Category: <span>Tourism</span>

31 January 2022 Media Release: Floods, tourists and the Garden Route environment

MEDIA RELEASE: Floods, tourists and the Garden Route environment

For Immediate Release
12 January 2022

“The very real threat of the renewed lockdown and travel restrictions with the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in South Africa over December 2021 did not materialise. With golden beaches, lakes and rivers open for use after closure in the summer of 2020, tourists flocked to the Garden Route in their thousands,” says Cobus Meiring, convener of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

Just prior to the festive season, heavy rains and fairly severe floods did do their usual damage to infrastructure in and around George, with some roads and related infrastructure damage still in need of repair.

“Natural infrastructure, such as mountain catchments and rivers, was also not spared. There are visible fresh scars on feeder streams on the George (Outeniqua) mountainside and damage to certain river channels was also reported. There were also reports about dam walls on farmland that collapsed causing even more downstream havoc,” says Meiring.

“Heavy rainfall and subsequent floods are perfectly normal occurrences and the Garden Route, most certainly, is no stranger to them. However, we can expect and prepare for a lot more in coming years. Predictions regarding changes in South African rainfall patterns brought about by a changing climate indicate that the Garden Route will increasingly be subjected to episodic rainfall events and less of the soft but persistent rainfall the region has been accustomed to.”

“Severe weather patterns affecting the Garden Route are nothing new, but as the most recent rainstorms and flooding causing havoc in the town of George and surrounds are testimony of, their impact can be severe and seem to be on the increase with the passing of time enhanced by the advent of the unpredictable impact of a changing climate and resultant changes in rainfall patterns.”

Says Meiring: “The way in which urban and semi-urban areas contend and cope with severe downpours of rainstorms differs completely from how nature would be able to do so if left undisturbed and in a natural state.”

“The energy from flooding and fast-flowing water following hard and sustained downpours in an urban context is multiplied exponentially by a lack of indigenous vegetation on the landscape, degraded and denuded riverbanks and systems as flooding water gains momentum and volume when it flows over hardened (paved/ tarred) surfaces, stormwater channels and eventually river systems.”

“In a natural environment, flooding occurs as a natural phenomenon and is a part of a healthy system, but the severity thereof is curtailed by natural barriers such as vegetation on the landscape, wetland systems that slow flooding waters down considerably and trapping sediment, plants such as Palmiet and reeds.”

Population influx posing many challenges to local authorities

The Southern Cape is falling victim to its own scenic beauty, perceived political stability and capable governance and is fast becoming a top destination for many living in the South African interior.

According to Meiring, the significant influx of people poses a huge challenge in many respects, both from environmental management and a local government perspective. As a mere example, it is reported that as many as two thousand new housing units will be built over the next three years alone between George and Mossel Bay, and that excludes informal and undocumented urban sprawl.

“Not only are the Garden Route towns not designed to accommodate unlimited expansion, but the regional environment suffers permanent and irreversible damage as biodiversity cannot survive a fast-shrinking natural habitat which inevitably has to make way for ever-increasing developments and urban sprawl,” says Meiring.

“Perhaps, more importantly, the Garden Route has limited resources – the supply of fresh water and the availability of land suitable for development are but two limitations.”

“For the Garden Route to maintain at least a semblance of a viable environment, and without losing its sense of place, much more attention must be given to planning for the future. Interaction between those responsible for local government and those managing the environment is vital,” concludes Meiring.

The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a regional forum and public platform for collaboration in conservation, environmental adaptation and community interaction. It is a think tank for national, regional and local government, conservation bodies, academics, the media, landowners and land managers, active in the full spectrum of environmental matters in the region. Website:


Cobus Meiring: Convener of Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF)

Cell: 083 626 7619



Picture: New development

Sprawling new developments have a permanent impact on the survival of biodiversity in the Garden Route. (Photo: SCLI)

21 January 2022 Tourism Promotion – Garden Route boasts Sparkling Coastlines

The Garden Route’s nearly 300km long beaches stretch from the whitest sandy beaches of Witsand, past the sky-blue waters of Plettenberg Bay, ending at Natures Valley. Known for offering a safe destination, the Garden Route is a preferred destination for families, adventure-seekers and beach-goers, to name a few.

Coastal municipalities boast twenty blue flag beaches offering locals and tourists quality water and clean public facilities. Numerous coves and lagoons, as well as untouched indigenous forests, can be seen along the N2 from east to west.

Amagene Koeberg, Garden Route District Municipality’s Tourism Coordinator, says that offshore there is the possibility to see Southern Right Whales, dolphins, and great white sharks.

“Come and explore the Garden Route, you will surely become a returning visitor of our area,” said Koeberg.

Visit the Garden Route and Klein Karoo (GRKK) website at or go to our Facebook page at and learn more about what our area has to offer.

12 January 2022 Media Release: Garden Route Coastal Resorts Perform Exceptionally Well Over the Festive Season

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.

Visit and to book your spot. Remember to like our social media pages on Facebook by searching for our resorts on the platform.


2 December 2021


This is our second year of living through an unprecedented time. However, as Garden Routers, I continue to believe that we will bounce back from this situation as we are a resilient district.

South Africa, including the Garden Route District’s Tourism Sector, remains the backbone of our country’s economy; this is why we need people to visit us from all over the world. Support of our regional tourism sector is imperative because it advances prosperity, drives inclusive and sustainable development.

Last year, I also encouraged you to seek the little adventures the Garden Route offers, indulge yourself, take a break, and support our businesses. This year, my plea is the same. Please support our local businesses. Explore the region and the many tourist activities that are right on your doorstep; in turn, you will be contributing to the growth of the tourism sector. We depend on tourism for jobs and livelihoods. Thank you to the businesses that remain conscious of the current economic climate and provide budget-friendly tourism packages. This clever approach will attract more visitors to our region.

Before visiting us or when you arrive here, you will be able to find a myriad of activities to do in our region. A few that come to mind, include iconic sightseeing spots, fun-filled days and unmissable events, in particular this December. To see what I am talking about, visit our regional tourism website,

While enjoying your time with us, you have to exercise caution and be tolerant while travelling. Please obey speed limits; road rules; do not text or call while driving; do not drink and drive, and always wear a seatbelt. Save our 24/7 emergency call centre number if you find yourself in a troubling situation – 044 805 5071. As we head into the festive season we’d like to keep the Covid-19 infection rates low, so please, adhere to the Covid- 19 protocols and regulations. Remember to wear your mask, wash your hands, sanitize, avoid large crowds, and keep your social distance – hang outside with friends and family!.

Thank you for all the efforts to keep safe and move forward. See you in the Garden Route!

Alderman Memory Booysen
Executive Mayor
Garden Route District Municipality

3 September 2021 Media Release: Tourism for inclusive growth

Media Release: Tourism for inclusive growth

For Immediate Release
03 September 2021

Tourism Month features themed activities aligned to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) World Tourism Day Celebrations that take place annually on 27 September. The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day is “Tourism for inclusive growth.”

Annually, Tourism Month provides a heightened month-long focus on the importance of the tourism sector and the enormous contribution the tourism industry makes to provincial and national economic growth as well as job creation in South Africa. “This year, we align our efforts with the national and provincial government to emphasize the importance of domestic tourism and inclusive growth. The tourism industry has been severely affected by the Covid–19 pandemic, and in Tourism Month, we want to shift our focus to the recovery of the sector and to build back better. We believe that promoting our beautiful region and its diverse offerings to the domestic market could increase visitors/domestic tourists to the area, contribute towards employment in the sector, and contribute to the growth of the tourism sector within the district,” said Ms Amagene Koeberg, Tourism Coordinator for Garden Route District Municipality.

This year’s theme is all about tourism for all, and it is about the rural women and the innovative youth; it is for the villages, towns and the less-visited part of our country. “This theme is about the cultural diversity of our offerings and the travel tastes of the millennials. Importantly, growth is about the broad-based benefits and support for small enterprises that continue to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tharage, Director-General of the Department of Tourism at the Golden Gate National Park outside of Clarens at the launch of Tourism Month.

Tourism Month in SA aims to encourage South Africans to travel domestically to understand better the affordable, exciting and world-class attractions available on their own doorstep.  It also serves as an opportunity to promote domestic tourism and create a culture of travel amongst South Africans.

Initiatives such as the; SHO’T LEFT TRAVEL WEEK 6 -12 September 2021 will present great travel deals, with airlines, hotel groups, tour operators and tourist attractions offering discounts of up to 50%. These deals must be bought during this week but can be redeemed at any other time, depending on the partner’s terms and conditions. This presents an opportunity for South Africans to tour and experience their own country.

As the country begins to open up again during COVID19, the appetite for domestic travel must be re-ignited, and South Africans should be encouraged to travel their country.

By visiting the website: South Africans can access great holiday deals. Some of these deals feature Garden Route & Klein Karoo tourism partners.  By visiting our regional tourism website’s events page at you can be enticed by the various events/festivals hosted in our local towns during Tourism Month and beyond, suitable to please any and every tourist with the array of diversity we have to offer.

30 June 2021 Media Release:  “We are two weeks ahead of schedule” – upgrades at Calitzdorp Spa

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!


25 February 2021 Media Release: How to apply for Tourism Road Signage

Media Release: How to apply for Tourism Road Signage

For Immediate Release
25 February 2021

Government and the private sector understands the importance of the Tourism Sector, in particular its impact on the economy. Tourism creates jobs, sustains livelihoods and promotes a country’s natural and cultural heritage. It is however important for each person to know where to find tourist attractions through clearly identifiable signs. Such signs are approved for five (5) years or rejected by a Regional Tourism Liaison Committee (RTLC) and in the case of the Western Cape, the Western Cape Provincial Government in collaboration with the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL).

What do tourism road signs look like?

Tourism road signs in South Africa contain white symbols and lettering, displayed on a brown background. These signs are erected from the nearest numbered route, with additional signs indicating directions to a tourism attraction or facility. It does however become tricky in urban areas where there are a lot of signs, buildings, and other objects. This is why generic signs may be considered by the RTLC.

Purpose of tourism road signs?

The purpose of tourism road signs is not intended to advertise a tourism attraction, but to guide the public to a facility while a person can enjoy an excursion. Therefore, tourism road signs are intended to clearly indicate the route pedestrians and motorists need to travel along to reach specific attractions or facilities.

Who can apply for a tourism road sign?

Owners of registered tourism facilities and/or attractions may apply for tourism signs.

Approval of road signs

Approval for a tourism sign depends on the quality of the facility or service, the need for a road sign at a given point, and whether a sign can be erected without causing a traffic hazard.

Tourism road sign application process

Those interested in applying for a tourism road sign needs to contact their nearest Local Tourism Office (LTO) to discuss the requirements and to collect an application form. Each LTO is responsible for providing applicants with answers to specific requirements and indicate whether such a premises would be recommended by them. Once an applicant has completed all required documentation, it needs to be submitted to the issuing LTO. LTOs are subsequently responsible for submitting documents to the RTLC for review.

The evaluation of a facility by the LTO comprises of, amongst other things, compliance with warrants. Warrants serve as assurance of acceptable standards for a tourist, who is influenced to support the establishment by means of being exposed to the tourism road signage.

Approval of tourism road signage

If an application has been recommended by a LTO, or in some instances a Local Economic Development Unit of a Municipality, it will be forwarded to the RTLC and the Transport Directorate for review.

The requirements of Transport Authority vary according to the status of the road. More important mobility roads will have stricter requirements. Once the road authority has access to all the relevant documentation, information is processed in terms of the relevant road regulations. Technicalities such as the placing of the sign; distance from a crossing; number of existing signs; and the speed limit of the particular road where the sign is intended to be erected, are taken into account

When submissions are approved, an applicant will be furnished with a digital drawing of the sign. In addition to this, a list of approved manufacturers who conform to tourism standards will be provided too.

Rejection of tourism road signage

LTOs will provide clear reasons for why applicants have not been granted permission to erect tourism road signage. This decision will be preceded by an on-site inspection of the facility by the LTO to measure its compliance to a certain number of required tick-boxes.

If an applicant’s submission is rejected, SANRAL will inform the applicant of such a decision and provide the reasons behind it.

Fees payable

Applicants will be responsible for appointing a manufacturer to do the work in accordance with a letter of approval and for all costs related to the erection of the sign. SANRAL has specific conditions under which approval may be granted.

The tourism road sign is up, now what?

Once the sign has been erected, it becomes the property of SANRAL and may be relocated or removed at their discretion. Applicants remain responsible for the upkeep/ maintenance of their respective road signs.

If the applicant’s facility no longer complies with warrants, SANRAL may remove all tourism road signs. SANRAL or LTOs can, at any moment inspect a facility to ensure that it still meets the relevant authorised standards.

Contact information for offices responsible for signage:

Knysna 044 382 5510 40 Main Road, Knysna, 6570
Ladismith 028 551 1378 Otto Hager building, South Street, Ladismith
Mossel Bay 044  691 2202 cnr Market & Church Street, Mossel Bay
Oudtshoorn & De Rust Tourism 044 279 2532 80 Voortrekker Rd, Oudtshoorn, 6625
Bitou Municipality LED 044 501 3000 4 Sewell Street Plettenberg Bay
Sedgefield 044 343 2007 30 Main Road, Sedgefield
Wilderness 044 877 0045 198 George Road, Wilderness
Calitzdorp 044 213 3775 3 Voortrekker Road, Calitzdorp
George 044 801 9103 124 York Street, George, 6529
Hessequa 028 713 7829 19 Main Road, Riversdale, 6670


National roads are governed by the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), provincial roads by the Provincial Roads Department (PG: WC), district/secondary roads by the District Council and normal streets by the Local Municipality.*


25 January 2021 Media Release: Garden Route Investment Prospectus formulated to attract domestic and foreign investment

Media Release: Garden Route Investment Prospectus formulated to attract domestic and foreign investment

For immediate release
25 January 2021

On Friday, 22 January 2021 the Garden Route Investment Prospectus was tabled and adopted by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Council during an Ordinary Council meeting. This investment guide is the official regional publication which highlights many of the investment opportunities for the region.

According to Mr Lusanda Menze, GRDM Executive Manager for Planning and Economic Development, “the prospectus was developed and compiled during 2020 financial year and contains regional catalytic investment opportunities of all seven local municipalities, as well as opportunities relating to the GRDM”.

“The investment prospectus situates opportunity zones on several levels and provides an economic context for such zones,” said Menze.

The overarching objectives of this prospectus are to attract national and international investors to the Garden Route by:

  • displaying the vast range of investment opportunities available in the region;
  • providing insights into the region’s investment friendly climate; and
  • not only attracting new investments but also to expand existing investments in the Garden Route.

Local municipalities, business chambers, government agencies, private sector stakeholders amongst others, were consulted in the process of compiling the document and identifying the most promising investment opportunities. WESGRO, the Western Cape’s Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, remains a partner in the roll-out of the process to attract investment and will work alongside stakeholders to promote the region’s opportunities.

The high-quality print catalogue is available digitally, while 200 printed copies are currently available for distribution. The GRDM is approaching growth and development in a holistic nature looking at all sectors of the economy. It is also important to view the linkages that would promote widespread socio-economic growth. Therefore, GRDM is looking at achieving the following:

  • to attraction both outward and inward investment;
  • investment in both hard and soft infrastructure;
  • making the business environment more conducive to business;
  • involve a participatory approach to local economic development;
  • involve Public Private Partnerships (PPP) wherever possible; and
  • move towards community-based local economic development

Local economic development is one of the key focus areas for the GRDM and by realising its strategic importance, sustainable and inclusive growth will be possible.

Click on the link below to download the document:

Garden Route Investment Prospectus

8 January 2021 Media Release: Let’s continue to support our tourism industry COVID-19 and beyond

Media Release: Let’s continue to support our tourism industry COVID-19 and beyond

For Immediate Release
8 January 2021

Feature image: Elethu Booysen, wife of Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor for Garden Route District Municipality, was treated on a trip by her husband out at sea for her birthday today, 8 January 2021.

We can all attest that the National Lockdown has kept us all more indoors than ever before. With the gradual opening of the Tourism sector, we finally had the chance to slowly dip our toes in the sparkling ocean experiencing the fresh, crisp and clean air inhaling the perfume of fynbos. Then, just as we were approaching the holiday season and visitors were gearing themselves to travel to the Garden Route our beaches were closed and the tourism sector faced yet another blow.

While reflecting on the Tourism Sector and its resilience, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen said,  “Our beaches might have been closed since 15 December 2020 to January 2020 the Garden Route continued to offer a countless number of experiences. Holiday makers still flocked from all corners of South Africa to our beautiful and diverse region to experience its offerings. From scenic drives, delectable locally produced cuisine and washing it down with award winning wine, craft beer and indigenous fynbos gin before the country’s move to alert level three where we saw the closing of the alcohol industry, to blood pumping adrenaline rushing adventures, world class golfing”.

The Garden Route and Klein continues to offer a multitude of outdoor adventures and is truly so much more than just its beaches.

GRDM and its Regional Tourism Office, Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism, would like to thank all the tourism stakeholders in the region for their vigorous and continuous work in ensuring that the region remains the tourism destination of choice. This year has shown that we truly are a region who perseveres through the toughest times. To the visitors, we wish to thank you for your support by visiting our region while we’ve been classified as a COVID-19 hotspot.

Thank you to everyone who continues to comply to the “new norms” we are required to adhere to.

While it’s still summer, and schools are still closed, be sure to expect plenty of sunshine – here is what you can still experience in the Garden Route under the risk adjusted level 3 restrictions:

  • Golfing at one of South Africa’s top golf courses
  • Kayaking/kloofing/canoeing
  • Bungee jumping/ziplining
  • Paragliding
  • Hiking/biking
  • Historical caves
  • Horse riding
  • Big 5 and nature drives
  • Get lost in our Indigenous forests
  • Coffee culture
  • Enjoy some much needed “R&R” and pamper time at a spa.

We wish you all a healthy and safe 2021. Let’s continue to curb the spread of COVID-19 by remembering to practice social distancing, washing our hands, sanitising and wearing of masks. Lastly, remember to avoid crowded places, close-contact settings and confined and enclosed spaces.

Stay safe, move forward.