Category: Tourism

Garden Route students graduate after completing Cater Care Training Programme

Friday, 31 January 2020, marked another prestigious highlight for representatives of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and the Francois Ferreira School of Culinary Art, when they witnessed the graduation of seventeen (17) Cater Care students from the Garden Route, in the presence of their parents. The ceremony took place at the Francois Ferreira Academy, which is located at the Mount View Resort in George.

Councillors and Management of Garden Route District Municipality and Mr Francois Ferreira, Head of the Francois Ferreira Academy of Culinary Arts, with the Cater Care students who graduated on Friday, 31 January 2020 in George.

The purpose of this collaborative programme between GRDM and the Francois Ferreira Academy is to address the high rate of unemployment within the Garden Route district through the Cater Care Training programme.  The course commenced on 4 September 2019 and concluded on 29 November 2019. During this period, the programme required all students to attend classes from Mondays to Thursdays from 8:30 to 15:00. It was expected from each student to attend class in uniform supplied to them while in training at a wing of the academy which is based in Oubaai, George.

“Take your eagle wings and fly”

Executive Deputy Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, during her keynote address at the event.

During her keynote address at the event, Executive Deputy Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, said: “A total of R350 000 was funded by the GRDM to train previously disadvantaged individuals in the Cater Care Programme with the intent to equip people to access jobs in the local Hospitality industry and Tourism sector”. She furthermore shared a motivational message with students and referred to the story of the eagle that was raised by a chicken and explained: “The chicken found a lost egg not knowing where it came from and then brooded the egg to become like a chicken”.  With these words Cllr Ruiters encouraged all students: “Take your eagle wings and fly – do not become a chicken”.

At the event, it became evident, that this journey was not only for students to be awarded with another certificate, but it served as proof of their overall passion and enthusiasm for the industry. This became known when two former students, Jackson Lencoe and David Griffins, shared their personal stories with the audience. Lencoe encouraged the students with the words: “If you want something, you have to be relentless and creative.” He furthermore shared words of appreciation to the Academy and GRDM who helped him discover the chef in him.  David Griffins furthermore said:  “I appreciate the opportunity provided to me” and shared these words with the students: “When I entered the academy, I knew nothing about being a chef, but with positive attitude and determination, everything else will follow; I learned, practised and never gave up,” he concluded.

Head of the Francois Fereirra Academy, Mr Francois Ferreira, focused predominantly on work ethics when entering the workplace, during his speech.

Adding to the words of Cllr Ruiters and the former students, the Head of the Academy, Mr Francois Ferreira, applauded all members of the team for their sheer commitment and congratulated them with the following words: “All of you worked very well throughout the course. We could see it in your theory and practical marks, with the lowest class percentage of 67% and the highest at 91%. Very well done”, he cheered. Mr Ferreira also sensitised all students and said that now becomes the harder part of finding permanent employment. To all who are not employed, he said: “Search for opportunities who fits your skills set and to students who are already employed, he said: “Look after your jobs as it is so skaars soos hoendertande”. He concluded: “You must have the right attitude and the right work ethic. Work hard at creating your career with the opportunity provided to you by Garden Route District Municipality”.

The ceremony concluded when Mr Ferreira extended a word of gratitude to the representatives of GRDM when he said:  “Thank you for taking hands with us to improve the lives of our youth in the Garden Route”.

Students overfilled with joy after completing 3-month Cater Care Course

“The day you were born you were given many gifts. One such gift is the gift of ‘free will’. What you do with opportunities presented to you, like for instance, being offered the opportunity to study here – depends on you. It is, therefore, without a doubt, a fact that the sky is the limit,” said Councillor Liza Stroebel.  In her concluding remarks, she emphasised the importance of decisions of students and that they need to take every opportunity presented to them, “or someone else will”.  Councillor Stroebel shared these wise words during the Cater Care Certificate handover ceremony which took place on 12 July 2019 in George.

The group of GRDM Councillors who witnessed the certificate handovers (seated, fltr): Rowan Spies (Portfolio Chairperson, Roads and Transport Planning Services), Jennifer Harnick, Joslyn Johnson (Portfolio Chairperson: Property Management & Development), Liza Stroebel, Khayalethu Lose (Portfolio Chairperson: Community Services), Erica Meyer (Portfolio Chairperson: Strategic Services) and Daniel Saayman. At the back (fltr), are: Cheri-Lynn Speelman (FFA, Senior Lecturer), Elizabeth Theron (FFA, Academic Manager), Denver Johnson (GR&KK Tourism Officer), Patricia Khumalo, Johannes Jafta (Economic Development Officer), Jessica Kalse, Jackson Lencoe, Sandiswa Booysen, Kyle Titus, David Griffith, Ronaldo Booysen, Markus Pretorius, Asanele Magama, Jabes Honne, Pheliswa Salman, Melanie Wilson (Manager: Tourism and Local Economic Development), Sindile Malobola, Denise Lindley (FFA Vice-Principal), Amagene Koeberg (GR&KK Tourism Coordinator), Asanele Magama, Natalie Raubenheimer (GR&KK Senior Local Development Officer) and Francois Ferreira (FFA Principal).

It was a chest-cramming task to single out 15 learners from a list of 37 hopeful applicants who applied for a three-month course Cater Care Course that started on 4 March and ended on 31 May 2019. Garden Route District Municipality fully funded the course of R300 000.00. Francois Ferreira Academy equipped the humble youth from the Garden Route with various hospitality and culinary skills.

Councillor Liza Stroebel delivering a keynote address to students where she highlighted that everyone is in control of their own destiny and that one should grab every opportunity in life that presents itself.

Selection Criteria for Cater Care Course

GRDM was responsible for the coordination and the mobilising of trainees through a formal recruitment and selection process. This has been the case for nearly 10 years.
Students are carefully selected by making use of the following criteria:
• Between the ages of 18 and 35;
• Be unemployed;
• Completed Grade 12;
• Showcase eagerness to make the hospitality industry a career; and
• Live in the Garden Route District.

Francois Ferreira’s Cater Care Course is underpinned by not only basic food preparation, but also life skills. These skills include, but are not limited to:

  • personal money management;
  • entrepreneurship,
  • conflict handling,
  • personal hygiene,
  • applying for a job,
  • teamwork; and
  • writing a curriculum vitae.

Additionally, the training course is the “first step” for aspiring chefs to a sustainable career in the hospitality and culinary industry.

Additional opportunities arranged for 30 learners

FFA subsequently applied and secured additional funding from a Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority Discretionary Grant and for an “Assistant Chef Skills” programme. A total of 30 learners will benefit from this training, which will include the 15 learners who completed their Level 1 Skills in Basic Food Preparation and Basic Service Skills. Students have already started with the “Assistant Chef” course and will continue until the end of August 2019.

During his opening remarks at the Certificate Ceremony which was held on 12 July 2019, Chef Francois Ferreira, Francois Ferreira Academy Principal, said: “It was a joy to teach a group with such enthusiasm and willingness to absorb information.” He also commended students for their “collective positive attitude as a team” which set them apart from previous groups. “You set the bar for future cater care students – each and every one of you have excelled.”

Francois Ferreira Academy Principal during the Certificate Ceremony boasting about the students’ teamwork and dedication to the programme.

Editor’s note:
Youth development is an essential component of GRDM’s efforts to grow the economy. A consequence of saddening statistics that indicate that the Garden Route District has the highest levels of youth unemployment amongst districts within the Western Cape. Youth are under-represented among the employed segment of Garden Routers.

The Municipal Structures Act 117 of 2000, Section 84(1)(m) reads: “Division of functions and powers between the district and local municipalities:
(1) A district municipality has the following functions and powers:
(m) Promotion of local tourism for the area of the district municipality”. 

Garden Route & Klein Karoo attends Indaba 2019

The annual Africa’s Travel Indaba took place from 2 – 4 May 2019 at the Durban Exhibition Centre in Kwazulu Natal.  This year, the Garden Route and Klein Karoo Regional Tourism Office attended the three-day tourism Indaba at the Cape Town and Western Cape stand, together with the regional tourism offices in the Western Cape. The highlight for the region was that WESGRO in conjunction with South African Tourism facilitated a Post Indaba Tour to the Garden Route and Klein Karoo, which took place from Sunday, 5 May 2019.

Five (5) international tour operators/hosted buyers, mainly from the United States of America, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Germany arrived in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo region on Sunday for a three-day educational of the region. The tour and itinerary was coordinated through the regional tourism offices in collaboration with the local tourism offices in the region. The aim of the Post Indaba Tour is to give buyers a taste of the GRKK, to showcase what the region has to offer as a tourist destination, in order for the buyers to promote the region to potential visitors from abroad and also to include the region in their tour packages.

Just like the previous years, the 2019 Indaba re-affirmed itself as one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and as one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global tourism market.

GR&KK Tourism and ACSA hosting an Easter Welcoming Campaign

Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) George, in collaboration with Garden Route & Klein Karoo Tourism (GR&KK) section of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) are hosting an Easter Welcoming Campaign at the George Airport on 17 & 18 April 2019. The campaign aims to create awareness about the Garden Route and Klein Karoo and its tourism offerings, which are mostly accessed by tourists whose first point of entry is the George Airport.

Visitors to the region are given goodie bags filled with promotional marketing materials, while  ACSA concurrently runs an Easter Egg Give-Away to kids and they are also giving them the opportunity to partake in a colouring competition. Great prizes are up for grabs.

Algoa FM and Eden FM are also broadcasting from George Airport at the moment.

GRDM’s GR&KK section and ACSA George would like to thank the following organisations for sponsoring tourism products:

Cango Caves Estate: Coffee Roastery, Cango Caves Zipline, Kobus se Gat and the Cango Wildlife Ranch.


Garden Route and Klein Karoo Regional Tourism office is currently exhibiting at the World Travel Market Africa

Garden Route and Klein Karoo Regional Tourism Office is currently exhibiting at the World Travel Market Africa show in Cape Town. The Regional Tourism Office is exhibiting on stands P24 and Q23, together with the Local Tourism Offices: Plett Tourism, George Tourism, Oudtshoorn Tourism, Hessequa Tourism and Calitzdorp Tourism.

The following products are also exhibiting on the stands, namely: De Rusta Estates, Redberry Farm, Oubaai Hotel Golf and Spa, Destination Garden Route, Gourikwa Reserve, the Knysna River Club, Hog Hollow Trails and the Ocean Sailing Charters.

Visitors applaud Garden Route DM resorts after their 2018/2019 holiday stay

Employees of the Garden Route District Municipality (Garden Route DM) resorts were warmly commended by guests who visited one of the four resorts of Garden Route DM during the 2018/2019 summer holiday.  These resorts include: Swartvlei Resort, Victoria Bay Caravan Park, De Hoek Mountain Resort and Calitzdorp Spa.

Calitzdorp Spa

The Victoria Bay Caravan Park was fully booked from 15 December to 04 January, the Swartvlei Resort from 15 December to 2 January, De Hoek Mountain Resort was full from 24 December to 02 January and the Calitzdorp Spa was 65% booked from 24 December to 2 January.  This period is regarded as the most critical period of the peak season.

Swartvlei Caravan Park

“This year, visitors left from as early as 2 January, due to the early start of the schools,” Willie Fourie, Manager of Resorts at the Garden Route DM said.  “With regard to the use of alcohol, visitors were prohibited from using alcohol at the pool areas to ensure the safety of all,” Fourie added.

De Hoek Mountain Resort

Most guests described their stay as an “absolutely amazing experience” and the facilities and overall area as “neat, safe and as an area well-managed”.  Apart from the experience of the stay, the staff members at all resorts were commended for their friendliness and helpfulness. One of the visitors said:  “We felt safe all the time and really appreciated how well managed the entire area was”.

Victoria Bay Caravan Park

These four resorts are known for their diverse characteristics, practical and convenient locations and are liked by many for the quality of service they offer during a visitor’s stay.

Council and Management would like to extend a word of appreciation to all Resort staff for their continuous commitment and dedication to ensure that all visitors of the Garden Route DM resorts are well looked after.  Visitors to these resorts will always regard their stay as an experience which they will always remember.

A selection of reviews received from the visitors:

  • “Rarely do we appreciate the good that various government organisations are doing and I think that your establishment is definitely worth mentioning.”
  • “You called from your cell number and assisted us in such a wonderful and friendly manner, even though it was passed midnight.”
  • “Thank you for coming to check up on us on the Saturday as well, your efficiency and professionalism is truly the very reason the space is so well managed and kept so beautifully.”
  • “The facilities and location was really well maintained, the toilets were always clean and the grounds beautifully maintained.”
  • “Service staff were very friendly and helpful and always smiling and willing to help; even the law enforcement.  We felt safe all the time and really appreciated how well managed the entire area is.” 
  • “We aren’t regular campers and this has made the experience and the concept of camping really amazing and we thank you and all the various team members, it has really been one of many trips to a place that is so amazing.”
  • “Ons was baie goed ontvang en verwelkom deur kampeerders.”
  • “Hoop dit gaan die begin wees van vele vir ons…baie dankie.”
  • “Dankie vir ‘n netjiese en vredevolle kampterein :)”
  • “Thank you for an amazing five day stay. What a super friendly place… It has been a long time since we stayed in a caravan park and I loved it.”
  • “Ons het weer heerlik gekuier.”
  • “Again to you and your municipality well done!”

2018 Lights Festival – Mascots Galore for Children

The 2018 Lights Festival will have a jam packed programme running for children with appearances by four of George’s favourite mascots.  Georgie from GO GEORGE says he is the most famous selfie personality in George and is always ready to brighten up your photo with his friendly smile! He loves to tell children all about the marvelous GO GEORGE bus service. Smartie is the new kid on the block and Georgie’s best friend forever. He says he is not such a selfie celebrity yet, but he is  really a bit smarter than Georgie, so it’s okay. Smartie says his  job is to help people understand how to work the new Smart Card. Daantjie Kat loves road safety and he has been teaching children how to use road and where it is safe to play for over 15 years in George.  And the very newest super hero in George will be there as well – Rocky the Recycling Rooster  is a recycling hero and he teaches children all about how cool it is to recycle  their rubbish!

Come and meet your favourite characters from 2pm – 5pm in the cordoned area next to the George Tourism office. Entrance is from York Street. Fun galore for every ages with jumping castles, face painting and other exciting activities. Parents must accompany under age children and Community Development officials identified by orange bibs with name tags will be present to assist on the day.

The youth programme will start on the main stage from 2pm with the Classic Programme starting at 5pm. The switching on of the Festive Season Lights will take place at 8pm followed by a performance by  Emo Adams.

York Street between Hibernia / Langehoven and Courtenay Streets as well as a portion of Cathedral Street will be closed from 12pm in order to ensure the safety of all. Directional signage will be in place. A number of stalls will be available throughout the day from 2pm selling food and other items.

Chantel Edwards-Klose

George Municipality    Manager: Communications

Tel: 044 801 9160 /  082 350 2420


Tourists welcome in George, Wilderness and Uniondale

The George, Wilderness and Uniondale Tourism Offices confirm and assures business travellers and tourists that we are open for business.  Communities along the Garden Route have been affected by devastating wildfires, but the situation is under control and service delivery has not been affected.

Our towns are fully functional and ready to assist with tour groups and visitors to the areas.  The George Airport is operational, and all the major roads including  the N2, Montagu Pass, Outeniqua Pass and N9 from George to Uniondale are open.

For more information about things to do in the area, please contact our Tourism Offices:

George Tourism                   044 801 9295

Wilderness Tourism            044 877 0045

Uniondale Tourism              044 752 1076

For official updates about the recent wildfires in the region, visit the following page: or

Press Release issued by George Municipality

Photograph Credit: Cloudbase Paragliding.

We are still open for business – travelers encouraged to visit our region

The Garden Route and Klein Karoo Regional Tourism office hereby confirms and assures the travel trade, business interests, government and the public that we are open for business. Communities in and around Knysna, George and Hessequa area have been affected by devastating wildfires, but we confirm that the situation is under control. Humanitarian work has commenced in all the affected areas and displaced families are being well looked after.
All the towns in the region are fully functional and ready to assist with tour groups and visitors to the areas.
For more information about things to do in each town, please contact the following Local Tourism Offices:
Knysna Tourism 044 382 5510
Mossel Bay Tourism 044 619 2202
George Tourism 044 801 9295
Plettenberg Bay Tourism 044 533 4065
Ladismith Tourism 028 551 1378
Oudtshoorn Tourism 044 279 2532
Hessequa Tourism 028 713 7829
Calitzdorp Tourism 044 213 3775
To see what the Garden Route & Klein Karoo has on offer, visit:
For official communication about wildfires in the region, “like” the following page: