ECTOUR's Tsitsikamma Sho't Left

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Tuesday, 2nd September 2014

ECTOUR's Tsitsikamma Sho't Left - by Lauren Roman

In an effort to familiarize the tourism industry players/stakeholders with various tourism offerings, educationals are arranged by owners of the tourism offerings, whereby tourism industry players/stakeholders are granted the opportunity to experience tourist activities, accommdation establishments, tourist services and so forth.

Educationals are great initiatives that aid tourism industry players/stakeholders in selling an experience from a personal perspective and not only by research. This makes for significant collaboration in marketing as well as destination promotion efforts of the various tourism offerings.

"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have, if only we seek them with our eyes open". - Jawaharial Nehru

Home to the worlds highest commercially operated bungy jumping bridge, the giant Outeniqua Yellowwood Tree, indigenous forests, fynbos and the sophisticated wild lily. This are is a breath of fresh air and a natural wonderland.

With the team effort of Jonker and a number of Tsitsikamma Association members, an educational was set up to explore and experience, just but a few of what Tsitsikamma has to offer.

The morning of the 29th of August, Jonker and I set off on a "mini roadtrip". Bright and early we hit the road from Port Elizabeth to Tsitsikamma. Had a coffee stop and took a few pictures at Stormsriver filing station and off we headed for our first activity, the Woodcutters journey. On arrival at Stormsriver Adventures, the owner, Ashleigh Wentworth braced the group with a brief presentation about the business and what the tourism offering has been trying to achieve in giving back to the community. The group was then handed over to the tour guide, who geared us up for the majestic forest tour. In the comfort of an all terrain vehicle, we headed into the forest, where we were taught about various fauna and flora of one of the most pristine and sensitive areas in the world. From entering to exiting the forest, was an unforgettable and informative experience. The guides were well-informed and professional, delivering great service. Tables were laid and lunch or a snack was served, creating the perfect opportunity for the group to get to know each other by the Stormsriver side. Talk about an amazing setting. After the Woodcutters journey, the group headed back to Stormsriver Adventures, in anticipation for the next activity.

Next on the itinerary was the, "one of its kind" Canopy tour. An awesome cable-secured tree top journey. The tour guides called the group together for a safety briefing, strapped us in our harnesses and off we drove to the, never-ending forest. First attempt on the canopy tour was shaky but as the tour guides kept assisting, it all became so much fun. Gliding through the forest from tree-top to tree-top, taking in this marvellous opportunity and turning it into an unforgettable experience. We had so many laughs.....and cries. Yet, again excellent tour guides with all the patience and relevant knowledge. Back at Stormsriver Adventures the group was treated to a snack and refreshment at the restaurant while watching a dvd play back our canopy tour session. Personalized certificates were handed to each person who participated, to add a bit of a personal touch to the experience. After a deliciously filling snack, the group departed on their seperate ways. Jonker and I checked-in at Tsitsikamma Village Inn, a unique country hotel, situated in the attractive village of Storms River. The hotel consists of 49 village-style buildings, where each room is decorated to match its specific colonial building style. With a cosy pub, Hunter's Pub, where one could enjoy a drink or choose to dine in either one of, Cafe Bacchus with their al fresco menu or De Oude Martha Restaurant with their al carte menu. We freshened up and headed for dinner. What a day!!!

After breakfast the following morning, we took in the last of the beautiful Tsitsikamma Village Inn who hosted us. Off we headed to do a thrilling Segway Tour.

Not knowing what to expect and rather suspicious at first of these two-wheeled mean machines, we geared up and went for a training session. Wow, was that some training and then some. I soon got the hang of it and off we zipped like a swarm of bees. With the wind flowing through our hair and the shy morning sunlight creeping through the tall forest trees to say good morning, we ventured through the forest pathways to visit the well-known giant Outeniqua Yellowwood Tree. An amazing view and a must-visit, this majestic giant is a beautiful sight. After taking pictures and making our own little video clips with laughs galore, we zipped across the N2 through the rest of the forest and up through Stormsriver Village and into the township. Back at the Segway station, I simply could not get enough of this activity and could not get myself to remove myself from my Segway! What an incredible experience. Sadly so, we had to leave.

Back onto the N2, where we made our last detour for some addictive coffee at Oudebosch farm stall. A cosy farm stall with a homely feel to it, just left off an offramp off the N2, where one can enjoy homemade jams and preserves, vetkoek, farmstyle breakfasts and scrumptious light meals. Not to mention the coffee, it will most definitely have you coming back for more.

Sadly, the ECTOUR Sho't Left came to an end, as Jonker and I made our way back to Port Elizabeth. Thank you Tsitsikamma for the warm hospitality and unforgettable experiences. Activities and community beautifully compliment each other and the Tsitsikamma area, all too well. Can not wait to return to discover more hidden jewels Tsitsikamma has waiting to be explored....till next time Tsitsikamma you beaut!

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