South Africa’s first walking festival, the Garden Route Walking Fest, taking place over the Easter Weekend in 2016, now offers 73 walks between Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Plett, Natures Valley, and Storms River.
“Walking festivals are a big trend globally, and the Garden Route Walking Fest is a first for South Africa – it’s a massive undertaking that involves the support and involvement of local communities. We have managed to coordinate a record 73 walks across the Garden Route for this year’s festival. Hi-Tec, a brand which has become synonymous with hiking in South Africa, are sponsors have enabled us to offer a wider range of walks catering to all levels of fitness and adventure, “ comments festival founder Galeo Saintz.
“The Cape Garden Routeis arguably one of the world’s great walking destinations. It is the ideal place to host South Africa’s only walking festival, with its beautiful mountains, secret forests, cascading waterfalls, coastal cliffs, incredible beaches and famous trails.”
The festival celebrates the wealth of biodiversity that the SANParks and CapeNature reserves in the region offer. “Walking is one of the best ways to appreciate and discover the incredible natural beauty that makes the Garden Route a much loved destination,” says Saintz.
The Festival provides a massive boost for tourism and regional tourism associations including Wesgro have shown tremendous support for the Fest, which is set to become an annual event in the region to highlight the year-round walks available there.
“We have also had private landowners opening up their properties for the festival, which gives the public a chance to walk in areas they would normally not have access to,” comments Saintz.
And there really are walks for everyone, from slow saunters along the beach to brisk walks up some of the regions highest peaks, such as George Peak and Peak Formosa in the Tsitsikamma region. The Traditional Walks include the Brown-Hooded Kingfisher Trail or Circles in the Forest Elephant Walk, and for the more intrepid, there is a Geo-
Caching Walk. A collection of festive walks such as the Fancy Dress Masked Walk at sundown, or the Inner Magic walk for kids, promise great fun with friends and family.
The extensive programme also includes many unusual walks, such as the Walk with Poetry and the Yoga Walk. For those with an adventurous spirit, the Naked in Nature walk offers the chance to spend time in nature au naturel.
Everyone is welcome –”The Garden Route Walking Fest festival is about building a connection between us as communities and between people and nature,” says Saintz.
The walks are all led by local Walk Leaders and professional guides. If you are a local guide or walking enthusiast and would like to add your walk to the programme or lead an existing walk, please contact us to be included.
The festival benefits local Garden Route environmental charities and conservation initiatives by highlighting their work and facilitating donations by walkers to their causes.
For more information about the Garden Route Walking Fest go to: www.walkingfest.co.za