Editor’s letter: playtime is a very good word

Posted on 25 July 2017

Keep learning new things, says Sonya Schoeman, as she ticks off another first: canoeing in Khayelitsha.

School was always best when it wasn’t school as usual, I’m sure you’ll agree. This applies today too: work is more enjoyable out the office. So one morning I got up early for an Airbnb experience in Khayelitsha called Sport is Power.

Stanford River, December 2014

We didn’t want to risk getting our phones wet. This pic is from a different trip, in Stanford. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Like true Capetonians, my friend Nicole and I arrived 45 minutes late (thanks, Apple Maps). Ayanda Cuba and Buntu Matole were gracious nonetheless: it takes time to get anything good up and running, and they’ve certainly put time in. They were introducing us to the latest addition to their network, canoeing down the Kuils River. You might be surprised to hear that there’s a canoeing club in Khayelitsha. It’s been going since 2013 and was started by Siyanda Sopangisa and his brother Akhona. At first, the take-up wasn’t big, they said. People used to use the river as a dumping ground for tyres, baths and a whole lot worse. The brothers began cleaning it up. People and children wanted to play on this green belt that runs along the highway, said Siyanda. As we set off on our paddle a tumble of children run alongside to prove that point.

Later, the city council helped thin out the overgrown reeds, home now to a host of birdlife, too. Sport is Power’s goal is to turn this and all of Khayelitsha into Cape Town’s biggest outdoor adventure area, for tourists but most importantly for their own. Along the river there’s a path that women were too afraid to use because izigebengu would hide in the reeds, waiting to prey on them. Now the reeds have been cut back, it’s safer. If the area also became a vibrant play space for children, it would grow healthier people – experts tell us play is important for skill and social development, creativity and imagination. And play in green areas also grows a strong connection to nature and the outdoors.

Talking of water, another social activist is Dr Kevin Winter from UCT’s Future Water project. Eight years ago he, began the Peninsula Paddle to raise awareness of the health of waterways, ones just like Khayelitsha’s Kuils River section. We’re all connected by our waterways, he says, and the healthier they are, the healthier the communities along them will be. The more invested people are in these green belts, the cleaner we’ll keep them, plus they can foster tourist initiatives and job creation.

Travel with a purpose is an amazing way to get out into the world, meet new people and keep learning. We hope that this issue, which is all about big, try-something-new adventures, inspires your next journey.


4 things to look out for in the August issue

Educational Escapes

Ever wanted to learn how to pick mushrooms that won’t kill you, or tell the difference between lion and leopard tracks, or even (shudder) how to kill a bunny to eat? We did these things. Turn to page 88.


Northern Cape Riches

It looks like nothing happens in the vast Northern Cape landscape, says Welcome Lishivha, and then you fall in love with it. He and Melanie van Zyl had an adventure of a lifetime there (page 68).

It’s Flower Season

August signals that time of year when the Western Cape’s flora comes out for playtime. For inspiration, look at Peter Chadwick’s exquisite portfolio on page 62.

Look out for the Great-Value Star

Each issue of Getaway has several inexpensive accommodation options, places to stay for under R550 pp (some for less) and that we think offer good value.


This month’s contributors

Peter Chadwick, Cape fynbos, page 62

Peter is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. For him, there’s no better creative space than in the fynbos, getting up close to its incredible diversity and examining the intricacy of the flowers. He is awed by looking at the finer details of fynbos, which makes him want to know more about the special and unique floral kingdom on our southern shores.

Natalie Roos, Iceland, page 96

Natalie thought that ticking Iceland (pictured below) off her bucket list would keep her travel fever at bay for a couple of months. She was wrong. She’s also planning trips to Réunion, the South of France and the USA for the rest of 2017. Cuba is also on her list, where she can’t wait to eat her body weight in local food, have her boyfriend take pictures of her casually leaning against vintage cars and dance until the sun comes up.

Carla Geyser, Nairobi to Joburg, page 48

As the founder of the Blue Sky Society Trust, which raises funds for people and animals in need, Carla has spearheaded three successful expeditions into Africa over the past few years. Her passion for adventure and exploration took her recently on an an-all female road trip from South Africa to Kenya to create awareness of the plight of elephants.

Welcome Lishivha, Mozambique, page 80 and Northern Cape, page 68

Having recently learnt to ride a bicycle and to swim, Getaway’s Welcome went to southern Mozambique to ride on pristine beaches, where he was rewarded with fantastic swims. Swept up in his enthusiasm to keep pushing his limits through new adventures, our multimedia journalist also paddled on the Orange River while on assignment to find the Northern Cape’s gems.


Read the full story in the August 2017 issue of Getaway magazine.

Get this issue →

Our August issue features 14 Northern Cape treasures, a trip along Mozambique’s pristine beaches on a fat-bike, holidays to take if you want to learn a new skill and so much more. 


yoast-primary - 1010886
tcat - Opinions
tcat_slug - opinions
tcat2 - Opinions
tcat2_slug - opinions
tcat_final - editor-letters