1. Our slackpacking trails continued to operate satisfactorily during the year. The new Gabriel Trail operated for the full year and has been well received. The Cederberg 100 Trail, which is an eight night/seven day trail of about 100km, was inaugurated in August 2012 by two teams of six hikers. One group walked from north to south, starting at the Pakhuis Pass and ending at the Driehoek Tourist Farm. The other group did the trail in reverse. Both groups experienced some very wet, cold weather, but they were not deterred from completing the hike, albeit with some changes in routing to avoid swollen rivers. The participants agreed that the Cederberg 100 was a very interesting and manageable trail and should be included in our portfolio of trails. It will be offered only in the north to south direction.
The large fires in the northern Cederberg early in 2013 caused Cape Nature to close all the hiking paths in that area until further notice. As a result, for the time being, we have had to cease operations on all of our trails except the Gabriel Trail, which operates in the central Cederberg which was not burnt. However, the Wupperthal Trail is now available again, using a somewhat different routing for Day 2 in order to avoid the burnt areas.
2. The results for the year ending 28 February 2013 showed a considerable improvement on the previous year, but our trails are still very under utilised as can be seen from the numbers below. We are busy with a campaign to advertise our trails to as many hiking clubs in South Africa as we can reach. We have not yet made any significant impression on the potential overseas market and welcome any suggestions.
Only 104 persons walked our trails, we sold 389 bed-nights and the income to our Service Providers was R249 914.
3. The comparative results for the last five years were 08/09, 268 bed-nights and R118 807, 09/10, 319 bed-nights and R171 911, 10/11, 378 bed-nights and R227 336, 11/12, 225 bed-nights and R157 849, 12/13, 389 bed-nights and R249 914, making a total of 1579 bed-nights and R925 817.
4. Cedarberg African Travel has continued to provide a central reservation office for our Trails and to co-ordinate the activities of the many local Service Providers. I thank them for their efficient and enthusiastic support. We couldn’t operate without them.
5. A second weekend guide training camp was run for us by the Cape Leopard Trust and held on 1 to 3 February 2013 at Matjiesrivier. It went off very well. Feedback from attendees was very positive. We hope that this will become an annual event.
6. Our website, www.cedheroute.co.za, contains full information on all our trails as well as a page that advertises the Donkey Cart Trails, the guest house accommodation available in the various Moravian villages, contact details for each village and hiking highlights in each area. During the year there were articles about the Cederberg Heritage Route in Getaway magazine and Go magazine and in the July 2013 issue of Country Life there is an extensive article about the Cederberg 100 Trail.
7. There has been a concern that Cape Nature permits for day hikes in the Cederberg Wilderness are not available in the Moravian Church area of the eastern Cederberg nor, over weekends, in Clanwilliam in the west. Cape Nature have now agreed to allow Heuningvlei Tourism to issue permits, under the necessary conditions. They will also try to find a way of making permits available in Clanwilliam at weekends.
8. The Management Committee has met three times since the last AGM.
9. I would like to thank the Moravian Church for providing the venue for our meetings, the committee members for all their efforts and the Service Providers for their enthusiastic support.
Chairman. 12 July 2013.