I work in the travel industry, and sometimes tend to use ‘travel jargon’ when away from work, which sometimes has people looking at me askew.
“Travel Local” for those that don’t speak travel jargon, means; “Eat and sleep local, and do like the locals do”.
Local travel means supporting the little guy, rather than the Holiday Inn, eating at a family run restaurant, rather than a chain. “Local travel” defines local as a chance to get to know the locals wherever you may go – get under the place’s skin, and let it under yours, and all the time, supporting the ever growing Mom-n-Pop industry.
Break away for a few local trips, enjoying time with family, meeting new people, rather than spend an absolute fortune travelling to places like Europe and the US, where you’d need to rob a bank or re-mortgage your home to pay for it. Let us be honest here, having to contend with foreign currency is a nightmare, as really where does the Rand compare favourably?
I’m not saying don’t travel abroad (I am in the travel industry, so I cannot after all say it’s a bad thing), but perhaps spend a bit less time on your overseas jaunt, and with the money you save, take your family or friends out for mini-breaks and build memories that will not bankrupt you.
I understand that we all love experiencing new cultures, cuisines and languages, but jeez, we have 11 languages here, an enormous range of cuisine and cultures, so next time you feel like a change, perhaps before grabbing your passport and heading to the airport, stop and look to the small towns an hour or two from where you live, and go and see what they have to offer.
There are a number of local towns that offer a magical experience, and near the top (if not at the top) is the Riebeek Valley. Only an hour from Cape Town and consisting of two small towns and a hamlet, the Riebeek Valley is one of those places that offer visitors something unique and truly South African. The locals are friendly and rather quirky, the variety of eateries are really very good (not one McDonalds in sight), and the accommodation on offer is affordable and actually very good. There are an abundance of things to do, from Wine & Olive tasting, historical visits to cycling and even paintball!
Another gem is Gretyton, which is South Africa's first Transition town. Don't let the quaintness of the town fool you, as the infrastructure is sophisticated, and they boast excellent shops and restaurants. Their Saturday morning market offers a variety of wholesome and delicious food products, and other hand-made items. If you are a chocolate lover, make sure not to miss out on Von Geusau Chocolates, boasting Belgian style, hand-made chocolates and goodies. The town can sleep around 300 guests, so you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to bedding down for the night.
So, next time you feel the need to "just get away from it all", travel local. Give it a try, I think you may be very pleasantly surprised.
by Cathy Allen
The Riebeek Valley is a little piece of paradise, nestled on the slopes of the majestic and beautiful Kasteelberg Mountain. The rural atmosphere of this quaint valley, coupled with the beauty of the area, is the perfect getaway from city life, with the quirky & friendly locals adding an interesting flavour.
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