Journalists take a jaunt on the Outeniqua Country Hop Route

Cathy Dippnall –

The Outeniqua Tourism Association (OTA) in George played host to a group of Eastern and Southern Cape journalists last weekend.

Journalists from the Eastern Cape branch of the South African Freelancers Association enjoying the wines provided by cellar mistress Ingrid Scheepers

The journalists, members of the Eastern Cape (including Garden Route) and Free State branch of the South African Freelancers Association (Safrea) decided to hold their AGM in George and explore the hidden tourist delights of the Outeniqua Country Hop Route.

Michael Cooke, chairman of the OTA and his wife Sandra provided the journalists with a jam-packed itinerary starting with a gourmet dinner and a peek into the luxurious Hyatt Regency Hotel at Ou Baai.
After the AGM on Saturday at Redberry Farm in Geelhoutboom, it is was all eyes down to strawberry picking  after a miniature train ride and a walk into the centre of a strawberry-shaped maze. After a lovely lunch and lots of strawberry juice, it was off to visit Elsa Hall’s extraordinary collection of orchids at Outeniqua Orchids in Blanco before heading up the Outeniqua Pass on the way to Herold.

A storm announced the arrival of the journalists at Herold Wines, a welcomerelief after the sun and scorching temperatures in George earlier in the day.

Owner and viticulturist Vivien Harpur explained the art and craft of boutique wine making while the journalists tasted generous amounts of the John Platter accredited beverage, including a vegetarian-friendly wine.

The day was rounded off by a delightful evening sitting under the stars at Leila’s Arms, while enjoying a Mongolian braai. The two-day visit ended with cheese tasting and a game of ‘Klompengolf’ at Silver Lily Farm in Geelhoutboom before heading off on the long drive (for some) home.

(Safrea is an association whose aim is to raise the professional standing of freelancers in the media field, and promotes professional standards and ethical conduct by both freelancers and their clients. For more information go to:

[Words & Picture: Cathy Dippnall member of E Cape & Free State Safrea]

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