Whales, Whisky and all that Jazz
From 22 - 25 Sept, Plettenberg Bay will be hosting the inaugaral Whales, Whisky and Jazz festival. The events schedule is being finalised right now, and will soon be published on Plett Tourism web site. A number of jazz bands have been lined up, and visitors will also be able to book for dinner whisky tastings.
Sunday 24 September is Heritage Day, therefore Monday 25 September will be a public holiday. School holidays also fall over this time.
The popular Barefoot Festival which used to occur over this time has been moved to Easter, when the weather is slightly more conducive to being barefoot and outside.
The Great Baviaanskloof Adventure
At 180,000 hectares, The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve is the third largest conservation area in South Africa and a World Heritage Site It is an easy 3 hour drive from Plett, and the incredibly scenic route takes you through rural farming communities and towns with names like Willowmore and Patensie. This is citrus country, and the fertile valleys are jam packed, if you will excuse the expression, with orange orchards.
As the name suggests, baboons are plentiful. However the reserve is well known for it's many well-preserved bushman paintings, birdlife and rock formations. It is the playground of the 4 X 4 enthusiast, and you will need to test your vehicle's capabilities as the road deteriorates. It's also mountain biking heaven. You may want to consider (like we did) getting a lift to the top of the hills, and doing the descents on bikes. Great fun!
The Baviaanskloof offers the visitor a different impression of the Eastern Cape, other than the narrow coastal belt that most visitors normally see.
Plett's party bus
Enrico Lacopini, owner of the excellent Enrico's restaurant in Keurboomstrand, has recently purchased a 1950 London Transport bus, red......of course. The bus pushed and shoved it's way through the streets of London for 14 years before being sold to East London, where it was also used in the public transport system until 1978, after which it was on display in a transport museum in Kwazulu Natal.
Enrico plans to use the vehicle for tourist purposes, and presently the bus is being fitted with a bar and sound system. One can only imagine that the next chapter in the old girl's history may be a tad more exciting than the previous.
It never rains but it pours
Lookout beach is littered with trees and debri brought down by the Bitou and Keurbooms rivers after the recent heavy storms that occured earlier this month. To the naked eye, it looks like the river mouth has also moved significantly closer to Lookout rocks, making the beach even smaller.
Although no deaths were reported in Plett, the NSRI were called upon to rescue people stranded on a truck in the Bitou river.
Some homes also experienced ground collapses that saw gardens slowly sliding down hillsides. The goods news is that our dams are full, although to my knowledge water restrictions are still in operation.
Knysna N2 bypass
Recent severe rains and flooding in Knysna have once again placed the spotlight on the proposed N2 bypass around Knysna, as the existing aged road had to be closed for several hours during the worst of the storms. It was decided at a recent meeting of senior provincial authorities in Knysna, that the bypass must proceed with urgency, as it is critical to the economic well-being of the Southern Cape. Funding, as usual, appears to be a stumbling block, as a toll road alone will not be sufficient to pay for the new road.
PPP for Plett
If approved by national treasury, the public-private partnership between the Bitou Municipality and the successful bidder to upgrade and improve Plett's airport will be a first for aviation in South Africa. Both provincial and national treasury, as well as the Development Bank of South Africa have been asked to assist with choosing the private partner from 18 bids that have been received. An upgrade of the airport to receive scheduled flights will mean a big boost for the local economy.
Main Street upgrade
Work has finally started on the upgrade to Main street, although heavy rains have meant delays from the start. The plan is to have phase one complete before the December rush is upon us. Let's hope that this happens, otherwise we're going to have some very unhappy Main Street shop owners on our hands, who are understandably already grumbling about the effect on thier business.
Until next time
The Accommodation Bureau Team