Trail runner Craig Smith enjoys one of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival trails during last year's festival. Photo: Jacques Marais
KNYSNA NEWS - Following the enormous global interest and recent success of the international adventure race Expedition Africa held on the Garden Route, the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is proud to announce the inclusion of Trail Town in this year’s festival, from July 1 to 10.
Knysna tourism entity Knysna & Partners’ chief executive Greg Vogt says, “Knysna Tourism conceptualised the slogan #TrailTownSA when we recognised that trail towns are recognised in the USA and Europe as towns with leading trails to hike, run and cycle.
“This is an easily recognisable term referencing our town’s leadership in being a destination to explore our many trails, whether they be on the coast, in the forests or on the mountain’s edge. We are the #TrailTown of South Africa.”
Trail Town showcases some of the most pristine trails in and around the Knysna area. One of these trails, the well-established Featherbed Trail Run offers participants the unique opportunity to enjoy the combination of a ferry trip across the Knysna estuary, a run up Knysna’s Western Head, through the privately owned Featherbed Nature Reserve, a crossing of the old famous railway bridge, and finally the opportunity to indulge in a hot meal served at Knysna’s much-acclaimed Cruise Café.
Magnetic South, organisers of this Festival Trail Town, have added a range of new events to the Oyster Festival calendar: this year expect the Simola Phantom Night Run, Casper Kids Adventure Run and the Free Range events, which allow participants the freedom to choose when they want to complete the trail.
• The Simola Phantom Night Run guarantees to stimulate the senses of all trail runners. Besides running on a dark New Moon night with nothing but the illumination of headlamps, participants will hear the Voices of the Forest performed by local opera singers scattered within the forest. These beautiful voices will be heard singing arias and songs from different operas and composers throughout the race.
“Imagine running through a dark forest following the shine of your torch, your breath rising in visible puffs in the cool night air, your steps on the forest floor and in the distance the dramatic voice of the Phantom of the Opera intensifying as you push on,” said race organiser Mark Collins.
The Phantom Night Run is not only for seasoned trail runners but welcomes all active forest, night and classical music lovers of all ages. These 6 or 12km night runs (or walks) take place on Saturday, July 2 at 17:00. Once safely back from this nocturnal experience, participants will be hosted in the warmth of Simola clubhouse where they will be spoilt with a steaming hot meal.
• While the adults are out enjoying the musical, nocturnal forest experience of the Phantom Night Run, children 6 to 12 year old have their own adventure race to look forward to, the Casper Kids Adventure Run.
These youngsters will race in their own age groups along the specially designed adventure and exploration trail at Simola Hotel Country Club & Spa. Once completed, each child will receive a Busy Sprogs activity pack and will be kept busy in a safe and warm environment with loads of activities. These include face painting, storytelling and the viewing of Casper the Friendly Ghost movie. All Casper Kids Adventure Run participants will also receive a hot snack while they wait for their parents to complete the Simola Phantom Night Run experience.
• Trail Town offers a further three pristine trails, hosted by both SANParks and Cape Nature, during the festival, known as the Free Range events. These short-distance trails vary between 6 and 8km and are open to the Free Range competition on six consecutive days during the oyster festival.
Participants have the freedom to roam these three trails at their leisure on any day and at any time. They will however be timed and ranked against all other free-roaming outdoor enthusiasts over the six-day period. Their ranking and prizes will be published and awarded at the end of the week. “So watch the weather, consider your hangovers and be spontaneous to roam freely in Knysna’s forest haven,” said Collins.
• The Houtkapper Trail Runs is another event that panders to the need for forest trail running. This event, organised by Knysna Marathon Club, takes place in the heart of Rheenendal’s Goudveld indigenous forest on Sunday, July 10.
It takes place at Quita Da Montanha that offers massive open fields, where organisers aim to keep the entire family and supporters well entertained and taken care of while they enjoy the beauty of the Knysna forest before and after running the picturesque Houtkapper Trail Runs.
These trail runs offer 9km, 15km and 27km routes that take athletes through the indigenous forests made famous by Dalene Matthee (the late author of Circles in the Forest, Fiela’s Child and Moerbeibos, among others). Athletes will pass through Krisjan-se-Nek (where Mathee’s ashes were scattered), the Dalene Mathee Memorial and the site of the 880-year-old yellowwood tree known as the Dalene Matthee Big Tree.
The 15km and 27km routes have been chosen to challenge the intermediate to experienced trail runners, and to provide them with an opportunity to experience the deepest secrets at the heart of the Knysna forest.
Although the 9km Houtkapper Trail Run traverses an easier route for the beginner, it still offers all the beauty of forest trail running.
* For further information or to enter any of the Houtkapper Trail Run routes, visit the Knysna Marathon Club website on www.knysnamarathonclub.com, or call Mihan Roos on 082-537-6167. Details on the festival’s full programme, event details, registration and ticket costs can be obtained from www.pnpoysterfestival.co.za.
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