Peaking down to the sea

2017-08-24 06:00

IT is not common knowledge, but the shortest road route to and from Cape Town from the KZN coast is via the R56 in the Eastern Cape highlands and cross country through the vast expanses of the Karoo.

Because of this, I recently engaged with the local authorities and tourism stakeholders in the Eastern Cape to cement some kind of tourism linkage whereby visitor flows utilise our district as a base or conduit for those using this route involving the Cape provinces.

This trip also included delivering many copies of our Southern Explorer route guide at many tourism offices on the way.

It is clear that the combination of a mountain experience (Rhodes for example has a snow ski resort nearby) and the warmer coastal tourism options here makes sense in that “Berg to beach” principle and we as gateway to KZN want to capture that stopover factor for those coming here or en route to the provinces west of us.

This principle also applies to cross-border flows to and from Lesotho and entering South Africa via the Eastern Cape border posts.

Imagine a tourist on one day snow skiing all wrapped up in winter woollies and shortly thereafter bathing comfortably on one of our brilliant beaches and soaking up the warm sun.

Another scenario could be that anglers can one day reel in large trout from a pristine mountain stream and then come here and catch a massive game fish along our popular coastline.

Great choices thus emerge if we fuse our year round offering with those in the mountain areas of KZN and the Eastern Cape which lie only a few hours away from us.

Tourism does not fit geopolitical boundaries so to us by melding our unique offerings with different options elsewhere makes sense. This is being done to draw in tourists who would extend their stays, travel around a broader geographic region and take in various permutations of attractions and experiences at the same time.

Oh, and by the way, the drive from the Eastern Cape highlands to our district is exceptionally beautiful and a spectacular reminder as to how vista and variety filled our lovely country in fact is. Such delights are on our doorstep and worthy of exploration and recommendation. It’s the journey that counts as well.

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