IOL Travel / 29 November 2017, 12:00pm / Clinton Moodley
Travellers to KwaZulu-Natal will now have more variety when they pack their bags to visit the province, thanks to the launch of The Saunter. The Saunter is a series of arts, crafts, food and activity trails that stretches from Durban to Hilton. The new initiative will launch on December 15.
Despite the gloomy weather, exhibitors, including sculptors, artists and crafters, boarded the Umgeni Steam Train at Kloof Station on Sunday afternoon, to interact with fellow exhibitors and hear more about the seven routes on offer.
The Umgeni Steam Train is one of the many offerings when The Saunter launches next month. Picture: Sarah Venketapathy.
The seven routes are Durban North, Westville, Pinetown and Mariannhill, Kloof, Hillcrest, Camperdown, Pietermaritzburg and Hilton.
Around 75 arts and crafters and 145 roleplayers from selected restaurants and accommodation, will be a part of The Saunter. Visitors can expect anything from funky shoes, artworks, and adventure sport like white river rafting, 4×4 trails and mountain biking.
Once the website is launched, travellers can download the route maps to plan their trip. People can plan their day, weekend or week-long trips, but will need to book an appointment with exhibitors in advance.
Cheryl Lefevre, from the Gillitts Foundation, says the idea behind The Saunter is to boost Durban and put it even more on the map.
Lefevre says the ‘out of the box’ idea will showcase some of the city’s hidden gems, including tours of temples and museums. She also hopes that it will provide a platform for upcoming exhibitors.
“Our aim is to draw more travellers to Durban and surrounding areas, and to boost the business of the exhibitors. If successful, the project will be a great economic driver in the province. People do not have to travel far to experience some of the best locations our province has to offer, ” adds Lefevre.
Judging by the big smiles on their faces, exhibitors were over the moon about the initiative.
Botha’s Hill resident, Johnny De Beer,who makes ceramic Nguni cows, horses and cheetahs, says although he has been in business over 40 years ago, not many people are aware of his craft. He is hoping that through The Saunter he will be able to establish a name for himself.
Established artist, Helena Vogelzang, from Kloof, is hoping that her involvement will help her connect with other like minded artists.
Vogelzang, who has created monuments for the National Heritage Monument in Pretoria, including Bram Fischer, says Durban is lagging behind when it comes to providing art to domestic and local travellers.
Artist, Siyabonga Sikosana, from Pietermaritzburg, is grateful that he is able to now show his township inspired art to travellers.