Zip-lining, mountain biking, cave explorations, bouldering, fresh seafood, hand-picked rooibos, wild-flowers, tracts of unspoilt coastline, and “veldskoene” made in a tiny town tucked into the vast Cederberg Mountains are just a few of the many things that are to be showcased to visitors with the launch of the new 7 Stops On the N7 Route and the West Coast Way Wild Route.
The 7 Stops On The N7 route has been launched by the Kardoesie Countrystop and is a self-drive route which includes the towns of Piketberg, Citrusdal, Clanwilliam, Wupperthal, Van Rhynsdorp, Nieuwoudtville and Garies.
The West Coast Way Wild Route, which was launched in early December, and will also be showcased in April 2017 at the prestigious World Travel Market trade event, has been developed by West Coast Way and is the latest exciting route to be added to the other West Coast Way offerings, which include the Culture Route, the Tractor Route, the Berg Route and the Foodie Route.
The Wild Route, which is the ultimate “off the beaten track” experience, offers two passage options – the Sustainable Sea Food Track, which travels along the coast and includes Elands Bay, Lambert’s Bay and Doringbaai; and the People Rocking Nature Track, which covers the inland towns along the N7, starting at Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort and Citrusdal.
According to Kardoesie founders Hanri and Anette Theron, it was their long time dream to launch the 7 Stops on the N7 Route to promote the areas immediately surrounding their thriving farm stall and restaurant which is situated at the top of the Piekenierskloof Pass near Citrusdal.
Shadow Minster of Tourism, James Vos, who is actively involved in the development of new tourism routes as a means to stimulate domestic tourism growth, says that he welcomes the introduction of these routes.
He added that they will lead to the development of local enterprises, contribute to much needed employment and income opportunities, and ultimately promote economic growth within these rural regions.
“Tourism has the ability to create jobs at all skill levels and generate much needed revenue. Against a backdrop of prolonged strikes in other key sectors and economic downturns, this is the only major industry bucking the trend.”
“It is important for the public and private sectors to work together in order to successfully promote tourism from a grass roots level,” advises Vos, who goes on to explain that West Coast Way is a private initiative which was established in 2014. “West Coast Way has proven to be extremely effective in not only showcasing attractions, activities and accommodation offerings as a unified and exciting tourism experience, but also in bringing more people to an area to experience these offerings. An achievement which has been verified through the company’s recent award in the Best Emerging Tourism Business category of the 2017 PERA (Premiers Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards) by Western Cape Government.”
Carmen Lerm, founder of West Coast Way, explains that these two new routes, like the other West Coast Way routes already established, have been developed to encourage people to stop and linger in the area and enhance their life experiences by taking the road less travelled – rather than just sticking to the main highway and driving right past. It is about new and unexpected experiences, fresh perspectives, discovery and stories to take home.”
“Whilst overseas visitors are always welcomed and important, we are also very much about encouraging South Africans to get out there and explore their own country – attractions and activities that are right on their doorstep might remain unknown otherwise. According to figures from Stats SA local tourists contribute in the region of 57% of total tourism spend in SA, and so it is imperative that we introduce these visitors to the lesser known areas that our West Coast Way routes focus on so that this spend can directly benefit these rural communities too.”
“South Africa is a kaleidoscope of culture where at every corner there is a new and intriguing tourism offering – particularly in the more remote parts of the country. I believe that the new 7 Stops on the N7 Route and the West Coast Way Wild Route, like the other West Coast Way routes before it, will bring together a variety of activities and attractions under a unified theme and as a result stimulate entrepreneurial opportunity through the development of additional products and services,” concludes Shadow Minister Vos.
Other West Coast Way routes on offer
The new West Coast Way Wild Route is the latest addition to the “basket” of routes on offer that have been developed by West Coast Way. Other routes include the West Coast Way Tractor Route, the West Coast Way Berg Route, the West Coast Way Foodie Route as well as the West Coast Way Cultural Route – all of which are designed to showcase the many attractions and activities that are already on offer on the Cape West Coast and inland areas – but may be unknown to many.
“The Wild Route, and indeed all of the West Coast Way routes, are very much centred around eco-tourism and sustainability – whilst also serving to raise awareness of the true dimensions of tourism in a region which is often undervalued in the greater international tourism industry,” says Lerm. “The United Nation has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism and West Coast Way remains dedicated to responsible tourism in all of our endeavours.”
“West Coast Way is a unique collection of themed routes that can be enjoyed by locals and visitors when they do an adventure-filled self-drive trip – the ultimate West Coast Way road tripping guide. Tour operators can use these routes as part of their itinerary and easily find what they need to put bespoke and new packages together,” concludes Lerm.
For more information on West Coast Way, the other routes on offer, and the list of 101 Things to Do on the West Coast visit www.westcoastway.co.za or call West Coast Way on 0861 321 777. Connect with West Coast Way on Facebook and Twitter at WestCoastWaySA.
CONTACT CATHERINE PATE
082 922 1737