I’ve never been to Newcastle. I’ve been through it, I have heard of it and I can point it out on a map. I have never been to, what one could describe as a town, before this trip.
Again I will comment that one of the reasons these #WeDoTourism trips are so important is because WE ARE REALLY doing Tourism. I’m discovering parts of my own Country that I would possibly never have on my own.
Not that travel isn’t what I live for, but that we all have “ideas” in our heads about certain places. When you go somewhere you maybe wouldn’t have picked, often you’re left surprised.
The night we arrived we, checked in with ease and had a lovely dinner at the Vulintaba Country & Golf Estate. If there is one thing the chefs can make at Vulintaba it’s Malva Pudding. I feel like they need an award congratulating them on their Malva Pudding skills! Wow!
The next day we woke up bright and early, I wanted to catch the sunrise from my balcony, which I did. I was also lucky enough to watch a few rather large hares run across the golf course under the early light of morning.
After indulging in a full breakfast we all met in the reception area, ready for our Tourism Month celebrations with our fellow Media, MECS, Councillors, Property Owners and Locals.
Including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Newcastle, the Chairperson of Economic Development, and the Acting CEO of Tourism KZN.
The celebrations were to be hosted on site at Vulintaba in a marquee on the golf course.
Starting off the celebrations was an re-inactment by the Dundee Diehards one of the first re-inactment groups, in South Africa. Gavin narrarated the re-inactment for us, as he also explained that they’re an NPO group who is hoping to encourage more people to take an interest in South Africa’s history.
Gavin fears that soon these will only be memories of the past, which future generations will not only have an interest in but furthermore access too.
After watching the re-inactment we were treated to a lesson in beadwork. I would have loved to have told you all about the different meanings behind the colors but one area where this event did fall short, is that 95% of it was hosted in Zulu. With no translators present.
While the guests were a mix of nations, something we as South Africans are ever boastful about. I took the initiative to ask my fellow guests about a few things, but was saddened that many of us, did miss a lot of the messages and meanings behind certain activities.
There was a nice crowd interaction when the lady teaching us about beads, asked for 3 volunteers to join her on stage. The winner, would win a 2 night stay at ANY 1-4star accomodation for 2 pax in Kwa Zulu Natal! With activties and meals. Quite the prize!!!.
There was a local band called Nu Tunes who entertained us during the events, they seemed to have two different vocalists who would swop throughout the event, which I thought was musically innovative and made for a diverse mix of sounds.
We also had a student by the name of Lerato speak to us about Tourism and it’s origins. While I did feel that the talk she gave us was possibly straight off the internet, there were a few things that we learnt.
- Do you know who Thomas Cook is?
- Do you know the significance of July 5th 1841?
Thomas Cook is a name every traveller should know, and every person working in Tourism. For on the 5th of July 1841, 32 year old Cook, set off on his first rail excursion. The first mass Tourism travel adventure.
We also heard from a second student of the same name, who is a GM of one of the products in Newcastle. She explained to us, how working at the young age of 21 and having larger responsibilities on her shoulders, has encouraged her to invest in both herself and her town.
We were told by various esteemed members that the main focus on New Castle is to grow their Tourism, and to educate and involve their youth in this process.
The area itself is rich with South African Heritage, and is not only the 3rd largest City in Kwa Zulu Natal but the 10th largest City in Southern Africa. And Newcastle does not stand alone.
- Did you know that Newcastle a steel factory founded town is a sister city to hundreds of other Newcastle towns around the world?
- Did you know that Newcastle towns around the world have their own secret passport society?
- Their own travel discount clubs?
- Their own coat of arms?
Now you do. When I say Newcastle is a small town, I wasn’t referring mainly to it’s size, but actually of its community.
It reminds me of an old town, where the Mayor also owns the hardware store and your teacher also heads up the local library. It’s like a town from a novel.
Having said that, we were also reminded that it is host to one of the best Olympic swimming pools in the Country, so if you see our man Chad Le Clos doing things, don’t be surprised. And furthermore home to the Winterfest and many National and Provincial Sporting events.
Oh and we got to taste some of these delights called Amagwinya also called The Zulu Burger once it has Ingrediants in it.
It’s a town that surprises you. It was only Day 1 and already I had learned so much more in one sitting than, I have ever known about Newcastle.
As much as it’s important to #Travel. It’s also important to share your travels.
We need to see and experience areas, cities, countries and this world through each others eyes.
Look out for my next post, where I talk about our #WeDoTourism visit to Haggards House in Newcastle.
And As Always….