Media Release: Municipal resorts and caravan parks are ready for the high-season
For Immediate Release 30 November 2023
Throughout the year, Mayoral Committee members oversee their respective portfolios. The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Mayoral Committee Member overseeing Properties and Asset Management, Cllr Jobieth Hoogbaard, along with the members of his portfolio, embarked on visits early this week to the GRDM municipal resorts in anticipation of the upcoming high season. These oversight visits hold significant importance as they hold the GRDM administration responsible for its management of the municipal resorts and caravan parks. This ensures that service delivery remains both effective and efficient in the lead-up to the high season.
Cllr Jobieth, following his visit said: “I visited the resorts with my fellow Councillors, Alderman Petru Terblanche (Portfolio Chairperson for Roads and Transport Planning), Cllr Hilton Stroebel and Cllr Russel Arends, as well as the acting manager for Projects, Properties, Facilities and Resort Management, Shehaam Sims.”
Hoogbaard and his delegates visited the following four municipal resorts and caravan parks: Calitzdorp Hot Springs, De Hoek Mountain Resort, Victoria Bay Caravan Park and Swartvlei Caravan Park. He commented that the resorts are clean and ready for the high influx of guests who are expected to arrive from 14 December until 15 January 2024 – high season.
A positive turnout for GRDM Coastal Resorts over the holiday season
For immediate release 31 January 2023
The resort manager of the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) two coastal resorts, Victoria Bay Caravan Park and Swartvlei Caravan Park, Ms Marelize Claassen is pleased with the turnout of campers over the past holiday season. “For both of our resorts, the holiday season was one of the busiest in a long time after a slow recovery from the impact of Covid-19 for two years,” Claassen said.
Victoria Bay- and Swartvlei Caravan Parks are two of the most beautiful and pleasantest caravan parks along the Garden Route coastline. These Caravan Parks have been under the management of GRDM for decades. At both facilities, a person can enjoy an oceanside holiday at a campsite while being just a stone’s throw away from the beach.
According to Ms Claassen, occupancy at Victoria Bay Caravan Park, which consists of three different camping sites, increased from 10% early in November to 100% in December’s high season. The numbers at Swartvlei Caravan Park during this period also increased from to approximately 80%. “We are thankful to have been full for the holidays with many long-time guests returning to spend the holidays. We also had many new guests who chose our caravan parks as their seasonal holiday destination,” said Claassen.
Marelize attributed the increase in occupancy to an intensive series of awareness campaigns and collaborative marketing efforts at all GRDM resorts over the past year. Like any busy season, there were also some unexpected challenges, of which some were beyond control that arose, but were very easily resolved.
“Both resorts have received constant compliments about our friendly and helpful staff, as well as for the cleanliness of the ablution blocks,” Claassen concluded.
Bookings for our Peak Season from December 2023 and January 2024, open from 1 February 2023 and will close on 28 February 2023.
Please complete the application form attached. Also take note that tariffs are reviewed on or before 30 June 2023 and are subject
to a slight increase. E-mail your completed application form to email@example.com
This holiday season, De Hoek Mountain Resort and Calitzdorp Hot Springs have teamed up with Open Plan Pictures and local businesses to present outdoor film screenings at municipal-owned resorts in the Klein Karoo.
Experience the magic of movie night under the stars by purchasing tickets for R80 (per adult) and R40 (per child).
On each day, they will also offer package deals that include food, and wine. Follow the links below to book your tickets and join us for a festive evening of entertainment.
Their aim is to share the magic of movie entertainment with people of all ages and cultures – bringing them together in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Whether it may be an open-air cinema & picnic, old-school drive-ins or showcasing a great film indoors at a stunning venue – they promise to take you beyond the stars!
Open Plan Pictures also offer the cinematic experience & screen for private functions on a rental basis and provide live sports streaming.
Apart from the fantastic entertainment value, Open Plan Pictures is dedicated to empowering the people we work with and providing employment to the Garden Route youth who are interested in filmmaking.
They collaborate with local charities and schools – it means so much to us to bring people together and make them smile.
Media Release: CALITZDORP NATURAL HOT SPRINGS RESORT
For Immediate Release
4 November 2022
Discover a relaxing resort with natural hot springs
Calitzdorp Hot Springs is nestled on the slopes of the Swart- and Rooiberg Mountains in the Klein Karoo – 25km from Calitzdorp and 45km from Oudtshoorn. It is an all-year-round breakaway holiday destination for families, groups, couples, solitude seekers and nature lovers who wish to temporarily escape the hustle and bustle of city life. There is also nothing more tranquil than relaxing in Calitzdorp Hot Springs nestled in the Klein-Karoo. You can relax your tense muscles and ease your stress by swimming in a hot spring pool.
Upgrades over the past two years
Several improvements have been made to the accommodation facility over the last two years. Among the most significant changes were the name change the resort underwent from Calitzdorp Spa to Calitzdorp Hot Springs in June 2022, referencing the resort’s unique selling point – it’s hot springs. The roofs of the swimming pool, mountain chalets, reception area, and main buildings were also upgraded and replaced with steel-based Harvey tiles. The service provider who installed it did a sterling job. Be sure to visit the company’s Facebook page to see how they transform many other properties around Africa: www.facebook.com/BunduDakke.Western.Cape
Over the past months the accommodation facility has gradually started to reclaim its position as an ideal breakaway retreat, reclaiming its rightful position in the magnificent Klein Karoo mountains. The four (4) campsites, pool lapas, ablution facilities, day visitor camping area, braai stands and cold swimming pools have also been upgraded.
Five (5) new secluded campsites have been introduced which provide a unique experience that is synonymous with wild camping in the Karoo.
Roman Bath also has a new face
One of the resort’s most popular amenities is its Roman Bath area, which has been completely revamped. Both the bath and the outdoor hot spring pools are heated directly from the earth, where the ‘natural hot spring’ water temperature is around 50 degrees Celsius. Many guests who have visited the resort have mentioned relief from symptoms such as sprains, high blood pressure, bruises, and rheumatic pain, because of the healing waters offered. The Roman Bath’s windows and interior, including the floor tiles, were replaced. Several pots with indoor plants and décor were added to give it a soft and relaxing atmosphere.
Activities & entertainment offered
Calitzdorp Hot Springs is a safe and secure resort, offering several new activities for overnight guests, from family fun to something for everyone. While some children enjoy playing on the jungle gyms, others can explore the green lawns playing volleyball, ride their bicycles across the vast plains or play a game of giant chess or table tennis.
Apart from the two cold-water pools and one hot spring pool for overnight guests, there is also a tennis court. The Hot Springs is also home to dozens of springboks, mountain tortoises, and tame colourful peacocks who roam undisturbed terrain. For the nature lover, there are three hiking trails on the premises, including the Springbok Hiking Trail (3.2 km), the Tortoise Trail (800 m) and the Fish Eagle Trail (1.3 km), each of which are relatively easy to walk, run or explore with a mountain bike.
It is a bird watcher’s paradise at our resort with over 72 species observed by bird watchers. Guests can enjoy early morning sights and sounds of lovely bird calls in a roofed birdwatching spot.
Activities outside the Hot Springs
The accommodation facility is surrounded by several farms that offer wine tasting, in particular, fortified wines. Locals and travellers exploring Calitzdorp, and also enjoy fruit-picking and purchasing locally produced dried fruits.
Next to Calitzdorp Hot Springs is the Gamka Mountain Nature Reserve where the Cape Mountain Zebra can be seen. The many scenic passes such as the Swartberg Pass that leads to the enchanting town of Prince Albert and the mountainous Seweweeks Poort, is probably the most picturesque 18 km stretch of gravel road anywhere in South Africa. It consists of easy gradients, multiple river crossings and stunning geology.
Hosting music festivals and movie nights
In the past year, Calitzdorp Hot Springs twice hosted the Echo Outdoor Gathering festival. On both occasions, more than 500 people from across the country attended the three-day event. Guests shared positive and encouraging reviews about the resort, and the organisers said they definitely plan to return. These events promote healthy family life, promote district resources, generate income, and increase visitor flow in the region.
We intend to add more activities to our offering and give our clients unique experiences through movie nights. This will be offered from 2023.
Future upgrades and enhancements
Passmore Dongi, the Manager: Projects, properties, facilities and resorts, said the resort will soon go green. “At Calitzdorp Hot Springs, we are going green through the introduction of renewable energy. GRDM has already implemented this successfully at one of its resorts (Dehoek Mountain Resort). As a result of the success of that project, we want to expand to our other resorts to become the leading resort in the country with climate-smart resorts that reduce carbon footprints.”
Camp Fest, hosted by the Rodiac Racing Motorshow Group to Camp at Swartvlei Caravan Park from 28 – 30 October 2022
Notice is hereby given that the Rodiac Racing motor show group will camp at Swartvlei Caravan Park, Sedgefield, from 28 to 30 October 2022. Funding raised during this event will be donated towards individual charities.
Program of event
𝗙𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝟮𝟴 𝗢𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟮
Gate open access: 13h00
Meet and Greet: 16h00
Potjiekos competition: 17h30 – 20h00
Live Music: 19h00 – 22h00
Lights out: 22h00
𝗦𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝟮𝟵 𝗢𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟮
Gate open: 09h00
Show preparation: 10h00-11h30
Main events: 12h00-17h00
Prize giving: 17h30
Live Music: 17h00 – 22h00
Lights out: 22h00
Should the public have any objections or queries regarding the matter, they are welcome to contact Ms Marelize Claassen (Manager: Swartvlei Caravan Park) at 044 889 0081 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org on or before 25 October 2022.
Media Release: Another successful Echo Outdoor Gathering event hosted at Calitzdorp Hot Springs
15 August 2022 For Immediate Release
In the heart of the Klein Karoo, nestled on the slopes of the mountains lies Calitzdorp Hot Springs where Echo Outdoor Gatherings recently hosted another successful music and arts festival from 29 – 31 July 2022. Approximately 650 festival-goers from all over South Africa attended the event.
DJs, also travelled from across the country to showcase their skills at the 3-day event, which delivered a multi-sensory and sonic experience. Additionally, the use of one of the four classical elements from ancient Greek philosophy and science, in this case fire, made it an event guests looked forward to and that created a magical experience.
From early mornings till late evenings, DJs, one after another, entertained festival-goers with high-quality techno music. There were always enthusiastic dancers on the dance floor and fire shows. Others enjoyed the food stalls that served a variety of food, art stalls, and enjoyed the outdoor sun in the pools with their children. Those who preferred more privacy gathered in their own intimate groups on the lawns or in the indoor heated Roman Bath area that was recently upgraded. A couple of nature lovers couldn’t resist the opportunity to get in a few kilometres of hiking.
With the sun setting, fires were lit which festival-goers also gathered around to warm themselves. Just after sunset, the fire dancers captivated guests with their art of rhythm and fire. Amidst the chilly evening weather, festival-goers, young and old, stayed outside until late and enjoyed the festivities.
Jade John, a boutique clothing stall holder from Cape Town, who has attended Echo Outdoor Gatherings for almost 10 years, shared his experience by saying that he has travelled all the way to experience a community of family who comes together to have fun. “The venue is amazing and we are thrilled to support the community and to contribute to the economy in this way,” he said.
One of the DJs who performed during the event, Corrie, applauded the Hot Springs and said: “From the first time we visited Calitzdorp Hot Springs in March until yesterday, we were really impressed by all the upgrades that have been made. We hope you keep up with it, because this is really an amazing venue with great potential. It would be awesome if this could be a fully equipped festival venue that can accommodate thousands of festival goers.”
According to the Echo Outdoor Gatherings Founder, Daniel Mentz, festival-goers were very excited to return to Calitzdorp Hot Springs after their prior experience. “We decided to bring our brand to two of the Garden Route District Municipality’s venues, De Hoek Mountain Resort and Calitzdorp Hot Springs with entertainers and guests from all over South Africa. Our aim is not just to have a dance party, but a family gathering, where one can also experience music, craft, food and handcrafted art, clothing and jewellery.” In conclusion he said that his guest felt extremely welcome and safe at both venues and that he has received numerous compliments on how well things are being run in order to make the event a success.
As previously reported, Echo Outdoor Gatherings wanted to thank the community of Calitzdorp for its warm welcome and decided to give back by holding a food and blanket drive for Friends of Calitzdorp Animals (FOCA). To supplement the Winter Warmer Drive, Echo Outdoor Gatherings and Feel Good Entertainment also donated 10% of the bar proceedings for the weekend to FOCA. A total of 6 000 worth of tickets were donated by Echo Gatherings and with the help of Dolly du Plessis who crocheted 30 Route 62 beanies, the festival raised R3000,00 (from festival goers), 326kg of dog food, 42kg of cat food, four (4) packets of cat sweets, eight (8) big cans of dog food, five (5) small cans of dog food, seven dog pillows, four blankets, and cat toys.
The Garden Route District Municipality is once again proud to have hosted the past Echo Outdoor Gatherings event. By hosting these events, healthy family life is promoted, district resources are marketed and promoted, income is generated, and visitor flow is increased.
Media Release: Calitzdorp Hot Springs to host a Music, Arts, and Food Gathering with a purpose
6 July 2022 For Immediate Release
Echo Outdoor Gatherings is no stranger to the regional electronic music scene and for years they have hosted events of the highest quality.
After holding their flagship event – Elements of Life – successfully at De Hoek Mountain Resort near Cango Caves for the past five years, Daniel Mentz (event organizer), branched out to Calitzdorp Hot Springs in March with another exciting festival: Valley Of Dreams. The three-day event turned out to be a huge success, which was sold out completely, with people trekking from across the country to attend. According to David, the event attracted nearly 600 festival-goers, which was also a much-needed boost for business and tourism. Festival-goers venture out into the area during an event to explore and some opt to stay for longer as they usually travel from all over the country to attend such festivals.
“Our festival-goers want to make the best of their stay and frequently talk about what they were up to when venturing out to explore the area,” said Mentz.
This July, Echo Outdoor Gatherings will return to Calitzdorp Hot Springs with an even bigger event called ‘Elements of Fire’.
From Friday, 29 July to Sunday, 31 July festival-goers can look forward to a weekend that promises to be a visual and sonic experience like no other. Food stalls will sell falafels, breakfasts, steaks, and freshly pressed juice. Vegan and vegetarian options will also be made available.
Various craft stalls will sell items like dream catchers, leather works, jewellery, clothing brands, and macrame. There will also be two fire shows every night.
Winter Warmer Drive
Echo Outdoor Gatherings wanted to say thank you to the community of Calitzdorp for their warm welcome and decided to give back. This is why they are currently running a food and blanket drive for Friends Of Calitzdorp Animals (FOCA).
FOCA was launched six years ago when the founding member helped some friends to look after stray animals. Today they feed 250 dogs, 70 cats and facilitate up to 30 sterilisations a month. FOC are also constantly building kennels and continues to educate the local residents on animal welfare.
‘The amount of neglect FOCA witnesses every day is horrifying, to say the least,” said Mentz.
To supplement the Winter Warmer Drive, Echo Outdoor Gatherings and Feel Good Entertainment will donate 10% of the bar proceedings for the weekend to FOCA.
Garden Route District Municipality is proud to host the Echo Outdoor Gatherings events as Daniel takes pride in what he does. Every event is carefully planned and those attending must adhere to strict rules.
“Family is at the core of Echo Outdoor Gatherings and will always be,” said Mentz
Media Release: Annual World Travel Market Africa attended by local and regional tourism representatives
For Immediate Release
11 April 2022
This year’s World Travel Market (WTM) Africa 2022 kicked off with virtual sessions from 4 – 5 April, and continues now, starting 11 – 13 April at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). The Garden Route and Klein Karoo (GR&KK) Regional Tourism Office (RTO), several Local Tourism Offices (LTO) and Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Resorts, and other tourism products from the region are in attendance.
According to Amagene Koeberg, GRDM Senior Tourism Coordinator, the GR&KK and its LTO partners, seek to position the region as the preferred destination to live, play, work, and invest.
Passmore Dongi, Manager: Projects, Properties, Facilities & Resort Management, who is also in attendance with the GR&KK and LTOs, highlighted the importance of the GRDM Resorts being present at trade and consumer shows. “This is the first tradeshow for the GRDM Resorts to attend and it will certainly not be the last”. A marketing and promotional platform like this presents a perfect opportunity for the Municipality to network and build valuable relations across the globe. “It ensures that the Garden Route remains top of mind,” said Dongi.
WTM Africa provides a Business-to-Business platform for international travel professionals, buyers, exhibitors, and media to showcase the continent’s diverse offerings. The Tourism Industry embraces this much-needed promotional platform.
The WTM Africa includes a wide spectrum of speakers and events like the International Business Tourism Market (ibtm) Africa, EQUAL Africa, Travel Forward, the Sports and Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) and Responsible Tourism (RT) Conference and Awards.
Media Release: Garden Route Coastal Resorts Perform Exceptionally Well Over the Festive Season
For Immediate Release 12 January 2022
The 2020 festive season was very bleak for most of South Africa and other countries. Tight lockdown restrictions, which included the beaches being closed, as well as longer curfews and a ban on the sale of alcohol, placed a damper on everyone’s holiday spirit. In 2020, people had no choice but to cancel their holiday plans. However, the recent festive season was a stark contrast compared to a year ago because restrictions were almost completely lifted. Holiday-goers flocked in their thousands to the Garden Route.
Like many other resorts, Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) coastal resorts benefited from this. Victoria Bay and Swartvlei Caravan Parks reported a bumper holiday season, which started with a visit from the Berg-en Toerklub (BTK) from Stellenbosch University in early December. The group started their journey at Swartvlei Caravan Park, stayed there for one night and then hiked to Victoria Bay Caravan Park along the coast. There they enjoyed another braai, swimming and a well-deserved night’s rest.
As for the rest of the season, Marelize Claassen, Resort Manager, reported that Victoria Bay was at full capacity since early December. According to her, bookings are now decreasing slowly.
Swartvlei bookings increased from 12 December and reached capacity between 18 December 2021 and 2 January 2022. Holidaymakers are now heading home to tackle the new year.
It was a very busy season, and it was as if people waited two years to have this holiday – Marelize Claassen
On behalf of GRDM and its coastal resorts, the Municipality would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support and looks forward to seeing return visitors throughout the year.
Media Release: “We are two weeks ahead of schedule” – upgrades at Calitzdorp Spa
For immediate release 30 June 2021
After almost a month of hard work, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) owned Calitzdorp Spa is gradually transforming into a new magical mountain retreat, reclaiming its rightful space in the magnificent mountain vistas of the Klein Karoo. Construction work, which was planned to be executed a number of phases, is currently well on track. “We are at least two weeks ahead of schedule,” Medron Bussack, Acting Manager for Calitzdorp Spa.
The roofs of the swimming pool chalets and mountain chalets have already been repaired. As of now, the reception area and main building’s roofs are being replaced with new steel-based, light roof thatch tiles. The contractors also replaced the roofs’ hip and ridge flashings with treated timber battens and related accessories. Amongst the work done has been a new face of the resorts Roman bath. Being one of the most popular tourist attractions of the Spa, the ‘mineral-rich hot spring bath’ is known for its healing and curative properties. The windows in the Roman bathing room were also replaced.
The next phases will commence as soon as funding becomes available in the new financial year, beginning on 1 July 2021. These phases will mainly focus on more repairs and upgrades of the mountain chalets, as well as the ablution facilities at the four (4) camping sites and the four (4) pool lapas.
With the construction works currently underway, the GRDM wants to assure the public that the resort is still in full operation and looks forward to welcoming visitors to the resort!