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Published: October 4th 2015
We have been in Sedgefield for a whole week so it's probably time for me to tell you about it. The town trumpets itself as "Africa's first slow town". This might be an accolade appreciated by the local tortoises but I'm not sure it's the best way of marketing to tourists. Sedgefield occupies a beautiful position on the Garden Route, very close to Knysna. Unlike it's more bustling neighbour, Sedgefield has a more relaxed pace of life. Looking at the people in the supermarket sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking that it is a retirement community.
The truth is that Sedgefield is actually a very popular destination with people of all ages. There are certainly plenty of young families around. The beach is a wide open expanse of sand and the waves rolling in are sufficient for water sports, though the tides can be treacherous. A little further inland is a lagoon. The lagoon is flanked on one side by the town and on the other by large sandy hills. When the mouth of the lagoon is open it is pleasant to swim, though you need to be careful of the very strong rip currents and the tide coming
in (we misjudged it and only just got off the beach!) Beyond the town are hills; the start of the Knysna Forest. From these paragliders jump to catch the thermals. Over the holiday weekend there have been dozens of these adrenalin junkies in the skies.
Much of the area is a wildlife reserve where they are making efforts to conserve the wildlife. The lagoon hosts herons and many other species. From the family's holiday home we hear the constant sound of different birds and have seen several types, including the bright yellow Weaver Bird which has built unique nests in the trees in the garden. Also in the garden we have spotted at least one tortoise and the largest snail I've ever seen.
The town itself lies along both sides of the N2, the national road that forms the Garden Route. On one side is a line of quaint old shops selling antiques, second-hand goods and bric-a-brac. There is also a scattering of small foods shops. At the end of this row is a restaurant, Marcello, which Sharon took us to to celebrate our anniversary. Their speciality is a Portugese dish, "Espatarda", and is a skewer of excellent
quality beef hanging above a bowl of chips or vegetables. We really enjoyed this.
Behind this row of shops lies the disused railway, complete with its charming little station. The line is overgrown but Lindsey remembers trains running on it. It is sad to see infrastructure wasted like this.
On the opposite side of the N2 lies more shops, these situated in squares, giving them a more welcoming feel. Here is the supermarket and bottle store, a petrol station, a butchers and bakers and various other conveniences. Most of the shops close at 1 o'clock on a Saturday which is a bit frustrating, especially when a wifi fix is required (however just outside of the town is a Wimpy with excellent wifi).
Each Saturday this sleepy town hosts the most vibrant market I've ever been to. This is in three parts: The Wild Oats Market, which sells mainly fresh produce and cooked foods; the Scarab craft market which has some lovely local crafts, including a wonderful artisan wood workshop; and a section in between, called the Mosaic Market, which is more informal and boasts both food to eat and some more generic African crafts. My first experience
of the market was on the holiday weekend, so may not have been representative, but is was absolutely heaving with people. We sampled some of the takeaway food and bought some produce for the week. We bought some second-hand books and a bamboo flute for Lindsey. We looked longingly at some of the craft products which we didn't want to carry on our travels and had no home to put them in but really wanted to own. The market was incredible and not at all what you'd expect from such a sedentary little town. We're looking forward to going back.
Every evening the sunsets have been magnificent, prompting us to set down whatever we are doing and dash out for a better view. Every of them has looked very different and we have tried to go to a different spot each time.
We have another two weeks here and are really looking forward to exploring more, both in Sedgefield and the wider area.
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