Sunday Times, 3 March 2009
by Paul Ash
Every now and then you stumble across an idea that is so simple it stops you in your tracks. Such as as travelling by donkey cart.
Imagine seeing the world slide by at a somnambulant five kilometres clip-clop an hour. In a world gone mad for speed, that would be bliss. Add points if yours is the only vehicle on the road.
And there’s the rub: there are scant places in the world where you can clip-clop along on an empty road and under a big sky. Now, I’m happy to say, I’ve found such a place, and it’s right here in our happy republic, in Nieu Bethesda, to be precise, where a local man named Jakop van Staaden has been running donkey cart tours of his town and country for some time.
Van Staaden offers three simple routes: a tour of the village, a township tour, and a day and night donkey cart camping trip — which, apparently, is not for the faint of heart.
Back in town, artist Freddy Jacobs has another simple idea: he teaches local kids — and interested visitors — how to make artworks out of recycled tins, wire, cement, mirrors and pebbles. His works — from candleholders to crosses and wire radios — are sold locally, and his work is a ray of hope in a region where unemployment is high.
Like I said – simple and clean and self-sustaining. We need more of that kind of tourism here.
To book a donkey cart tour, call 0027 (0)72-937-9831, and to enrol in an arts course, phone 0027-(0)72-301-8630.