Tragically two firefighters lost their lives, 13 homes were destroyed and about 500 residents were evacuated in what has been the most devastating blaze in the peninsula since 2000. Our thanks go out to the brave firefighters, volunteers and unsung heroes who eventually managed to extinguish the blaze after a week long battle. This tragedy will no doubt have an effect on tourists and operators alike, as many of the hiking and mountain biking trails have been destroyed and no doubt Chapman’s Peak will be prone to closure, particularly when the winter rains arrive.
As far as the fynbos is concerned however, this fire is far from being a disaster. Fynbos requires regular burning for it to flourish (optimal fire cycle is 10 – 14 years) with fire acting as a trigger to germinate dormant seeds and provide stimulus for annuals, perennials and bulbs to grow. On recent Peninsula tours I have already noticed an abundance of Watsonias which are quick to flourish after a fire. Within six months and particularly after the rains and the onset of spring we can expect the fynbos to provide a spectacular display of colour from the mass flowering of bulbs, certainly something positive to celebrate and look forward to from a tourism perspective.
Whilst on the subject of positive things,..African Hoopoe Tours have enjoyed a particularly encouraging 2015 thus far, having driven in excess of 14000 km on tours and clocking up over 5000 km’s of air travel between Jan and March. During the same period we took 47 bookings (mainly tours) and our services were employed by 15 different agents. Apart from our recent 21 day national tour (including Zimbabwe) we have been running regular peninsula, winelands and garden route tours as well as some incentive tours to local safari lodges and reserves. A particular highlight was being contracted to operate a showcase tour of Cape Town for 10 travel agents,..needless to say their entire party was absolutely blown away by the Mother City and feedback was really positive.
As mentioned in our previous blog, plans are also well underway to add a new Namibia, Botswana and Zambia tour to our list of packages, more information on this and our upgraded motorcycle tours soon. In closing we would like to thank all of our tourism partners and customers for their support in 2015 thus far and look forward to“Creating Unique Experiences” for one and all in the coming months.