Sedgefield, Western Cape
Did you know?
Sedgefield has built a number of 'tortoise towers', with the Slow Town Pledge on them.
Nothing happens quickly in Sedgefield, a little Garden Route town of about 15 000 residents who live between lakes, the ocean and nature reserves. Apart from its setting, most people know it for its famous weekly Wild Oats Community Farmers' Market.
Now Sedgefield’s laid-back lifestyle has been made official. This is Africa’s very first Slow Town, registered under the Cittaslow movement.
Cittaslow started in Italy in 1999 and is a continuation of the Slow Food movement. It’s the absolute opposite of the fast-lane, homogenous globalised world too many of us live in.
Towns registered with Cittaslow must abide by a list of values. These include celebrating what is unique to the town, preserving heritage, working for a sustainable future and a healthier lifestyle, caring for the aged, engaging young people, working towards a sustainable lifestyle and that noblest of aims: 'taking time for leisure and pleasure'. Also, the town must have a population below 50 000.
It’s a celebration of what is unique and different over what is standard and globalised. It encourages relaxation and a sane approach to life.
Central to this character are hand-made goods, which you’ll find at the Wild Oats Community Farmers' Market or at the Scarab Craft Market, where you can find unusual items like paper made from elephant dung.
Previously disadvantaged people are employed through the Masithandane Mosaic Project. They decorate town landmarks, signage and outdoor furniture.
Every Easter, Sedgefield has a Slow Festival, featuring slow music (bands with synthesizers and backtracks need not apply), slow food, a cigar and whisky evening, plus very restful activities like backgammon and boules, and building sandcastles.
For those who have trouble taking things easy, there are activities like paragliding and kiteboarding, and the Pedal, Paddle and Pant event for cyclists, canoeists and runners.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0) 44 343 2658/2007
How to get here
Sedgefield is along the Garden Route, about 500km (or less than six hours' drive) from Cape Town. You'll find it along the N2, between two other scenic towns, namely Knysna and Wilderness.
Best time to visit
Sedgefield is temperate most times of year so it's an all-season destination.
Around the area
The Garden Route offers handicrafts, walks on wild beaches, parasailing and kayaking, among many other activities.
In keeping with the Slow Town ethic, walk or cycle if you can.
Length of stay
Be a slow traveller in a Slow Town. Take your time and explore the region's lakes, oceans and nature reserves.
What to pack
Pack your walking shoes and swimming costume. You're bound to spend plenty of time in the water, one way or another.
What to eat
Don't miss the glorious breakfasts available at the Wild Oats Community Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings.
Sedgefield's Slow Festival is planned for Easter every year.
Poke around the Scarab Village for locally made crafts, or the Wild Oats Community Farmers' Market.