The Garden Route’s impressive status as one of the principal South African festival regions receives another boost with the inaugural 2012 Eden Walking Festival to be staged over 5 days from March 31 to 4 April. Organized by Plettenberg Bay resident Galeo Saintz, this event breaks new ground as South Africa’s first dedicated walking festival. The festival, under the auspices of the Saintz Foundation, promotes the theme of ‘Great Walks in Good Company’ – in essence celebrating the outdoors, camaraderie and life itself.
Festival participants are required to register and a fee of R50 is payable, with some walks incurring additional fees such as Sanparks entrance fees, etc. 20% of all registration fees are earmarked for environmental charities and initiatives. Over 50 walks are scheduled during the 5 days of the Festival, spanning the Southern Cape coastal belt and adjacent interior from George to Storms River. Resident locals will impart their knowledge to walkers as both guides and team leaders.
The scheduled walks take in some of the most spectacular and scenic terrain the Garden Route has to offer. Walkers of all age groups, capabilities, fitness and experience levels are catered for. Walks vary in duration and difficulty from short (45-60 minute), leisurely beach and forest strolls to extremely challenging full day/overnight hikes and climbs in the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains as well as coastal beach trails. A variety of push chair friendly walks cater for families whilst canine lovers will appreciate the dog friendly trails on offer (dogs on leashes naturally!). Serious hikers/climbers will no doubt elect to tackle the more strenuous and challenging mountain peak, kloofing or beach walks including George and Formosa Peaks, Groot Kosyn Kloof, Jubilee Creek and the very tough Nature’s Valley to Robberg Rocks Beach trail. For those with a more vertical bent why not try abseiling off Robberg! For the more creative and artistic walker various exciting options are available, including geo-caching, night, heritage, fancy dress, high tea, art and even nudist trails!
Trail leaders will share their local knowledge with walkers, including those interesting aspects of trail botany, zoology, heritage, geography, geology and history. Apart from sturdy walking shoes, sunscreen, hat, food, water, binoculars and rain gear, walkers are encouraged to pack their swimwear – a number of trails offer excellent ocean and river swimming spots.
Festival organizer, Galeo Saintz, has put the whole event together under the auspices of his Saintz Foundation with the noble aims in mind of getting people to bond in their appreciation of our wonderful natural surroundings, as well as raising awareness of our environment and generating funds for worthy charitable and environmental initiatives.
Visitors to Bamboo, the Guest House Knysna over the festival period should not miss the opportunity of taking part in the rather special 2012 Eden Garden Festival.