GRAAFF-REINET — A group of seven - including three Dutch journalists - have recently spent a memorable week touring the Karoo in search of good food (and finding plenty to write home about!).
The tour was hosted by the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency in partnership with South African Tourism, to profile the Karoo as a leisure tourism destination.
Anneli Bronkhorst, who is the ECPTA representative based in Belgium looking after the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) market, came up with the idea of a “Foodies’ Tour”, and approached a magazine in the Netherlands about a feature on the Eastern Cape. The project grew from there, with assistance from Karoo Heartland and South African Tourism in the Netherlands.
Local tour guide and Karoo expert Chantelle Marais was then brought in to cost the tour in terms of items such as guiding, transport, and experiences, and the first tour was arranged.
“We would like to launch in the Benelux market as part of our drive to get more international tourists to the destination,” said Susan Wilson, Experiential Marketing Manager of ECPTA.
“Currently we see that a food trend is emerging, and food together with culture and adventure is more and more appealing to international tourists.”
From feedback received from the group, the tour has been a resounding success.
Dutch media visitors Bert Dijkstra from De Telegraaf, Henna Renfurm of Oog op Afrika magazine, and Renee Conradi of Foodies Magazine were joined by Adrienne Southey to photograph the food and the various experiences, and Sarina Engelbrecht, who has a blog My Karoo Life. Chantelle Marais shared her expertise and enthusiasm for the Karoo throughout the trip.
After time spent in Somerset East, Bedford and Cradock, the group spent a wonderful day exploring the delights of Nieu-bethesda, where the Owl House proved to be of great interest. Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve was a wonderful experience, and the preparation of trout and the whisky tasting at Angler & Antelope in Somerset East was also greatly enjoyed. Another highlight was the Mindful Eating food experience in Bedford with Kim van Niekerk.
A walkabout day in Graaff-reinet included the novel experience of lunch spread amongst six different venues, thanks to Blue Magnolia, GRT brewery, Coldstream Restaurant, The Muller House & The Drostdy Hotel.
They also had the opportunity to see the Valley of Desolation from two different angles,