Mossel Bay’s iconic St. Blaize Trail - a 12.5 km contour path that extends westwards from the Cape St. Blaize Cave - is presently being upgraded.
“The St. Blaize Trail was originally developed as a joint project between The Point High School and the Municipality of Mossel Bay,” said Fred Orban of the Mossel Bay Environmental Partnership.
The Trail follows a path at the edge of a series of cliffs high above the Indian Ocean. “It was created to give visitors and the people of Mossel Bay an opportunity to walk along one of the most beautiful sections of the South African coast, to marvel at magnificent views, to watch for whales and dolphins in the water below, and just for the pleasure of seeing nature from a bird’s-eye view, said Mr. Orban.
He said that the Trail - which forms the first leg of the luxury 5-day Oystercatcher Trail - has achieved world fame through numerous mentions in the international media.
“As part of the Oystercatcher Trail, it was mentioned in the BBC’s book ‘Unforgettable Walks To Take Before You Die’ by Steve Watkins and Clare Jones’; it was highly praised by National Geographic; and the London Daily Telegraph said that it offers ‘The freshest air that you can breathe’,” said Mr. Orban.
He said, however, that at one point the Trail had become neglected and overgrown. “But the Garden Route Casino Trust came to the rescue and financed a clean-up that created some very welcome work opportunities.”
More recently, a number of rocks along the trail have been defaced with spray paint - but Harry Hill, a spokesman for the Mossel Bay Municipality, said that a sand-blasting machine has been employed to remove these unsightly marks.
Mr. Orban said that the Mossel Bay Environmental Partnership (MEP) and the Oyster Bay Conservation Trust have instituted a project that will see the erection of environmentally acceptable signage along the entire route - from the St. Blaize Cave to Dana Bay.
“The Garden Route Casino Trust has once again come to the party by agreeing to fund the signage, and members of the community - including the St. Blaize Conservancy’s Rhenia Niemand, the well known Oystercatcher Trail guide, Willie Komani, and members of MEP - are dedicating their time free of charge to ensure that the signs are up before the Christmas season begins,” he said.
Mossel Bay Tourism’s Marcia Holm said that she was saddened that anyone would stoop low enough to desecrate such a natural treasure, but that she was proud that so many local residents and NGOs were working together with the Municipality to protect the Trail.
“We appeal to all nature lovers who have any knowledge about any vandalism or who see anyone destroying anything along the Trail to get in touch with the Mossel Bay Parks Department,” she said.
“We want to restore the Trail to its former glory so that it will continue to draw visitors to Mossel Bay, and to provide pleasure for the local community for many years to come,” said Mr. Orban.