By Debbi Dale, Gaynor Portsmouth and Shirley SpeedPhotos by Kusjka du Plessis Photography, Tel:078 781 7682 www.kdp.photography
Three girlfriends, Debbi, Shirley and Gaynor were sitting around Debbi’s table on Blueberry Hill, St Helena Bay, one cold evening in May 2014, heartily quaffing a Pinotage. At the end of the evening they agreed unanimously that most venues, artists and crafters in St Helena Bay could benefit from being part of a bigger vision that would draw more tourists.
The next day they still felt passionately that they wanted to provide a warm West Coast experience for the tourist, showcasing a varied array of local arts, crafts, decor and hospitality, provided by a collective of creative and hospitable people, working together in a spirit of true co-operation.
And so the West Coast Meander – St Helena Bay was created. Within the next few months they secured an enthusiastic sponsor, Harcourts West Coast Blu Bay’s, giving them naming rights in return for their commitment to finance the project. They also approached Ryno Spence, who designed the beautiful map, and delivered outstanding work with his creation of “Heleena” the Atlantic Merwoman. Every detail of “Heleena” is hand painted.
Gavin Hofmeester, Tourism Manager SBTO, umbrella body for West Coast Peninsula Tourism, commented ,”tourism is the new gold in our economy and St Helena Bay is one of its nuggets on the West Coast, with a rich heritage and culture that will be showcased through the eyes of the mesmerising Merwoman, ‘Heleena’. We welcome this initiative and believe that it will release the enormous potential within St Helena Bay.”
Each of the twenty-three contributors in the categories of restaurants, coffee shops, delicatessens, gifts and decor, artists, photographers, jewellery designers, art galleries, health and wellness and clothing design, are plotted geographically on the front of the map and listed alphabetically, with their contact details, on the back.
Three thousand A4 full-colour maps were made available to visitors from 3 December 2014 through the following distribution points:
- Accommodation venues in St Helena Bay
- Art, craft and decor shops, coffee shops, restaurants in St Helena Bay
- Tourism offices in St Helena Bay, Paternoster, Vredenburg, Velddrif
- Goodie bags on “Welcome the Visitor Day” St Helena Bay, Paternoster, Vredenburg , Saldanha, Jacobsbaai
- Tourism shows such as The Getaway Show, lndaba, Die Beeld Show
- At Harcourts West Coast Blu Bay Offices in St Helena Bay (official sponsor)
For further information. please contact the co-founder of West Coast Meander – St Helena Bay, Debbi Dale, on 071 362 7078 (Mon to Fri, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or firstname.lastname@example.org.