Plett Tourism and WESGRO host Cape Tour Guide Association as part of the Cradle of Human Culture Tour
Words by Wandisile Sebezo
Plett Tourism in partnership with the WESGRO hosted 31 tour guides from the Cape Tour Guide Association (CTGA) during their tour of the Cradle of Human Culture. The Garden Route section of the tour started in Stilbaai, where they visited the Blombos Cave.
They then made their way to St Blaze Cave in Mossel Bay which was followed by a trip into Plettenberg Bay to visit Nelson Bay Cave (also known as Nelsons Cave) at Robberg Nature Reserve. On the last day, they proceeded to Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn.
On arriving in Plett on the 23rd of March, the guides and their organisers were treated to a dinner at Adi’s Kitchen on Plett’s Main Street, conveniently located in the same location as their accommodation – the Bayview Hotel.
The dinner presentation included an overview of the history of Plettenberg Bay and Robberg Peninsula, presented by local historian Mike Kantey. The next morning the group was up bright and early for a guided tour of Nelson Bay Cave at Robberg Nature Reserve.
“Plettenberg Bay has a fascinating history. Nelson Bay Cave holds some of the early evidence of our journey as humans, we are excited to be part of the Cradle of Human Culture. It’s an important palaeontological site and a unique selling point for our town,” comments Patty Butterworth (CEO Plett Tourism).
Upon completion of their visit to Plett, we had a chat with two of their representatives; Chairman, Jeremy Howard, and Administrative Manager, Felicity Poggenpoel.
This is how it went:
1. CTGA background and a brief history
The Cape Tourist Guides Association is a membership-based association comprising tourist guides and associate members (who are generally businesses in tourism). We are a registered NPO and have a programme of activities (including workshops and educational trips) that is of benefit to the tourist guide, and to build a body of knowledge while raising the level of professionalism within the guiding sector. The association was formed in the 1980s by like-minded tourist guides and has expanded to what we are today.
Our vision is to be the eminent guiding association within the Western Cape Province. We achieve this through our programme of activities and fundraising, and through our co-operation with professional bodies and government institutions.
2. Why the cradle of human culture to visit?
The Cradle of Human Culture was launched in April 2019, and it is a route that takes us back 160 000 years to the origin of humans. The Coastal Journey enhances what we currently have in the Garden Route and expands the narrative that we as tourist guides can convey to our guests. Apart from visiting the actual sites, we also measure how activities, restaurants, and accommodation can be incorporated into the route and thus benefit on a greater scale. We establish the cooperation of tourist guides close to and at the sites to not only enhance employment in the areas but also to add value to the tourist traveling through the area.
3. Your view of Plett in general
Plett is a jewel in the Garden Route filled with opportunities to get active and learn about our collective history and culture. It is a laidback place while still enjoying the comforts of a big city. This area is a great stop to recharge before continuing a journey East or West, North or South.
4. Advise where LTO’s like Plett Tourism can improve as it relates to CTGA’s work.
We would love to have a central contact where tourist guides can naturally gravitate towards information and structural support. The ideal is for LTOs to work in collaboration with the CTGA to distribute and disseminate information to all tourist guides within the province. Our collective aim is to market the area and raise the level of guiding within the area, whilst also being an enabling environment for the creation of employment opportunities for guides.
If we could collaborate on achieving those aims then we would be well on our way to building the body of knowledge within the guiding sector. I would suggest hosting a quarterly CTGA chapter meeting at an appropriate venue and allowing us to use your infrastructure to host virtual meetings when these occur. Involvement in any of our fundraising would be welcome.
For more information about Nelson Bay Cave and the Cradle of Human Culture, visit www.pletttourism.com.