#LoveSA: Garden Route festivals perfect for long weekend escapes

2018-05-24 10:37 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - You don’t have to wait for public holidays to turn an event into a long weekend escape.

Plan your leave and trip so that you create a long weekend to suit the events and festivals you don’t want to miss.

One of the much-loved destinations for local and international travellers – bursting with numerous festivals and events all year long – is the Garden Route.

Here are major Garden Route events to start planning your long weekend escapes:

Greenpop Eden Festival of Action 2018

The Greenpop Festival of Action is a new event on the Garden Route’s calendar, set to bring people together from around the globe to learn, connect, give back and get active.

“For the past 6 years, this event has taken place in Livingstone, Zambia and for the first time in 2018, the Festival of Action is being hosted in the Eden District, Garden Route,” says Knysna Tourism.

There’s a youth programme which promises to be an eco-education adventure for future leaders and active citizens between the ages of 13 and 19.

When: 23 June - 15 July 2018.

Bookings and info: Contact Carla at 021 461 9265 or eden@greenpop.org.

Knysna Oyster Festival

Oysters and sport are the focus at one of the most popular annual events in the Western Cape - the Knysna Oyster Festival.

The festival has taken place since 1983, where it began as the Knysna Winter Festival - a combination of sport that drew people to Knysna during the cold and quieter season.

SEE: Warm up this winter with 10 adventure-filled days at the Knysna Oyster Festival

The festival is spread across two weekends of family fun, with the two major sporting events being the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour and the Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon.

When: 29 June - 8 July 2018.

Where: Knysna.

Bookings and info: Contact Glendyrr Fick at 044 382 5510 or glendyrr@worldsport.co.za.

Click here for the full programme, more information, and registration and ticket details.

126th Rastafari Earth Festival

Earth Day, or the birthday of the Rastafarian's spiritual messiah, takes place on 23 July, and is honoured as part of the annual Earth Festival from 22-30 July.

The festival includes musical acts, dancing and singing of traditional songs. Members wear traditional attire, tell stories and recite poems.

The event is family-friendly and open to the public - and serves as a platform for Rastafarians to openly share the traditions and roots of their faith. Tourists are welcome to bring their cameras and learn what Emancipation Day is all about.

When: 20-30 July 2018.

Where: Judah Square Knysna.

Bookings and info: Contact Br Dawie Afrikaner/ Zebulon/ Zebs at 076 649 1034 or dawieafraker99@gmail.com.

Knysna Timber Festival

The Knysna Timber Festival, which is part of the heritage of timber-related activities in the area, is the creation of the Knysna Timber Initiative.

The festival is not limited to local creators and woodworkers, and serves as a platform for National and International brands to expose their products, as well as for hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts and visitors.

When: 5-7 October 2018

Where: Timber Village

Cost: R20

Bookings and info: Contact Picca at 082 571 2462/ info@timberfestival.co.za.

Eden Kite Festival

The Kite Festival takes place at the Eden Lawns fields in Sedgefield on 21 October 2018.

Boasting a spectacular display of kites of all shapes and sizes, the event promises a special day for families and kiting enthusiasts.

When: 21 October 2018

Where: Eden Lawns - Sedgefield

Bookings and info: Contact Belinda Hobson at 044 343 2007/ belinda@visitknysna.co.za.

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Leisure Isle Festival

The Leisure Isle Festival is a craft and food market that encourages the sale of local products.

Expect stalls offering an array of food and drink, fresh produce, arts and crafts, toys, books, indigenous and other plants and many other delights.

There’s also a barrel train and jumping castle for children, doggie walk around the island for all ages, a wheelchair walk along a selected route, and the Knysna Embroiders Guild will return with another exciting exhibition.

“The objective of the Festival is to support the broader community by providing financial support to selected charities and to develop community spirit among all those who attend,” says Knysna Tourism, adding that financial support is provided to five charities as part of the Festival.

When: 3-4 November 2018.

Where: Leisure Island.

Bookings and info: Call 083 754 5390/ 044 384 1896 or email info@leisureislefestival.co.za.

Knysna Extreme Triathlon

Knysna Extreme is a triathlon covering 240km - 4km swim, 170km cycle, 50km run - with an altitude gain of over 3300m.

The route is scenic, yet challenging, taking athletes along the Garden Route, and each athlete is required to have a supporter follow them on the entire route to provide nutritional, motivational and mechanical support.

A first of its kind in Africa, it has attracted local and international athletes, and boasts a unique,  family-feel event.

When: 24 November 2018.

Where: Knysna.

Bookings and info: Contact Sean Sandiford at 073 613 2984 or info@knysnaxtreme.co.za.