The swallows are here

2017-02-16 06:01

LAST Sunday I was at a meeting at one of our golf clubs and they were having an “International Pairs Day” involving golfers in our area, from South Africa and abroad.

In discussions, it became apparent that at this time of year, people from the northern hemisphere migrate here to avoid the extreme winter chills they get in the months of January through to April. I can understand why they do. Europe at this time of year freezes the environment and the soul.

These hundreds of swallows come to the South Coast, rent accommodation or stay in their own holiday homes and spend their Euros, Francs and Pounds which must be wonderful for them given the exchange rate. After all, our destination is not known for over the top prices so no wonder these long haul spenders come to our sub-tropical shores year after year and it is catching on.

A few estate agents have told me that many sales they make are to foreigners who have come out here with their friends, like it so much that they purchase their own property at a fraction of what is asked for at the trendy spots to the south of us. Here I am thinking of a city that has a bit of a mountain in the middle of it.

One other aspect of these annual visitors is their strong philanthropic vein and it is not uncommon for rural communities and NGOs benefiting from their generosity. It is clear these migratory markets are very much valued.

We have a very endearing variety of people here and our visitors are drawn to us as we are to them. I was once in Port St Johns and in the visitor’s book at a hospitality establishment one entry read, “My name is Olga from Norway. I came for three days and loved it so much I stayed for nine months.” No doubt Olga may have been drawn to the esoteric, care-free vibe on the Wild Coast.

Although we are not as rustic as down there, we too enjoy long stay visits from long-haul visitors who come here to play golf, chill on our lovely beaches, tuck into our cuisine, hike and bike and trek into our captivating inland eco-cultural spots.

To all our swallows from up north, welcome again. You are always at home here and like the energetic birds, may you wing your way around our Paradise and enjoy the best of our Africa.

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