It’s official – Durban is to have its very own annual whale festival aptly named ‘Welcoming of the Whales Festival’. WCA will be supporting local tourism authority Sodurba Community Tourism Organization (Durban South Tourism) in hosting this very first whale celebration event on The Bluff at Anstey’s Beach from 24 -25 June. The 2 day Festival precedes the World Whale Conference which starts on the Monday.
Sodurba: uniting Durban’s local conservation and tourism stakeholders
Initiator Sodurba is the official tourism body for Durban South region. The association has grown a number of initiatives to strengthen local tourism over the past years and is run by a voluntary committee of local stakeholders. It was one of their goals to put the whales central in an annual event and this year WCA is their international partner. After negotiating the licenses and fine tuning the plan with all parties involved, it was decided that the Welcoming of the Whales Festival can see the light this month.
Welcoming, protecting and watching Whales
Whales also play a key role in Sodurba’s newly developed Tourism Urban Route. The trail includes a Whale Watching Route and will be officially launched on World Ocean’s Day, 8 June 2017.
Commenting on the Welcoming of the Whales Festival, Sodurba’s chairperson, Helga du Preez says: ‘Our vision is to have this event every year to celebrate the arrival of the whales to our coastline. Sodurba welcomes the opportunity to kick start our very first whale festival with the World Whale Conference. We think it is a magnificent opportunity to share the knowledge and information from the conference delegates with our community. We aim to create awareness of our whales, our ocean and beaches and the responsibility we all have to protect our environment. We will also share the Whaling history of the past turning to the present where we rather protect and admire the whales passing on their migration.”
Festival activities 24-25 June
Day one includes both indoor and outdoor activities appealing to all interests and age groups. Activities range from rocky shore walks, whale watching, children’s art activities, song and dance and craft markets to presentations by international speakers and newly released conservation documentaries. The day culminates in a human whale creation on the beach before sunset. Entrance is free. The public is invited to attend the second day of activities with local and international speakers discussing cetacean conservation and tourism in Southern Africa. The full programme is due to be published shortly, but all interested stakeholders and sponsors are urged to contact Sodurba or WCA.