In following up on my resolution to profile the Eastern Cape and showcase it’s beauty, I kicked off my Chasing Waterfalls Road Trip around the Eastern cape. The plan was to visit 9 recorded waterfalls but that plan changed along the way due to different reasons. Just as I though I was going to have to do it alone but a Friend decided to join me. So the journey began in East London and our first stop was Hogsback where we had planned to see 3 waterfalls but on arrival found out that the other one was not accessible, especially for the type of car we were driving. However that did not stop us from exploring the area and found that there are more waterfalls in the area than what has been recorded.
The following day we made our way to Rhodes where we had set out to see Carlieshoek water fall but due to the terrain and the type of car were driving again we could not make it. We then tried to make our way to Maclear to see Tsitsa Falls but we were told other bad news about the road conditions leading to Maclear from Rhodes. Feeling all kinds of disappointment and sadness we made our way to Mthatha where we spent a night on the newly opened upmarket ‘The Mayfair Hotel’. Early in the morning we made our way to the beautiful, ever green Port St Johns through to Lusikisiki to spend a day at the Magwa Falls where we had a time of our lives.
Of all the waterfalls we visited, Magwa Falls is my favourite, so much that I am making another turn just after the summer rains so that I can capture it’s ultimate beauty. When we arrived at Magwa Falls we were met by a very friendly local named Cingile who acted as our tour guide. He showed us all the great spots to take pictures and finally to the exciting viewing area. Though the place has deteriorated due to the lack of management, it still serves the purpose. The views from there are out of this world, they make you want to pitch a tent right there and then and spend some more days marvelling on the beauty of the falls. We exchanged numbers and on our second visit he will take us inside the gorge to the bottom of the waterfall, isn’t that amazing?
Along the way, I met two people who are in the travel industry who just could not understand why I decided to go chasing watrfalls. They literally laughed at me. This left me with a million questions such as is there a standard list of things to do we are supposed to follow? are we even doing this travel thing right? Have we become that lazy and complacent, with no sense of innovation at all, only fixed on doing what our neighbour is doing? I refuse to be part of that. I am now more than firm in believing in myself and my strategy, I love being unique, not blending in has always been my strongest attribute. I will forever be grateful to those two gentle man for reaffirming my purpose and that I am on the right track. My ‘chasing waterfalls’ journey continues, it is going to get bigger and better as I discover more waterfalls as I go.
I wouldn’t be doing justice if I did not commend the Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency for the good work they are doing in ensuring that in each town there are information centres. I was so impressed to find these offices in even the smallest of towns. However, some offices are not in good shape they did not have any material that could assist with the questions we had, and those were just general questions; there were no brochures at all. Furthermore, there is a need for training for some of the staff as some of them told us they have never been to any of the sites we were visiting and therefore could not assist us in anyway. Some were not even aware of the attractions we mentioned. This gave a negative impression as I believe they should be clued up on such things and should have at least 60% capacity to assist the travellers as they are the custodians of tourism in their respective areas.
My biggest awakening for me was finding out that the Eastern Cape had so much to offer than what is really recorded, a job for all of us in the travel and tourism industry to work on. As a result I have challenged myself to record all the waterfalls in the Eastern Cape, big or small. I have also come to realise that sometimes people want to explore our province but are met with challenges like road conditions and lack of information which then again hinder the good work that is being done. A favourable infrastructure is all that we ask for as it goes a long way in bringing tourists to our province and therefore boosting its economy. Having said all that, I still remain resolute in my quest to uncover the Eastern Cape and chase waterfalls until none is left unknown, #khenkethamzansi.