A GROUP of 23 tourists from the Netherlands are presently visiting our part of the world. Umtamvuna scribe, Philippa Makepeace, had the privilege of spending some time with them and reports they are the essence of enthusiasm and ‘zest of life’. The average age of the group is about 70, the oldest turning 80 in a few weeks. All have toured extensively, but find South Africa one of the best destinations.
The South Coast is their first stop, staying at TO Resort for two and a half weeks where they are being looked after by manager Seef Botha and his wife Lynette. Marion de Deugd of Margate Mini Coach has been appointed to drive the group all over and has endeared herself to her charges by going beyond the call of duty from sewing on buttons to booking restaurants.
The Dutch group is not on an official tour, but arrived here with no pre-planned outings. Their unofficial tour leader is Ans Bloemsma from Veldhoven, who toured the Cape with 17 of the group last year. She does a great job in motivating the group and instigated an ‘en masse’ Macarena demonstration on the Spell-bound Gambler booze cruise on the Umtamvuna. The group has visit-ed schools and the clin-ic at Thongasi, some have been diving at Shelly Beach, they’ve visited Oribi Gorge, the Crocodile Farm and the fossil caves at Mzamba. Still on their agenda is the Fish Eagle hike in the Umtamvuna, a visit to the Space Centre and a tour of a local banana farm.
They were also thrilled to have a personal visit from Princess Nombuso Nzimak-we and the Thongasi school children who came to sing and dance for them. The group leaves to spend 10 days in the Drakensberg on Friday and when the six-week tour is over, six of the members will stay on to visit St Lucia and the Cape. With an energetic, lively group like this one realizes how much one takes our beautiful area for granted. They enthuse about every-thing from the lush vegetation to the spectacular electric storm out to sea. They think the South Coast is marvelous and I must agree.