Places to visit in the Eastern Free State after lockdown

Travelling in these times is taboo, but nothing prevents you from dreaming about a local holiday destination to enjoy freedom after the frustrating lockdown period. Where better than in the Eastern Free State, one of South Africa’s most picturesque regions?

Places to visit in the Eastern Free State after lockdown

Imagine yourself sitting on the stoep of a farm in the Fouriesburg district and looking out over the Maluti Mountains. Sitting there, enjoying the scenic landscapes, the beauty and tranquillity that surrounds you which is palpable and almost overwhelming.

The Eastern Free State is the land of a thousand pictures and experiences, with each season offering its own attractions — roaring, open fires in winter, cherry blossoms and then succulent fruit in spring, hot summer days and golden autumn sunsets.

Fouriesburg

The town of Fouriesburg on the R26 is in the scenic Brandwater Basin, surrounded by the Maluti, Rooiberg and Witteberg mountain ranges, on the border of Lesotho. It is named after Christoffel (Rooi Stoffel) Fourie, on whose farm Groenfontein, it was established in 1892.

Characteristic to the environment are numerous sandstone overhangs (cave cliffs) and caves.

With a primarily agricultural economy — wheat, cherries, asparagus, sunflowers, beans, mealies and apples — it also offers unique scenic beauty, activities for nature and adventure enthusiasts, arts and crafts, places of historical and architectural interest, and small-town hospitality.

Image by Amanda van Blerk

A quieter alternative to the bustling village of Clarens (just 35km away), Fouriesburg is a comfortable commuting distance from South Africa’s major urban centres: Johannesburg (350km), Durban (400km), Bloemfontein (250km).

In 2013 Fouriesburg was the winner of Kwela Dorp of the Year competition of kykNET and in 2020 it is nominated again. This small town wants to shake its wings again and fly high.

There is always soul in sandstone and not only the surrounding sandstone mountains, but also the sandstone heritage in the village is enchanting. Beautiful sandstone houses will feed your imagination to a distant past.

What you can do in Fouriesburg

Fouriesburg and surrounding areas include hiking trails, art workshops, horse riding, fishing, 4×4 trails, Meiringspoort, Destiny Castle, Queen Victoria’s Rock and historical places like Surrender Hill.

The largest sandstone overhang in the southern hemisphere, Salpeterkrans, is still used for ancestral worship by local tribes. The Surrender Hill marathon is an annual qualifier for the Comrades and cycle race, the ultimate trainer for the Cape Cycle Tour.

Fouriesburg is the starting point for many discoveries. Here man finds rest and peace as a soul-lifting experience. Once a visitor, always a visitor.

This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.

If you are a freelancer looking to contribute to The South African, read more here.

Source : The South African More   

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Alcohol ban will lead to Prohibition-era gangsterism and deaths

As it lobbies for a relaxing of the alcohol sales ban during lockdown, SAB says the country should learn lessons from the Prohibition era.

Alcohol ban will lead to Prohibition-era gangsterism and deaths

Still reeling from the loss of 400-million bottles of beer that had to be destroyed this week, SAB is continuing its efforts to lobby government to allow beer and other alcohol sales.

The brewing giant has now warned that the country could enter an Al Capone-style era of illicit alcohol brewing and selling if the ban is not lifted.

Such an era would dramatically increase alcohol-related deaths due to unregulated brewing and distilling processes, fuel criminality and gansterism, create criminals out of ordinary citizens, and loose the state coffers an estimated R6-billion in revenue, the company claims.

Lessons from Prohibition in the United States

The so-called Prohibition era in the US, during which all alcohol sales were banned, lasted from 1919 to 1933. It spawned a huge illicit alcohol industry and fabulously wealthy criminal gangs led by the likes of the legendary Al Capone.

It also led to an enormous death rate from acute alcohol poisoning that was said to be more than 30 times higher than it is today. In addition, alcohol smuggling from neighbouring Canada and elsewhere created a massive industry that lost the US government millions in tax revenues.

Our alcohol-sales regulations are extreme

“The regulatory position taken towards alcohol in South Africa has definitely been on the extreme end of the spectrum when compared to lockdown measures put in place by other countries,” says Hellen Ndlovu, director of regulatory and public policy at SAB.

“In some countries where bans were instituted the governments quickly reversed them when it became clear that the unintended consequences were worse than the initial perceived threats. Naturally these consequences included spikes in illicit alcohol trade and deaths related to the consumption of unsafe illicit substances.”

Public acceptance of the ban has now faded

She warns that law that few people agree with requires massive enforcement if government wants it to succeed. 

“In the first weeks of the lockdown, South African citizens generally accepted the ban of alcohol sales in light of the initial high levels of uncertainty and turmoil. As time passed, the acceptance and understanding of the purpose of a prolonged ban on alcohol faded fast.”

She says the growing illegal sales of all types of alcohol at exorbitant prices, and the spike in looting of alcohol stores and storage facilities, has been widely reported. The consequence is that an already strained police force is now tasked to deal with additional problems, while the resulting legal further burden an already overloaded legal system.

What should be done next?

According to Ndlovu, a measured and considered approach around alcohol during COVID-19 is both possible and viable in South Africa.

“These measures can include limiting the amount of alcohol that can be purchased, introducing online sales, trading hour restrictions for stores selling for personal consumption, and opening up sales of lower alcohol-by-volume products only.”

If SAB’s plea is unsuccessful, could we see our own Prohibition-era tommy-gun toting Koos ‘Al’ Capone in his Golf GTi being chased by lawman man Elliott ‘Ness’ Nkosi? Let’s hope not.

Source : The South African More   

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