Take a Sho’t Left over Easter to explore SA’s ‘small’ destinations

Madiba's smiling face greets you when you enter the Nelson Mandela museum in Qunu. Picture: File

Madiba's smiling face greets you when you enter the Nelson Mandela museum in Qunu. Picture: File

Published Apr 4, 2023


Noxolo Miya

Pretoria - The first holiday season of the year is here, and while known for pickled fish, hot cross buns and Easter eggs, it is the first peak travel opportunity of 2023.

The Department of Tourism, under its Sho’t Left campaign, which aims to promote a culture of local holiday travel targeting ordinary South Africans and their families who have the desire to see more of the country but don’t know where to go, hosted the 2023 Seat at the Table event at the Wild Coast, Eastern Cape.

The annual event is to create the most diverse table and showcase different elements of what South African tourism has to offer – from music, arts and destinations to the finest food.

This year’s event was in support of the department’s Easter campaign to encourage South Africans to travel their country, create exposure and inspire locals to take trips in areas that are considered “small”.

Mashoto Mokgethi, head of Domestic Tourism at South African Tourism, said: “The aim is to change the perception that these types of areas do not have anything to offer.

“A lot of these home-towns have some of South Africa’s most enchanting hidden gems, presenting a significant opportunity for tourism businesses to tap into the peak travel season market and wow locals with amazing offerings.

“With more than 500 small towns to choose from, South Africa has an endless catalogue of accessible and affordable unique locations and experiences to set their tables. Small tourism businesses can stand out by partnering with local businesses, showcasing local culture, and engaging with the community,” said Mokgethi.

The 2023 Seat at the Table campaign exposed and unearthed the hidden treasures in and around these small towns, particularly in the Eastern Cape, by showcasing the beach, bush and berg, sticking to the pillars that South Africans are looking for when travelling, with underlying elements of relaxation.

The Eastern Cape has a variety of activities that cater for every traveller’s needs and houses the wild swing, which is one of the most popular big swings in South Africa and the highest in the world. It also entails a heart-stopping leap off the top of the waterfall that leaves you swinging more than 100m to the Gorge below.

Another highlight is The Nelson Mandela Museum, which offers a memorable cultural experience that gives insights into the life of Nelson Mandela, with guided tours and a heritage that follows his footprints.

This constantly evolving legacy of the former president is housed in the museum, with its two main sites: the Nelson Mandela Youth and Heritage Centre in Qunu and the Bhunga Building in Mthatha.

People who travel the province are able to explore all that the Wild Coast has to offer as it is set on one of the most unspoiled beaches in southern Africa.

The Wild Coast runs along a rugged coast of untouched shorelines, shipwrecks and traditional Xhosa Culture: from marine safari activities to local cultural encounters and adrenaline adventures, it also shows off the exquisite coastal scenery and outdoor excursions fit for the whole family.

Closing off the campaign, under the hashtags #itsmysouthafrica #SeatAtTheTable23 #TravelWiseMzansi #Itsyourcountryenjoyit, guests were serenaded with performances from the likes of Young Stunna, Gospel singer Kholeka, Lerato Kganyago, the Trompies, and Spectacular & DJ Naves while indulging in a three-course menu by celebrity Chef Wandi.

“Food is a very important element when it comes to travelling. Today’s menu is South African-inspired and specially curated for South African heritage. We started off with the duck, and the important thing about the duck is that it was bought from a local boutique farmer in Mamelodi, and this showcases what we need to be doing as consumers and support local businesses,” Wandi said.

“For the main, I decided to go with an all-time favourite: lamb shank served with a potato puree. The lamb was bought from the Karoo, and this is again to showcase what the area in the Karoo, towards the north of Western Cape, has to offer.”

Mokgethi said: “Sho’t Left is encouraging South Africans to explore the country and set their tables anywhere this Easter holiday and not feel restricted to their home dining tables. Tables are central to everything we do, whether you’re in a meeting or simply having lunch at your desk. Tables bring people together and foster a sense of community and belonging.”

Pretoria News