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A new Foodie Route has been launched on the Cape West Coast

Taste The West Coast

By Johan Kloppers

An exciting new Foodie Route has been launched on South Africa's West Coast which showcases the myriad of diverse and delicious flavours to be found in this culturally rich area.

Officially being opened by Shadow Minister of Tourism, James Vos, the West Coast Way Foodie Route, which was developed by West Coast Way, is a self-drive circular route with 10 stops – including the West Coast National Park with Geelbek Restaurant; Langebaan; Saldanha Bay; Jacobsbaai; Paternoster and Cape Columbine; St Helena and Shelley Point; Velddrif; the West Coast Fossil Park; Hopefield; and the Thali Thali Game Lodge - encompassing some of the most beautiful and interesting outlying towns and locations on the Cape West Coast and surrounding areas.

The new Foodie Route follows the successful launch of the Culture, Berg and Scenic Routes by West Coast Way – all geared to stimulate economic growth and job creation in the important corridor between Namibia and the Western Cape.

The launch event is a full day excursion that will see guests being taken on a whirlwind trip to experience several highlights of the new route – stopping first at the Thali Thali Game Lodge for a traditional West Coast breakfast and some archery lessons, before progressing to HeronsRest in Velddrif for the official ribbon cutting and a unique Weskus food and Carmién Rooibos tea pairing, and then finishing with oysters at the Protea Hotel Saldanha Bay and a final wrap up at the Saldanha Bay Cultural Village.

“The theme of the launch event, and indeed for the new Foodie Route in general is ‘Culture On My Plate’”, explains Carmen Lerm, founder of West Coast Way. “As Deborah Cater, internationally acclaimed travel writer, reviewer and blogger once said, you have to taste a culture to understand it, and the Foodie Route allows for just that – it showcases the vast array of taste experiences available on the Cape West Coast – from the traditional to the more modern and eclectic options, with something to suite everyone.”

“In my own travels on the Cape West Coast I have learnt about the West Coast culture through experiences such as sitting and chatting to locals in coffee shops; by buying bokkoms and peaches at laden farmstalls; and through stories heard at the Saturday market in Hopefield. The West Coast culture is about giving as much as you can and then some more – and it is no different when it comes to the food. The West Coast Way Foodie Route showcases the relationship between passion, innovation and food.”

James Vos, Shadow Minister of Tourism and a strong advocate for the establishment of routes such as these which make the small towns into viable tourist attractions, says that culinary travel experiences are one of the biggest drivers of tourism and that food has an unparalleled ability to convey a message about the uniqueness of a given place.

“Culinary tourism is an effective tool to create jobs, provide opportunities for small businesses, promote livelihoods for communities and bring South Africans together to share experiences,” says Minister Vos. “This new route will lead to the development of local enterprises, increasing the demand for culinary goods and services, and contribute to much needed employment. Furthermore it must be mentioned that this new route is located within an area of vast natural and cultural beauty.”

About the Foodie Route launch

The starting point for the Foodie Route launch is the Thali Thali Game Lodge, a 1460 hectare game farm and fynbos reserve with a wide range of game like kudu, oryx, giraffe, red hartebeest, eland, zebra, springbok, black wildebeest, duiker, bontebok, steenbok and ostrich.

“Thali Thali’s food is true to the tradition of South African cooking and meals are generous and beautifully presented, says Lerm. “It provides the perfect venue for a traditional West Coast breakfast. From there, HeronsRest was chosen as the venue for the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Foodie Route. It is a restored old farm house, which offers accommodation and a boutique wedding venue, on six hectares of farmland overlooking the Berg River in Velddrif, and the beautiful views and open space away from the hustle and bustle of city life provided the perfect location for the Foodie Route launch and the Carmién Rooibos Tea and food pairing experience.”

Following on from HeronsRest guests will be taken to the Protea Hotel in Saldanha Bay for oysters. “Many people don’t realise that Saldanha Bay is the key producer of oysters and mussels in South Africa,” explains Lerm. “The Protea Hotel is the oldest hotel in Saldanha and has a spectacular location right on the edge of the water – perfect for enjoying a plate full of the freshest oysters possible.”

“Finally, to wrap up the day we will cross the road from the Protea Hotel and make our way to the Saldanha Bay Cultural Village and Museum - historical fishing houses of Hoedjieskop in Saldanha which have been preserved and protected for the future generations. Saldanha is the second oldest town on the West Coast and has a rich and historical heritage with its origins in the natural harbour and fishing industry which spans centuries. History buffs will also love the old cemetery on the hill, with gravestones dating back to the early 1800's.”

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