Whazz–up Summa!?

2011-12-17 18:38

Summer is exploding into a myriad music festivals, action-packed adventures and fun-in-the-sun, island-style escapes.

Here is a lowdown on what holidaymakers at the coast can expect

Cape Town and the Western Cape

More than half of Cape Town Tourism staff expect this festive season to be slightly better than last year.

Visitor numbers to South Africa’s most famous destination have remained steady this year and climbed slightly in November, according to Cape Town Tourism communications manager Skye Grove.

Cape Town’s summer season officially started this week and the Mother City attracts huge numbers of foreign tourists each year.

Grove said: “Many factors have contributed to the worldwide general decline in tourism statistics we have seen over the past few years.

However, indications are that there are some signs of recovery from the global recession.”

It has been a good year for Cape Town, receiving accolades such as the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Best Destination 2011 award, and Table Mountain being named one of the New7Wonders of Nature.

Many inlanders will flock to the Western Cape from this weekend.

The province offers great outdoor activities and always arranges exciting adventures for the summer season.

WHAT TO DO:

» Hike up Table Mountain or take a cable-car ride

» Relax on Cape Town’s many beaches

» Tour the famous Cape Winelands

» Enjoy a unique experience with township tours

» Stroll along Adderley Street beneath the city’s festive lights

Party time:

» If you prefer the Garden Route, do not miss the Knysna Rocks Music Festival on December 23.

The festival features South African icon Johnny Clegg, the super-band Prime Circle and Afrikaans music sensation Die Heuwels Fantasties.

» For a New Year’s Eve bash, rock-till-you-drop at the yearlythree-day Rock the River SA Festival at the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch.

Starting on December 31, the festival will host three epic stages for more than 100 acts such as Fokofpolisiekar, Hog Hoggidy Hog, Half Price and Boombox Troopers.

Durban and KwaZulu-Natal

The east coast is expecting a “bumper Christmas”, according to Gerhard Patzer, the chair of the Federated Hospitality Association of SA.

“Bookings for Christmas are already up by 10% to 20% when compared to last year.

“KwaZulu-Natal is actually the busiest domestic holiday destination in the whole country,” said Patzer.

Most outlets on the province’s south coast were nearing their capacity. “There are still rooms available along the beach but they should fill up soon,” said Patzer.

The eThekwini municipality has set up a Festive Season Committee (Fesmac)for the first big influx expected this weekend.

Municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng said: “The Fesmac team will ensure that safety plans and other logistics are in order this festive season.

Our metro police will also be doing regular patrols on their brand-new eco-bikes.”

Other initiatives include beach ambassadors who will help visitors with general tourism information and directions.

Children will be required to wear wristbands in case they are separated from guardians at the beach.
Party time:

» The seventh Hazelmere Dam jazz festival is on in Durban on December 26.

Acts include a number of jazz and Afro-pop heavyweights including Lira, Thandiswa Mazwai and Hugh Masekela.

Zahara will be performing with an orchestra for the first time.

Port Elizabeth and Eastern Cape

A mixture of sun, surf and outdoor pursuits over the festive season is on offer in Eastern Cape.

Holiday destinations across the province – from Tsitsikamma, which is part of the Garden Route, to the Wild Coast in Transkei, and the areas in between – are reporting decent bookings and some are already at capacity.

Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency interim chief executive Sybert Liebenberg said a huge influx to the province’s 800km of rugged and developed coastline is expected.

Though cautious, Liebenberg said bookings reflected few effects of the current economic climate.

He said: “There’s been no real downturn in the number of bookings in our reserves and places of accommodation along the coast.

“Most of them are already fully booked and we’ll be seeing a lot of people at the coast.”

However, he said their stays might be shorter this year.

The province’s metros, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay, will offer their own entertainment in the way of sporting activities, nightlife, music festivals and the arts.

HOW ABOUT SOME SPORT TOURISM?

» Buffalo City is hosting the Africa Open Golf tournament on January 5 and the one-day international cricket fixture between South Africa and Sri Lanka on January 14.

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