For hikers, bikers, runners and walkers, of which there are plenty on the Garden Route, there is now a comprehensive and easy to use guide in the form of an app — which has been launched by Plett Tourism.
By Elaine King – Herald Live
Simply download the newly launched Plett Trails App and all the popular best-known, but also lesser-known walks, hikes and MTB trails will pop up covering Plett itself, Harkerville and Tsitsikamma.
I for one am delighted to find a guide like this because getting up to date and reliable information on hikes in the area isn’t that easy. We once went on a designated walk and halfway through discovered the trail was totally overgrown and the wooden boardwalk was broken. It was a shocker of a walk because we had gone far enough that going back wasn’t a solution — the quickest way home was to finish it. The reeds I had to bash my way through were taller than me and I am sure that only my fervent prayers kept a hundred snakes away.
We have also done other hikes that are touted as only requiring moderate fitness. The full Kranshoek walk in Harkerville is a case in point. It was a swine of a hike with long sections that require one to climb over boulders as this long walk hugs the coast — and then coming up is hellish, far worse than the Robberg Trail. Of the four of us who did it, one friend got heatstroke and another nearly didn’t make it. This walk should have been flagged as beautiful, but savage.
To bring to market a product of global standards, the Plett Tourism Association has partnered with chairman of the World Trails Network, and founder of the popular Garden Route Walking Festival, Galeo Saintz to develop the app alongside private stakeholders including SANParks, CapeNature and the MTO group. After 18 months and much ground covered, the Plett Trails app is ready to use and the trails are calling. And what’s more there are 26 hiking trails — 16 of which are international Green Flag trails and the first Green Flag MTB Trails in the world.
Green Flag Trails is an international standard for trail accreditation, to enhance public awareness and confidence in trails with a system designed to meet the needs of trail users in relation to trail information, difficulty grading and skills and trail classification. The system ensures well-managed and environmentally accountable trails remain a valued and ongoing resource for access to nature, recreation and trail sports, for health and tourism and the many benefits trails offer local communities.
Plett’s location at the heart of the Garden Route National Park, surrounded by nature reserves, pine plantations, mountains, dramatic coastline, fynbos and exquisite indigenous forest makes it the ideal base from which to explore the region.
And the app currently offers information on a variety of trails ranging from Harkerville to the west of Plettenberg Bay through to Tsitsikamma in the east, complete with trail information, maps, distances, updates to trail conditions and contact information ensuring first-time and returning visitors are provided with up-to-date information in an easy-to-use format.
Galeo Saintz explains: “With the development of the app, signature trails such as CapeNature’s Robberg and SanParks’ Otter Trail stand shoulder to shoulder with lesser known gems such as the Cairnbrogie Trails Network, Keurbooms Nature Reserve, The Dolphin Trail and the Inqua Trail (previously Robberg Coastal Corridor). The app integrates with Google Maps to enable users to accurately navigate to the start of each trail and — where mobile signal is available — use Maps to navigate the trail itself.”
More trails will be added to the Plett Trails app over time, as information becomes available.
Attractions to enjoy include Plett’s section of the Cradle of Human Culture Route, navigation to the permanent Land Art piece Aartmoeders by Simon Max Baxter in Kranshoek, two World Heritage Sites and nature reserves, various SANParks and MTO Trails and a total of 16 Green Flag Trails within a vastly biodiverse region.
What’s not to love about our epic scenery and unspoilt natural beauty? The inclusion of the world’s first mountain biking Green Flag Trails reinforces Plettenberg Bay and the Garden Route’s position at the forefront of global outdoor adventures as travellers seek novel and immersive ways to explore a region.
There are lots of mountain bikers in this area who live for their rides and for them this app is a godsend!
Plett Tourism CEO Patty Butterworth is pleased to be launching the app with the aim of positioning Plettenberg Bay as a “trail town.” She says; “If you’ve ever visited an area and struggled to find information on hikes or trails, or started a trail only to find out it’s a lot more strenuous than intended or severely degraded, you’ll understand and appreciate the value of having the app’s information at your fingertips. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or looking to explore new and exciting paths around Plett, the Plett Trails app will be your faithful companion. We are thrilled to introduce this new product to the travel market.”
The Plett Trail app will be introduced to the tourism market at WTM Africa 2023 at the Cape Town International Conference Centre from 3-5 April 2023 and Plett Tourism will be in attendance to answer any questions and provide demonstrations of the app to the tourism industry.
So, it’s really this simple to install the app. Scan the QR code attached or visit www.pletttrails.co.za.
Scanning the QR code will automatically install the app once your details are entered. Then take your pick as you browse and navigate 26 number of trails and 16 Green Flag Trails to plan your next outdoor adventure.
And what’s even more brilliant is there is an option to provide feedback and updates on trails for trail managers to address any changes as they arise. Nature is dynamic and no two walks are ever the same depending on weather conditions, rockfalls, you name it, so this interactive option is fabulous.
Install the Plett Trails app to stand a chance to win an OLFI Prize Hamper valued at R5000 and including an OLFI Action Camera and accessories, an OLFI floating hand grip and spanner, and a Plett Trails hoodie and cap.