South Africa’s first walking festival is building on its inaugural success and getting ready to put its boots on for a second year. The HI-TEC Garden Route Walking Festival takes place over the Easter Weekend with an offering of over 52 different walks to choose from between Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Plett and Nature’s Valley.
The festival is an exciting option for visitors and locals to get off the beaten track with easy walks or adventurous hikes on the Garden Route.
Arguably one of the world’s great walking destinations, the Garden Route is the ideal place to host South Africa’s only walking festival, with its beautiful mountains, secret forests, cascading waterfalls, coastal cliffs, incredible beaches and world famous trails.
“Walking festivals are an ideal way to discover new places and meet new people who share a passion for the outdoors, and our festival is unique, as it involves the support and involvement of all the local communities, from volunteer walk leaders to professional guides. HI-TEC, a brand which has become synonymous with hiking in South Africa, are committed to the event, which enables us to offer a wide range of walks for free and catering to all levels of fitness and adventure,” says festival founder Galeo Saintz.
Walks for everyone
And there really are walks for everyone, from slow saunters along the beach at the end of the day, to brisk walks up some of the regions highest peaks, such as George Peak and Peak Formosa in Tsitsikamma. Some of the traditional walks include the Brown-Hooded Kingfisher Trail or Circles in the Forest Elephant Walk, and for the more intrepid, there is the Nature’s Valley to Plett Walk.
A collection of festive walks such as the Fancy Dress Masked Walk at sundown, or the Inner Magic Walk for kids, promise great fun with friends and family. A highlight for the kids is the Coastal Pirate Walk and Treasure Hunt on Easter.
The extensive programme also includes many unusual walks, such as the Walk with Poetry and the Yoga Walk. For those with an adventurous spirit, the Naked in Nature Walk is on offer again, and is a chance to experience nature au naturel. Adding to the selection is the Moonlight Meander, a favourite amongst festival goers, as is the Game Walk, which includes viewing giraffe, bushbuck and bontebok.
A Wild Card is your ticket to hike year round. Put on your trainers and head to Tsitsikamma with a copy of the autumn issue of Wild magazine (due out in March 2017). Read all about our favourite Nature’s Valley and Storm’s River trails.
The walks are all led by local walk leaders who are regular walkers in the region and know the local secret spots be it for swimming or insights into the area’s rich history.
The festival benefits local Garden Route environmental charities and conservation initiatives by highlighting their work and facilitating donations by walkers to their causes.
Save the date
14-17 April 2017
Registration for the festival is FREE, many walks are free, but those which require permits or a professional guide have a cost associated. See the full walking programme for details.