Walking the South African Coastline

Usually it’s me doing the walking. Not this time. My knee is in a brace and I am trying to make the most of recovery while talking to others that are using walking as a means of inspiration. Meet Damian and Damien. Two guys who left Mozambique on foot from Ponta do Ouro on 30 July 2021 with a mission of highlighting the plight of coastal towns and villages impacted by the decreased activity in the tourism sector. Holiday destinations experiencing strains resulting from various levels of lockdown measures regulated to curb Covid-19 infections. Two months and an average walking distance of 30kms per day later and the duo arrived in the Whale Watching Capital of Hermanus on 5 October.

Damian Honneysett, inspiration behind the walk, took up private cheffing while studying commerce at the University of Pietermaritzburg. Catering became more than a hobby, it was a business. A business with very few clients during the Covid-19 pandemic and little money coming in. Damian says “it hit me that there were so many people reliant on hospitality in South African’s coastal towns and villages. Without tourism these towns were struggling and I decided to use my love for walking to highlight how tourism was impacted.”.

Damien Laird joined the adventure from the first step and feels humbled by the way in which people opened their hearts and homes to them.

Asked about a favourite spot along the coastline, the answer is a predictable “every site is different”. The South African coastline is a wonder with something special to each province. The long barren beaches of KZN relieved by cliff faces and shades of blue in the Eastern Cape making way to the Western Cape’s mountainous landscapes with historical architecture.

There’s not a thing the pair would change as they believe all the challenges enhanced the experience. The interconnectedness of the people they met along the route was astounding. Yet, the best memory has to be when Damian’s family and a lecturer joined them for the walk from Umhlanga to Durban.

I wish Damian and Damien the best of luck as they put another foot forward for the South African tourism industry.

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