What most people know about “slow” Sedgefield on the Garden Route – and it irks them – is that they have to slow down as they pass through the town on the N2 … and perhaps even stop at its single traffic light.
Sedgefield is Africa’s only official Cittaslow Slow Town, a movement whose goal is to resist the fast pace of life most cities while encouraging a healthier lifestyle, making time for pleasure and leisure, and looking after the environment. While the town stages an annual Slow Festival over the Easter weekend (which almost doubles the town’s population), adherence to Cittaslow principles is a way of Sedgefield life.
It’s appropriate that Sedgefield’s official emblem is the angulate tortoise.
People who take the trouble to turn in to Sedgefield are usually astounded at the beauty of the place, as well as the friendliness and exuberance of its residents. Try spending an afternoon or evening at La Piazza, just 200m from the N2, or at the PiliPili beach restaurant – complete with fire and sand underfoot – and you’ll definitely want (or need) to stay over.
There’s wonderful accommodation, most of it boasting spectacular views: the Mantis Collection’s Lake Pleasant Hotel and Spa is the grand old lady of the region; Pelican Lodge is quiet, well-appointed and has plenty of parking; Sedgies on the Water is a gorgeous self-catering facility with magnificent views of the lagoon; and Dover on Sea is a spectacular, quirky seven-room bed-and-breakfast perched on the dunes above the unspoiled beach.
Highlights of a stay in Sedgefield include a walk along the beach towards Gericke’s Point, exploring the lagoon, spending time at a bird hide on one of the nearby lakes and a visit to the Wild Oats Farmers’ Market, which takes place every Saturday morning.
If you’re just passing through and are feeling peckish … pop in to the old station and get one of their pies.