Wow, just want to share what a great day we had yesterday. Since we moved to Knysna in 1999 tourism in all its facets has been our life. Promoting the different guesthouses we owned and telling people about what there is to see and do in Knysna became a natural thing to do. When I became a qualified tour guide it evolved into promoting the Garden Route as well as the whole stretch from Cape Town to the game reserves in the Eastern Cape. That is the area I would cover. It was great fun showing people around and experiencing the beauty of the region over and over again through the eyes of our visitors.
Having been on the Board of Knysna & Partners (the official tourism marketing organization for the greater Knysna area) added a more strategic thinking about promoting the area. It became even more clear that promoting the Knysna area would always be part of promoting the region, including towns like Plettenberg Bay, Oudtshoorn, George and Mosselbay. Working together with other tourism offices in the region, with local as well as national government bodies and at the same time with local, national and international operators has become second nature.
So when I got invited to join the twitter chat on #WalkKnysna and #WalkSedgefieldZA as part of #TourismMonth as well as the #WeDoTourism campaigns, I was there! Within like the first 15min of the planned 1-hour chat the hashtags started trending! Now if you know anything about twitter, you can imagine the excitement around the table. And because of this success, the tourism office was invited to be a guest at the next #Hashtag Radio broadcast, live from their studio in Cape Town. A road trip to Cape Town! Now that’s always fun! Especially if you think about that in the end we ended up as three girls going, just for the day, up and down to Cape Town…
One of the questions was going to be what is so special about the Garden Route, and what we particularly like about the area. And there is so much one can boast about: the ocean, the lagoons, the forest, the elusive elephants, the lifestyle, the wine and the food, the markets, the adventure activities, the mountain biking, the golf. And so it goes on and on!
As we got to Cape Town it hit us, why we loved living and working on the Garden Route so much: we do not know what traffic is! We do not stand in traffic jams to get to work, we do not hoot at our fellow drivers out of frustration but rather to say hello, and we do not need the gps to tell us where to turn to find the radio studio. And as we got out of the car, we almost got blown over. By the Cape Doctor, as the Capetonians affectionately call their howling wind. Which was still there two hours later as we left the studio to go for lunch.
So, you know what?! Cape Town is great for the vibe, for a day out, for an evening’s theater or entertainment. But for now, I’ll happily stay on the Garden Route, I’ll happily #WalkKnysna!
Van Baarle, The Netherlands
Mandy & Thomas, South Africa