GQ outdoors summer is here
Thursday, 23rd November 2023
By Marguerite Smit
Summer is undoubtedly the best season, EVER. Fight me on this! When the alarm rings, the sun is already shining her way into your life, jumping out of bed is easier, finding your toothbrush has a higher success rate, and where did all those birds tuning you come from? It’s that time of year again, flipflops rule, the days seem endless, and evenings stay lit up well into the night, and then tomorrow it all starts again, just a little bit earlier. What to do with all that extra time? Time to go OUTDOORS. Time for some GQ sunbeams.
And where to start? How about the “life’s short – catch a tan” crew? Yep, Sunday River Adventures https://sundaze.co.za and Addo sandsledding is going to work your tan for you, whether its blasting down a sand dune, paddling upriver, or a gentle cruise down the river to perfect that cocktail offering. They even have a sunrise cruise, what better way to start the day than with Sunday’s River Ferry? https://addocruises.co.za/
And if you’re down that end of GQ (kinda aka Nelson Mandela Bay), it’s a short hop skip and jump (about 3km’s) into Addo’s southern gate via Colchester, and then SANParks Matyholweni Rest Camp https://www.sanparks.org/parks/addo/camps/matyholweni/. What better way to keep those sunbeams streaming than sharing some down time with elephants, malachite sunbirds (sun… birds - is the theme of this blog becoming clearer?), and a dung beetle or two? And getting to the southern Addo gate is a breeze, head north on the N2, and take the first left in Colchester after crossing the Sundays River.
Ok, it’s been a tough year, loadshedding isn’t lighting up our lives or Christmas trees, there’s still a major COVID-19 financial burden that most families and businesses are still trying to recover from, and those Christmas lists are now into the final negotiation phase with the banks. So budget-wise activities this coming summer could be a priority?
Did you know that access to every single beach on the GQ coastline is free? Free parking, free toilet facilities, free snorkelling, free boogey-boarding, free open-water swimming, and free peals of laughter. GQ remains one of the most affordable beach destinations South Africa has to offer. The ocean is warm, the sand dunes magnificent, and our beaches stretch for miles. In theory you could walk from Sardinia Bay to Jeffries… for free. In practice, dragging the family that distance may drop your favourite parent standing, so instead how about you up that rating by taking the family to a different beach every day for 20 days running? By the end of that 20-day beach break, you will still not have covered all our beaches along our 102km long coastline. Or you could keep it tighter and keep the family alternating between our three Blue Flag beach (Kings, Humewood, and Hobie Beach). And if going beyond the breakers is your thing, there is a large open water swimming community that swims daily, and a very active lifesaving, paddling, SUP, and surfing community that will gladly show you the ropes and the Goldilocks spots. Also check in with https://prodivepe.co.za to access some of the best underwater reefs in the world, yep not kidding, in the world. They’ve got some great deals running, and also have a kayak-hiring option.
Talking of venturing out beyond your comfort zone, Swim-Adventures powered by Blu_ Smooth have started a monthly ‘mental health swim’ in GQ (see https://swim-adventures.com/mental-health-swims-2/). The dips-not-distance activity is a community outreach, based on the UK model of which GQ has started the first South African branch. The mental health swim (as in improving your mental health by de-stressing in the ocean) is open to people from all walks of life, it’s about community not competition, and again is FREE of charge. Follow them on Facebook and Insta for upcoming swim dates. They are hosting one on Dec 10 at 08:30, the group meets at Wayne Pheiffer Cycles before heading down to the beach together.
And wait for it, your ain’t done with that OUTDOOR activity list. If you head inland, we have over ten local nature reserves for you to explore. A new offering is that there are now eleven Green Flag hiking (read easy-walking) trails available to explore both on foot and via mountain bike in those reserves. You can read more about those options here: https://www.pembba.co.za/articles/gq-the-city-of-flags-08-2023-1f
The Van Stadens Flower reserve especially (it’s a close tie with Cape Recife reserve as to my favourite) offers amazing hiking, easy biking trails, and… sunbirds. And there’s a nearby market at Crossways just across the Van Staden’s Bridge. The Crossways Village Market is a local craft market full of energy, vibe, and unique shopping. Live music, kiddie’s activities, food options galore - 𝐍𝐞𝐱𝐭 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭𝐬: 𝐒𝐮𝐧 𝟐𝟔 𝐍𝐨𝐯 / 𝟑 𝐃𝐞𝐜 / 𝟏𝟔-𝟏𝟕 𝐃𝐞𝐜
Talking about live music, because you know the sun does eventually go down and you may need to recharge those reserves, keep an eye on Music Kitchen and Remos who are both bringing in some epic musicians over the holiday season. Music Kitchen’s line-up includes Roan Ash, Radio Kalahari Orkes, Arno Carsten, and Jesse Clegg just to name a few. Remos is drawing Karen Zoid & Henry Steel in an intimate setting on 14 December. The Werk_ space that Remos is housed in is filled with artists, crafters, brewers and distillers, for unique Xmas shopping remember to include this on your route. Chicky’s Yard for example, is offering a free screening of “The last shark documentary” on 07 December (find the details here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100094770198789). Note although the movie is free, you do need to reserve a slot by booking a ticket on Quicket.
All in all, GQ outdoors will not disappoint - this seaside town with a village smile offers something unique and affordable that suits every pocket. Go, get out there – don’t let the sunshine wait for you! Your family will thank you for the best beach break EVA!!