TOURISM KWAZULU-NATAL CELEBRATES SEPTEMBER TOURISM MONTH IN THE NORTHERN DRAKENSBERG

What better way to shrug off months of lockdown blues than to stretch the muscles and relax the mind during a cultural tourism experience in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

With September being Tourism Month, Tourism KZN is promoting everything from cosy huts to rustic hotels and farm to fork while encouraging the discovery of rural roots in keeping with the theme “Rural Tourism and Development”.

KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube engaged with members of the media on a tour at Emazizini in an effort to draw tourism to the area and thereby transform the local economy through job creation and community upliftment.

The tour led by Ms Dube-Ncube coincided with the reopening of the country’s international borders on 1 October 2020 for business, leisure and other travel, under alert level 1 of lockdown. The tourism sector is looking forward to a bumper summer season and many accommodation venues have seen a rush in bookings.

Visitors are urged to experience the culture and language of the Zulu people throughout several destinations by interacting with villagers and learning more about their way of life and their practices, rituals and ceremonies.

“KwaZulu-Natal is all aligned with the strict health and hygiene protocols of Covid-19. We welcome visitors to the great escarpments of the Northern Drakensberg,” said Ms Dube-Ncube.

“We view job creation as critical for economic growth in the province and have put in place plans to have a speedy recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry.

“We should take advantage of visiting scenic destinations that are offering discounted packages amidst an abundance of diverse heritage and culture.”

“We are intensifying the roll out of the Local Government Tourism Capacity Building Programme for Tourism Practitioners and Communities. Our aim is to ensure that KZN is amongst the top tourist destinations. To achieve this vision, we have focused on enhancing our destination by improving infrastructure at various tourism magnets across local municipalities,” she said.

Media were treated to various thrilling tourism experiences with a visit to WOWZULU, a responsible tourism initiative that offers authentic community experiences in Emazizini. These ranged from a tractor-trailer ride up the mountain, to a guided inspiring village walk and craft lessons on basket weaving with master craftswomen.

There are magnificent sunrise and sunset scenic views at the Drakensberg world heritage site and fascinating views of the uThukela River with plunging waterfalls.

Go back home with captivating experiences of becoming part of the eMazizini village life for a day by taking part in different activities such as preparing fields; planting or harvesting; milking cows or herding cattle; or taking part in traditional ceremonies.

“Workshops are currently being conducted at all WOWZULU destinations to capacitate community businesses on Covid-19 hygiene measures. Each tourist attraction site ensures the health and safety measures are in place – masks are mandatory, and guests are screened on arrival,” said Bongiwe Mlangeni, Operations Manager at Africa Ignite.

Exploring Cathedral Peak Wine Estate in Winterton was one of the highlights of the media tour. A total of 29 hectares of vineyard leads into a game farm.

Tantalise your palette with the following varieties that are growing – Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc.

Royal Natal National Park has some of the best mountain scenery in Africa and the visitors were blown away by the world-famous Amphitheatre, a rock wall approximately 5km in length and 500m high.

Hiking is the most popular activity in the park. Trout fishing can be done at the dam and in the Mahai and Thukela rivers. Swimming in the fresh mountain streams is a popular summertime activity.

Bongiwe Zuma, a journalist from Isolezwe, said she woke up with a smile on her face after long months of pandemic depression.

“Waking up to the scenery of  beautiful mountains this morning reminded me of how magnificent our province is and brought back childhood memories. I love long walks in nature and this media tour was most enjoyable. I thank Tourism KZN for the incredible opportunity.”

Lucky Cain, a journalist at Ilanga, said: “Waking up to the sounds of birds and ducks and a stunning view of the Drakensberg mountains took my breath away. Nothing beats this refreshing nature experience and I am grateful to Tourism KZN for a wonderful opportunity to enjoy parts of KZN.”

For further information on tour and cultural experiences please visit the website https://www.wowzulu.co.za/wowzulu-destinations-in-kwazulu-natal/emazizini-village-world-heritage-drakensberg-kwazulu-natal

The travelling public is urged to frequently visit the TKZN digital platforms for great specials on offer.

To remind you of the tourism sights, sounds and experiences on offer, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU8rGVbBgCc

Thanks so much for reading, hope to see you again :)

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