Demonstration runs from event partners add to spectacle, including exciting products from Suzuki, BMW, Honda and Volkswagen

This year’s event will be bigger and better on all fronts, and that doesn’t just apply to the extraordinary road and race cars that will be driven in anger up the 1.9 km Simola Hill, or the dazzling list of top-tier local drivers and some high-profile international drivers such as WRC and WRX champion Petter Solberg who will be in the mix.

There is truly something for everyone, with plenty of attractions to get your adrenaline flowing – even before fans make their way to the event itself, with Classic Car Friday taking place on 5 May, followed by King of the Hill on Saturday and Sunday, 6 and 7 May.

“Classic Car Friday and King of the Hill are obviously the main attractions at the Simola Hillclimb, but there is so much more to this event to enthral motoring and motorsport enthusiasts of all ages and interests, including a Fan Fest and the popular street parades,” says Ian Shrosbree, MD of the Knysna Speed Festival which owns the Simola Hillclimb. “This all helps build the atmosphere and excitement leading into the main events and allows all of Knysna’s residents to enjoy a part of the Hillclimb.”

The Fan Fest precinct will include the Knysna High School grounds and surrounding roads on Thursday and Friday (4 and 5 May) from 11h00, with free access to see the wide range of new cars that will be on display along with other motoring-related items and goods for sale.

Eager enthusiasts who would like to see the cars set to compete in the event close-up before the action commences can head to Hedge Street in Knysna for the official scrutineering, which takes place from 09h00 to 14h30 on Thursday 4 May for Classic Car Friday entrants, and the same time the next day for all King of the Hill competitors.

Nothing beats the sights and sounds of these spectacular cars on the move, and the street parades are always among the major event highlights. Be sure to secure your spot along the scenic Waterfront Drive on Thursday 4 May from 14h45 to 15h15 to see the classic cars parading by, and on Friday from 17h15 to 17h45 for the road cars and pure race-bred machines that will compete in King of the Hill.

Enthusiasts who have secured their tickets to South Africa’s premier motoring and motorsport lifestyle event can look forward to plenty of further attractions once through the gates into the Simola Hillclimb. Gasoline Alley is the main public viewing area to see the cars charging up the steep Simola Hill. It has some of the best views of the track and, of course, the scenic Knysna Heads and estuary as a breathtaking backdrop.

A variety of local food vendors, exhibitors and a public bar will be available in Gasoline Alley, along with a jumping castle to keep the young kids under 12 entertained. Older children and adults can get their pulses racing by testing their driving skills on the ATK Esports Racing Simulators, and families are invited to bring along chairs and picnic blankets to enjoy all the Simola Hillclimb has to offer.

In between the practice and qualifying runs spectators will be treated to demonstration runs up the Simola Hill featuring motorcycles and cars, including the latest two-wheeled machines from Suzuki which is a Tier 1 partner.

“We are very excited to be doing lunchtime exhibition runs with our Suzuki motorcycles for the third year running,” says Brendon Carpenter, Brand Marketing Manager at Suzuki Auto South Africa. “This year we have Jaco Viviers of Suzuki Richards Bay piloting the latest version of the Suzuki GSX-R1000R up the hill. Chris Kuun from Suzuki Auto SA will be riding the recently launched Suzuki DL 1050 DE V-Strom adventure bike which will be another first at the Simola Hillclimb.”

As a Tier 1 partner, BMW will be doing demonstration runs up the Simola Hill with the latest BMW M5 and X6M. Outside of the main event, BMW will also participate in a special parade lap through Knysna in celebration of the company’s 50th Jubilee in South Africa. This will include classic cars from BMW car clubs that will be in attendance.

Honda is a Tier 2 partner and will be doing demonstration runs with the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade superbike and its newly launched Civic Type R, with the Japanese manufacturer also confirming that Deon Joubert will be competing in King of the Hill in this exciting new performance model. Volkswagen is a Tier 2 partner and will reveal a new racing car during lunch time on Saturday.

Monster Energy Drinks will be back in action with its crowd-favourite Mustang drift car smoking its tyres on the hill with Jason Webb at the wheel, while Brent Le Riche will entertain the crowd with his incredible trials bike skills.

Time is running out fast with just one week to go before Knysna comes alive with the most spectacular automotive extravaganza in South Africa – so don’t miss out, get your tickets today!

 

Purchase your tickets online

Tickets can be purchased on the event website (www.simolahillclimb.com), with the prices for General Entry remaining unchanged from last year. Upgrades are available for Pit Access, Turn 2 Grandstand seating and VIP Parking.

For the ultimate VIP experience, the Le Mans Hospitality Lounge provides mouth-watering catering, an unbeatable viewing point overlooking the start line, as well as General Entry and Pit Access.

The 13th edition of the Simola Hillclimb takes place from 4 to 7 May 2023.

 

More information on the Simola Hillclimb is available on the website: www.simolahillclimb.com

A seahorse for Sedgefield!

It may be called the Knysna Seahorse, but Sedgefield is where you will now find the most impressive tribute to the tiny creature that makes the town’s estuaries its home. Today local NPO Masithandane unveiled their latest mosaic masterpiece at the foot of the dune beach-lovers climb to reach the magnificent Myoli Beach.

“Sedgefield, here at last is the seahorse you’ve been asking for!” Jacky Weaver, Chairperson of Masithandane, introduced their latest addition to the Sedgefield Mosaic Route as mosaic team leader Hyla Hartlief and Ward 1 Councillor Levael Davis removed the “wrapping”.

The towering 3 meter high installation comprises a giant sparkling mosaic statue of the Knysna Seahorse mounted on one of the original fishing boats used at Gericke’s Point, donated by Christopher Fredericks. Livelihoods depended on it for more than 40 years. The historically significant Gericke’s Point provides the distinctive, distant western backdrop to Myoli Beach.

The shimmering seahorse sculpture is Masithandane’s second contribution to the #KnysnaArtProject, a collaboration between Visit Knysna (the greater Knysna area’s destination marketing organisation), the Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Art Society. It is also the last installation in the official #KnysnaArtProject, the aim of which was to encourage visitors to branch out and explore some of the lesser known gems that the area has to offer by creating interactive outdoor artworks. These installations also now provided the basis for the Knysna Art Route which maps out all the galleries, artist studios, maker spaces and more that can be explored by art enthusiasts visiting the Greater Knysna area.

In August 2021, Masithandane unveiled the Sedgefield1 Love Bug – an original Volkswagen Beetle parked on the side of the Swartvlei River covered in brightly coloured mosaic renditions of the local fynbos and other flora unique to the area. With its open top and picture-perfect backdrop Sedgefield1 has proved to be as big a hit amongst residents of this small self-proclaimed “slow town” as it has amongst the travellers and tourists it was made for.

According to Jacky the idea for the seahorse came from the community, who have been asking for one ever since the Love Bug was unveiled. It was also at the launch of the Love Bug that Jacky first met Christopher Fredericks and heard the story of the fishing boat, which he then offered to donate to Masithandane for their next project. The Fredericks’ boat, hidden in his back yard for over a decade and beginning to decay, has now been given new life as the impressive base for the giant concrete seahorse.

The resin “starfish” steps up to the boat are also significant. They incorporate a number of metal sinkers, collected along the coastline as part of the Strandloper Project. Mark Dixon, founder of the Strandloper Project, approached Jacky with the idea of including sinkers in one of their installations to draw some attention to these environmental hazards.

Masithandane’s mosaics are not new to Sedgefield. The Mosaic Project began as a skills training and income generation initiative for unemployed men in 2008 and has been uplifting the town with public mosaic works ever since, many of them private commissions funded by the townspeople. In fact, whatever you do and wherever you go in Sedgefield, one thing is for certain – you will be enchanted by the vibrant mosaic art that has become such an integral and attractive part of its visual fabric. The Mosaic Art Route now includes more than sixty five wonderous mosaic works that are quite worthy of the 90-minutes it takes to complete a self-drive tour. Aside from the Sedgefield1 Love Bug, the route takes you past a number of other iconic sculptures worthy of a selfie pic or two – among them the Slow Papa Tortoise and Heartbeat of Sedgefield heart on the Main Rd, Marinara with its view of Gericke’s Point, and the interactive Octopus Garden at the Scarab Market on the outskirts of town.


#knysnaartproject
Pleasure seekers now have more reasons than ever to stop along the N2 and spend some time in areas such as Sedgefield, Buffalo Bay, Brenton-on-Sea, Knysna and Concordia. In a world where selfies and that perfect Instagram moment is now the most popular way of sharing photos and experiences worldwide, the #KnysnaArtProject is encouraging visitors to Greater Knysna to branch out, explore and discover everything the area has to offer by creating a series of unique selfie opportunities. The initiative is an ambitious and exciting collaboration between Visit Knysna (the greater Knysna area’s destination marketing organisation), the Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Art Society and thus far includes the Sedgefield1 Love Bug, a 2.2m statue of a Rasta priest on the Mount at Judah square, the Buffalo Bay Boardwalk and the Brenton on Sea Wall of Wings.

Masithandane – the makers behind the mosaic route
Headed by Jacky Weaver, Masithandane provides vital services to the poorer community in Sedgefield. The vision was to provide community care for disadvantaged communities, care for the sick or terminally ill with the HUG Care and Respite Centre (House under Grace) and support for families and mothers and children.

A non-profit organisation (NPO), Masithandane has provided food security for thousands, catered for early childhood development and literacy, taught life skills to the members of the community and offered income earning opportunities over the years. During the hard Covid lockdown they delivered 1700 weekly food parcels for several months.

Masithandane is the conduit for 19 community kitchens and feeding schemes in Sedgefield, Karatara, Rheenendal, Knysna and Hornlee. Some 1900 meals are provided 5 days a week, while more than 100 people get healthy meals every day at the Centre.

In another section of the Centre, the laughter of children leads to the classroom or outdoor playground of Ikhaya Lentliziyo. The first principal came to Masithandane many years ago to follow her passion of looking after children, was unqualified, but now has formal qualifications and 32 children under her watchful eye.

Weaver points at a map in the Wellness Centre, of the area of the communities served and explains: “These are not just dots. Every single one represents a family. There are 1700 households in Smutsville, Slangepark and Sizamile with as many as eight people per household, many being helped by Masithandane,” says Weaver.

Masithandane derives its income from donations, fund-raising proposals and events and from mosaic interactive groups and tours.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/masithandane
or phone Jacky on 082 4142133