TravelShapers 2016

Where: Cango Wildlife Ranch, Oudtshoorn
When: 25 August 2016

We were fortunate enough to attend the recent TravelShapers networking event – the first of its kind in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo.


TravelShapers is a spin-off from Travel Massive – the world’s largest travel insiders community.
It’s a network of local travel industry insiders, working together to better tourism and travel for all.


Events are held all over the world to bring together travel bloggers, start-ups, travel media and companies involved in the travel and tourism trade.


Halfway through the planned Garden Route and Klein Karoo event, however, what started out as a Travel Massive initiative turned into the brand new TravelShapers, as the local organisers wanted to keep it free for all with a stake in the tourism industry.


Heading off to the event on Thursday, we didn’t know what to expect – but we left pretty impressed and very enthused to continuing our bit for local tourism, however small.


We got there a little early, after a lovely sunset drive from George – if a little nerve-racking; the road to Oudtshoorn is rather narrow! Lots of people were already signing in, as well as placing their names and business cards in the bowl for the lucky draw.

Due to some delays, we had ample time to wander around, observing a couple of meerkats sunning themselves in what remained of the afternoon sun, as well as a few sleepy porcupines.

We even had a quick stroll through the snake park.

The atmosphere felt charged with excitement, as no one really knew what to expect from the night.

Before the event kicked off properly, we were welcomed and entertained by African singers and gumboot dancers. Quite a sight to behold!

Grunts restaurant was to be our venue for the night. It was packed with hay bales for seats and had a thick canopy of leaves covering the ceiling. Coupled with soft lighting, it was quite enchanting!

Welcoming us to Travel Shapers was Lindsey Gibaud, owner of Big Tree Marketing, who, along with Oudtshoorn and De Rust Tourism, worked tirelessly to make the night happen.

Big Tree has plenty of big-name clients, including Cango Wildlife Ranch and they specialise in marketing places in the tourism industry.

Our delightful and humourous host for the evening was Cango’s Tourist Liaison Officer, Kevin Pikaan. He had us all in stitches every so often, interspersed with some serious prize-giving. It seems everyone who attended the event also intended to give away a taste of the good life.

We ourselves were fortunate enough to win one of the amazing experiences, and can’t wait to meet the elephants at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge.

It’s going to be an epic experience and you can be sure of reading all about it right here on I Heart Eden!

Before tasting all the goodies that had generously been laid out by the likes of Orchard Fine Foods and Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, we were entertained and educated by our keynote speaker for the evening, Johann Smith from Digital Shelf. He really made our night pop with his anecdotes!

Johann gave some good tips on getting social media to work for you in the travel and tourism industry.

Over at the food tables, however, love was in the air. Everyone had brought their best and the food was simply superb.

A firm favourite was Latana Cheese – they had an incredibly soft Boerenkaas on show, with lots of interesting flavours, such as black pepper, nettle, cumin and green pepper.

Even more interesting was their little yoghurt balls!

One stall we were all absolutely blown away by was Signature Divine. This lovely wedding venue and gourmet stop had handmade ice cream shakes in delicious flavours such as lemon meringue, berry and avocado. Simply divine!

At the end of the night I think we all left satisfied and inspired – it had been a well-thought out event, filled with laughs and a shared goal – to make tourism in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo bigger and better!

We can’t wait for the next thrilling event and would just like to congratulate everyone involved in hosting this – it really was great fun.

On a personal note, we also just like to thank everyone at Cango Wildlife Ranch for such great hosts, Tammy for the warm welcome, Buffelsdrift Game Lodge for the wonderful prize, and Bruce from The Gremlin for giving us the opportunity to attend this event.

Yours in travel and tourism,
The I Heart Eden Team

About the I Heart Eden Team

Passionate blogger, writer, reader, animal lover, travel enthusiast and ’80s rock fan, I Heart Eden author Debbie {accompanied by hubby Charl} aims to bring you the best that the Garden Route has to offer.

Whether it’s a spectacular festival or a cosy eatery, we want you to know about it!

Join us on our travels as we bring you all that is best in this slice of Paradise.

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