GR300 Teams up with Garden Route Trail Park

Garden Route Events has teamed up with the Garden Route Trail Park for the GR300 and GRlite being held in Feb 2016.

Riders in both the GR300 and GRlite shorter route will get to enjoy some of the best custom-built trails in SA as well as explore the magnificent SANParks Farleigh MTB trails which link up with the mountains behind the park. GRTP owner, Rob Dormehl assures GR300 and GRlite riders will be able to “Escape into the undiscovered and become part of the journey through the Outeniqua forests”.

The Garden Route Trail Park is nestled at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains and the Karatara River Gorge, in the heart of the Garden Route and offers meticulously designed, world-class routes to provide riders of all levels with an oversupply of adrenalin, excitement, scenery and amazing views, flowing turns, berms, rollers and river crossings, massive rock pools, waterfalls and boulders.
“Over and above the usual excitement created by the event itself, the new start and finish location for Day 2 at the GRTP will undoubtedly add to the excitement of the event overall”, said race director Pax Mosterd. “Every year, we try to keep the event exciting by the addition of new trails, and it makes perfect sense to incorporate some of Farmer Robs efforts in the GR300 event next year.

The increase of international participants in the race in 2016 is definitely as a result of increased international marketing drive so we are super excited to present the Ultimate Garden Route Ride to riders nationally and internationally. Still placed firmly as the recommended Epic prep race, the GR300 crew look forward to showcasing this magnificent part of the world to locals and international participants alike.

Entries will be strictly limited to 500 riders across both the GR300 and GRlite events.

More info –

Robberg Coastal Corridor declared a protected environment

The Robberg Coastal Corridor (RCC), which comprises a 20km stretch of unspoiled coastline between Robberg Nature Reserve and Harkerville State Forest, has been declared a protected area. Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning of the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, signed the declaration on August 31.
Pam Booth, Founding Director of the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative, who initiated the research into the possibility of implementing protected environments by landowners, said: “The preservation of the RCC from encroachment and development, and linking it to the two core protected areas, Robberg Nature Reserve in the east to the Garden Route National Park in the west will extend its length to over 35 kilometres from the tip of Robberg Peninsula to Noetzie – more than sufficient to sustain a hiking trail along a coastline equally as spectacular as the famous Otter Trail on the Tsitsikamma Coast. It will also protect and facilitate the natural movement of the flora and fauna along the Corridor, thereby preserving the diversity of genetic species and enabling better adaptation to the vagaries of climate change. Most important, it secures the last remaining ecological lifeline to the increasingly isolated Robberg Peninsula.”
Robbie Robinson, former Head of SA National Parks, and Chairman of the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative, said: “Generations of conservation-sensitive landowners have struggled to keep the link between Robberg and the remaining coastal lowland fynbos viable. It is essential to maintain this vital corridor.”

14 Green Flag Hiking routes to kick-start your summer

Natures Valley beach and Grootriver EstuaryCape Town – A total of 14 hiking trails in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park enjoy green flag status.

The criteria needed for this status includes health and safety aspects, cleanliness, maintenance of the trails and sustainable management. Most of the hiking trails start and end in the Storms River Rest Camp.

The hikes take you through the gorgeous Tsitsikamma forested areas, offering cooler temperatures to hike in, spectacular views of the sea, access to its many beaches – with natural rock pools for you to cool off in.

Kick-start your summer with these 14 awesome Garden Route trails.

1. The Waterfall hike – 3km
A walk to a cool waterfall will make any summer hiker smile. This scenic route starts at the Oceanettes (Storms River Rest Camp. It follows a path in a westerly direction towards the waterfall. It forms part of Day 1 of the Otter Trail along the coastline to a gorgeous plunge pool.

2. The Loerie – 1km
A relatively easy walk through the forest. This special walk takes travellers through the indigenous beauty of the forests. Along the trail you emerge onto a plateau at the Agulhas lookout. The trail takes you along a coastal forest.

3. Blue Duiker – 3.7km
This trail starts on the same spot as the Loerie trail. It takes you into the depths of the forest to a cool, shady area of Outeniqua Yellowood. It follows a circular route across the road and ends at the Oceanettes.

4. Ratel
The trail is divided into three routes. The green route is 1km long, where you follow a boardwalk through the indigenous forest to the Big Tree. The yellow route is 2.6km, and the red route is 4.2km.

5. Goesa Nature Walks 2km
A short walk through the forest along the Hard Pear trees and Tree Ferns along a stream. Starts and ends at the Storms River Forestry office in Storms River. It is a circular walk easy enough for all members of your family.

6. Rugbos trail (2)
This trail traverses through the forest and has three escape routes which are colour coded. Yellow 1.4km; green 1.3km and blue 3.1km. Green and blue start at Tsitsikamma Khoisan Village at Bloukrans River. Yellow starts at Rugbos picnic site.

7. Stinkhoutkloof – 8km
This trail is in the Tsitsikamma forest and ends at Bloukrans Forest Station. Look up to the Yellowood, White PeaR, Stinkwood, and Cape Breech trees. Stop off for a dip in the natural pool at the 5km mark.

8. Grootriver trail – 6km
The trail starts at the entrance of the De Vasselot Camp next to the Grootriver Bridge. An enjoyable challenge with scenic views of the coast.

9. Salt River – 15km
The trail starts opposite to the De Vassselot Camp site and takes you on the Kalanderkloof trail onto the plateau. It crosses the road and winds down to the Salt River via a jeep track. You can follow the coastal path back to the Nature’s Valley beach.

10. Varinghoek trail – 13km
Trek along the hills and forests of Natures Valley with this challenging day hike.

11. Kalanderkloof – 7km
Starting at Nature’s Valley, go through the forest gorge with the ancient Kalander trees. Stop off at the rock pools and take a selfie along the lagoon. The walk can extend into the Salt River mouth.

12. Grootriver trail – 6km
Enjoy a gentle walk starting at Natures Valley.

13. The Dolphin – 17km
A traveller’s feast. This is a two day trail along the coast. You can stop off at the many beaches, enjoy the Misty Mountain Reserve in Soetbaai and snorkel and bird watch.

14. The Otter Trail – 42.5km
This five day hike. A physically demanding trail not suitable for children younger than 12 years old. A beautiful trail crosses the Bloukrans River and Elandsbos River. A fun adventure to tick off your travel bucket list in.

– Traveller24


Two locals for Adventure World Championships

Two Knysna locals are part of top South African team Merrell Adventure Addicts, heading to the Adventure Racing World Championships in Brazil.

The team of four leave on Saturday 7th November for the long journey to the wetlands of the Pantanal in Brazil, where they will compete against 40 top international teams in this extreme endurance sport. The 700km course with various legs of mountain biking, trail running and kayaking will be undertaken as a single stage, expected to take the winners about 120 hours non-stop. It is predicted that the exceptional paddling skills of our Merrell team, currently ranked Number 7 in the world, will give them a good advantage in the wet course which will see them in and out of rivers and flooded areas.

All teams must be fully prepared to survive unassisted in the wilderness and preparing all the equipment necessary is in itself “an adventure in international relations”. So says captain and Knysna resident Graham Bird, who has spent countless hours talking with other foreign teams to swop favours. So although they will be rivals out there, the spirit of true sportsmanship is evident in the camaraderie shown before and after the event. “Teams overseas have sourced things for us that we can’t get here, and we have done the same for them. We are taking several sets of custom made paddles for ourselves and other teams that were specially made by Albert Wasserman of Knysna Racing. They split into four pieces – thereby easier to carry on the long running legs.” The local company will no doubt be getting many more orders next year when several of the same teams will come to challenge the eagerly anticipated Expedition Africa 500km event which is being held in Knysna and Sedgefield in June 2016.
Aside from good athletic abilities, the team needs optimum navigational skills to complete the course. All they receive is a set of maps and must find the checkpoints and finish line using only a compass. No GPS systems are allowed however each team must carry a transmitter which allows supporters of the race to view their progress on screen. It’s called ‘dotwatching’ for the armchair enthusiasts who report having sleepless nights themselves as they shout directions and advice to their team, represented by a little dot amongst many on a map. “The technology allows people to get involved and see a bit of what we do. Without the sweat dripping in their eyes!” said Karatara local, Hanno Smit.

The Pantanal is the world’s largest freshwater wetland with an extraordinary, concentrated biodiversity. Teams and the media, who will be following some of the action via a riverboat, will be in the home ground of jaguars, giant otters, anacondas, caimans, macaws, marsh deer, tapirs, over 700 species of birds, 260 species of fish and 80 reptile species.

“We are going to be racing very hard but we are always aware of our surroundings and know how privileged we are to be able to compete in such exotic places. Knowing that people all over the world are following us is truly wonderful. We hope they get inspired to enjoy the outdoors as much as we do.” Said Donovan Sims who, together with Robyn Kime makes up the rest of the South African team.

Live tracking will be available from the moment they start, at 18h00 SA time, Saturday 14th November. The link to this and updates and images will be posted on the Facebook page of Merrell Adventure Addicts.

-The Gremlin

15 Reasons That Life With Dogs is the Best Way to Live

Enrich your life by living a life with dogs, and learn the many ways in which a furry friend can enhance your enjoyment of life.

There’s something special about opening your eyes in the morning to your precious pup waiting for you and you could never imagine life without him. Here are 15 reasons why life with dogs is the best way to live:

Increases Exercise
Living life with dogs is a great way to sweat. Exercise provides so many benefits from weight loss to improved moods and overall happiness. And any runner will attest, sometimes it gets lonely pounding the pavement by yourself. Teach your dog to jog with you and you’ve got yourself a running buddy.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), 54 percent of dog parents are more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity than non-pet parents. Looking for tips? Check out Dog Running: How to Train Your Four-Legged Running Partner.

Wards Off Depression
Depression is a serious health concern for many people. Besides exercise and medication, dogs are another way to combat it. According to HelpGuide, dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t have pets.

Offers Protection
Some dogs, such as German shepherds, are fantastic guard dogs. And that’s ideal for people who live alone, the elderly, or families with a parent who travels a lot for business.

Improves Social Life
Some people are naturally shy and have trouble making friends. Walking your dog in public places such as parks or wooded trails puts you in a social situation with other like-minded people. And you’re more apt to strike up a conversation with another dog owner.

Helps Deal With Work Stress
Doesn’t all the work-related stress magically vanish when you’re greeted at home by a wagging tail and a few face licks? That’s because oxytocin, a chemical that brings humans joy, is released when you see your pets, Health tells us.

Decreases Childhood Allergies
Exposing young children to pets at an early age helps their immune systems cope with allergies that arise from pet hair or dander, according to AAHA.

Provides Laughter
Dog owners can always count on their canine companions to do something to make them laugh. It could be presenting a blanket to them when they get home or sprinting all over the yard after a spirited game of fetch.
Improves Health
No one likes being sick. Dogs can improve our health by helping to lower blood pressure levels, for example, says Psychology Today.

Creates Love Connections
Dogs are a great way to meet people when you’re out and about. Make eye contact with the right one and you’ll be thanking Fido for helping you trade phone numbers. According to Slate, one survey found 82 percent of people feel more confident talking to an attractive person when their dog is by their side. And in a study for the State University of New York at Buffalo, as reported by About Relationships, couples with pets feel closer and have a more satisfying relationship.

Befriends the Elderly
Depression and loneliness can develop in people as they age. Having a dog provides companionship for seniors.

Serves Those Who Need It
One of the most selfless and loving acts a dog can perform is to be a service dog. They help blind people see, recognize a pending seizure and help a veteran cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Celebrates the Holidays
The holidays are a chance to focus on family and catch up with relatives you don’t see very often. Having a dog as part of the family only enhances the celebration.

Teaches Children about Animals
For many children, the family dog is their first friend. Having a dog as part of the family allows parents to teach their children the right way to treat animals.

Provides Companionship
Some people turn to dogs for companionship. According to Psychology Today, some pet owners receive as much support from their pets as they do from family members.

Presents Unconditional Love
The greatest gift dogs can give their owners is unconditional love. He can chew your shoe, piddle on the rug or eat your child’s homework but even after you scold him, no matter what, he loves you.

Life is what you make of it. And for dog lovers, life with dogs is the only way to live.

Tsitsikamma trails open from tomorrow

SANParks rangers patrolled hiking trails as part of an assessment subsequent to recent heavy rainfall. They checked for windfalls, uprooted trees and river stream crossings. The trails in Tsitsikamma will be opened tomorrow (Thursday).

12 hiking trails in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) have Green Flag status from the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA). This is a global benchmark for hiking trails and includes the following criteria: Conservation status, health and safety measures, cleanliness and maintenance, sustainability, management and others.

Most hiking trails start and end in the Storms River Rest Camp. There are 12 hiking trails with green flag status in Tsitsikamma: The Waterfall hike, the Loerie, Blue duiker, Platbos nature walks, Goesa nature walks, Rugbos trail, Stinkhoutkloof, Salt River, Varinghout trail, Kalanderkloof and Grootriver trail.

All hiking trails in Knysna and Wilderness remain open and the Park’s planned launch of the Graspad cycling trail (Harkerville, Knysna) this coming Saturday, the 07th November 2015 continues.


Plett Harvest Fair at The Yard

Friday 27/11 Day/Night market starts at 14h00 till 21h00. A variety of stalls with fresh produce from our local growers, Christmas related products, Arts and Crafts, jewelry and homemade goodies, pancakes, food court, craft beer and more.

Petanque Competition from 16h00 with cash prizes at a R25.00 entry fee for doubles. This is a fantastic family event from Grandparents to children. Lets get those teams together for lots of fun. (Prize for team with best name)

Seafood stall with fresh oysters and other delicious fishy treats.

Food court will serve a HANGI (Maori underground cooking) buffet @ 1900 @ R100.00 per head, (limited avail) Slow cooked in banana leaves it is an unforgettable culinary experience. Kids fun court and entertainment.

Saturday 28/11 opens at 0900 till 1700 with 40 plus Stalls, biggest veg and ugliest veg competition, Big Breakfast, Food court, Kids entertainment, Pony rides, Dog show and Pet owner lookalikes competition, Craft Beer, Wine tasting, live Music, Classic Cars, fresh Seafood and Oysters, Bric n Brac Arts and Crafts and so much more.


The high crime rate is a reality of doing business in South Africa. Smaller companies, with fewer resources to secure themselves, are particularly vulnerable. Find out what basic measures you can put in place to make your business less of a target.

Security is one of the most important aspects of running a business, so it’s not an area where you can afford to cut corners. There are various ways of assuring your company and your employees’ safety.

Prevent employee theft

One of the most common threats to the livelihood of a small business is internal theft and fraud. Research shows that the biggest pre-emptor of theft is opportunity, so minimise them:

Implement internal controls. Put strict policies in place to safeguard assets and financial reporting. For example:

Don’t allow only one person to record and process transactions
Restrict access to financial assets and information to authorised employees only
Develop internal controls for initiating, authorising and reviewing transactions
Do regular stock-taking to ensure all supplies and equipment are accounted for
Have a strict recruitment procedure. Don’t be lax about who you bring into your company. Honesty and integrity should be right up there with skill requirements for the job. To sift out the good from the bad, include pre-employment checks in your hiring policy:

Check to see if the person has a criminal record involving theft or fraud
Verify that educational qualifications are from recognised institutions
Call at least two previous employers to confirm his position, length of employment and why he left
As much as you would like to trust the people working for you, it’s important to enforce these policies and take temptation out of the equation. If you do find that an employee has been stealing from you, seek legal advice about how to deal with it.

Bring the community together

Crime against businesses affects everyone living in the community. Your company creates jobs and the security measures you take will improve the safety of the vicinity in general.

Team up with other local businesses and share security tips, incidents of crime or suspicious activities, and potentially even the costs of hiring security companies to patrol the area
Remind local residents that your security also benefits them. Encourage them to report crime to the police and inform you of any incidents
Community Policing Forums have proven very effective in reducing crime in various areas. Contact other businesses, community leaders and the local police station to find out how you can work together to combat crime
Establish a good relationship with the neighbourhood police. Support their crime-busting initiatives and ask them to regularly update you on criminal activity in the community
Other tips

Hire permanent security guards to patrol the premises and keep track of people coming in and out. Make sure that these guards have been properly checked out
Install CCTV cameras to ‘keep an eye’ on the property, especially at night
Spotlights with motion sensors can act as a deterrent for would-be criminals
Install tracking devices on all company vehicles and send your drivers on an anti-hijacking course
Vary the times of doing and taking deliveries, when you do your banking, etc. Having the same schedule every day can make you a target for robbery
Encourage employees to be vigilant when entering and leaving the premises, and to make sure they have secured their property and vehicles
And finally, make sure your business is adequately insured against crime. There’s nothing worse than having to pay out of your own pocket to replace stolen goods or repair related damage
You don’t have to be a victim of crime. Find ways to be part of the solution to make your business and the broader community more secure.

(Provided by Business Partners Ltd, South Africa’s leading investor in SMEs) •