Get away to these universally accessible hotspots in the Garden Route
It’s Tourism Month in South Africa and the travel industry is ready to strut their stuff after a crippling year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Spearheaded by the National Department of Tourism, this month-long travel carnival will add much needed muscle to the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan aimed to support and rejuvenate this important economic driver.
A big headliner during Tourism Month is the importance of domestic tourism. This sector is a huge contributor in creating employment through inclusive economic growth, as well as a competent and dynamic workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
With this in mind, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) Western Cape has identified four themes to celebrate Tourism Month this year. During Week 1, the topic of universal accessibility will be explored, Week 2 is all about affordability, Week 3 revolves around responsibility and Week 4 covers transformation. Each week provincial attractions and activities applicable to these respective themes will be highlighted.
Starting off Week 1, “universal access” can be defined as products, environments, programmes and services that can be used by all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialised design. It means the removal of cultural, physical, social and other barriers that prevent people with disabilities from entering, using or benefiting from the various systems of society that are available to other citizens (abbreviated extract from UN Convention Article 2).
The Garden Route is known for its smorgasbord of getaways and activities rendering access to all. Whether it’s nature, history, adventure or culture they are after, everyone from all spheres of life is covered. Here is a roundup of a few of these gems that offer universal access:
For those into nature, there is no better escape than the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park. It’s a place of unlimited beauty and explorers can spend many dreamy hours in, on or next to rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, forests and mountains. The cherished Wilderness section rests comfortably between George and Knysna.
Dive into history with a visit to the Transnet Transport Museum in George. This simply captivating collection of trains, ox-wagons, old-fashioned fire engines and a funeral hearse will keep visitors spellbound. There is an assortment of beautifully kept, privately-owned vintage cars, with the stately Royal White Train used during the British Royal Tour of 1947 as its crowning glory.
A visit to the Redberry Farm on the outskirts of George is a family outing like few other. Take a leisurely stroll through strawberry fields, picking out your own little red delights, or sip a cup of coffee while watching the kids enjoy themselves in the play area with its many intriguing fixtures. There are several eateries on the premises where guests can delight in the likes of artisan ice cream and pizzas, with even a wine tasting of superb local wines thrown into the mix.
Come marvel in the brilliant showcase of locally indigenous flora at the Garden Route Botanical Gardens. It’s a popular place to absorb the healing peace and harmony of Mother Nature. Tuck into a light lunch at their restaurant while taking in the views over the mighty Outeniqua Mountains.
Talking about the Outeniqua Mountains, why not get up close and personal with a trip up there in the popular Outeniqua Power Van? This former rail inspection trolley trails through breath-taking scenery, dotted by ferns, waterfalls and the occasional bush buck. Sit back and listen to the interesting commentary on the indigenous fauna and flora before dismounting for a picnic and panoramic views over George.
The world is opening up again and George, Wilderness and Uniondale welcome travellers. Everyone knows the reviving power of a quick getaway – those special memories created with loved ones and the stimulation offered by visiting new places, meeting new people and trying out new things.
So don’t wait – escape the mundane life and go explore. All tourist activities and attractions in the area are COVID-19 safety compliant. For more information on what this exciting traveller’s paradise has to offer, visit the George, Wilderness and Uniondale Tourism website at www.visitgeorge.co.za.