MANY perceive Gamalakhe as a fairly congested urban area without much to offer the tourist, but after field analysis last week, our team has uncovered a number of sites that in future could well be an integral part of our tourism marketing mix.
We found religious sites, an outdoor entertainment area, green belt areas with natural parkland that could be used for eco- trails.
Plans are afoot to develop a cultural centre based on the original clans that lived in the area which could be a great introduction to the township which has a story to tell. At “Tin Town” for example locals have been offering time travel experiences which is an exemplar of Gamalakhe’s heritage.
Up on the high escarpment there are superb view sites over the Uvongo River Valley and the Esayidi TVET College with its own tourism and hospitality school is an ideal launch pad for future reception and hosting of groups. Did you know they have 162 beds for overnight accommodation?
Down in the valley lies a unique and very creative entertainment centre with all sorts of quirky outdoor art and colourful structures much akin to what one finds at the popular Nieu- Bethesda in the Karoo- this I believe will develop into a unique must see attraction on the South Coast.
With the Ugu Sport and Leisure Centre at its entry and the Gamalakhe Stadium opportunity for events and sports competition also arises.
The town has its fair share of homestays, taverns and commemorative sites and all this coupled with the warm vibrancy of its people establishes a basis on which to develop tourism and leisure in the area.
When we started our surveys, I was concerned that there may be little to write home about, however after a full morning plotting the spots, taking photos, talking to people with much local knowledge and finding some real gems, there is in fact a case for more tourism activity there.
Oh and we found a little golf course up on the plateau - but that is a great story for another day.
The more we investigate our hinterland, the more it reveals. It’s just a matter of keeping one’s eyes open and taking to the open roads.