Exciting new features announced as the Highland Gathering returns to Amanzimtoti

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Visitors can look forward to a day of fun and outdoor adventure as the ‘biggest gathering of pipe bands in the Southern Hemisphere’ – the Highland Gathering – returns to Amanzimtoti’s Hutchison Park on Saturday, 27 April. This annual fundraiser hosted by The Lions Club of Amanzimtoti brings highlands fun to sunny KwaZulu-Natal, with new not-to-be-missed features at the 2024 event. It’s also a great excuse to experience all the incredible attractions the Sapphire Coast has to offer!

“We are excited to welcome visitors for a day of unforgettable festivities as The Lions Club of Amanzimtoti presents our biggest and most anticipated fundraiser of the year – the Highland Gathering,” said Lion Madelyn Stander, marketing convener of The Lions Club of Amanzimtoti. “There is something for everyone and so many more activities and stalls to enjoy this year. Outdoor adventure enthusiasts and those keen on action sports and engines will be thrilled with our new additions at the Highland Gathering. It’s not just an event; it’s a feast of tradition, music, and community spirit that you won’t want to miss.”

What to expect from the 2024 Highland Gathering

While the day’s highlight is the Mass Bands Performance, where all the pipe bands unite to create a symphony of sound, there is so much in store for visitors to this year’s family-friendly event. 

– Outdoor Adventure: For the first time, this year’s event will include a dedicated Outdoor Adventure section for those who enjoy a walk on the wild side. Peruse a wide range of braais, camping equipment, sports paraphernalia, hobby items, leatherwork, knives, and more.  

– Petrolheads: If it has a motor, it will be at the Highland Gathering! This section showcases cars, bakkies, boats, jet skis, bikes, and more! 

– Craft Markets: Visitors can explore three fields of vibrant craft markets, offering a diverse array of handmade treasures.

– Food Court: Indulge your taste buds with a variety of culinary delights from the Highland Gathering’s diverse food stalls.

– Live Entertainment: Visitors can relax and enjoy a lineup of talented performers, bringing the event to life with music and entertainment with Dave Guselli from East Coast Radio emceeing on the day. The daytime entertainment ends around 4pm. There will be lots of new local artists performing, among them accordionist Dries Laas, winner of the concertina category at the international Diatonic Accordion Festival. There will also be entertainment by Double Beat Drum Studio and Rhythmic Art Academy.

– Animal Shows: The team from Crocworld Conservation Centre will educate the crowd with a live animal demonstration. There will also be a Dog Agility Show – Animal lovers will enjoy the chance to watch the best tricks and skills of four-legged friends with this year’s dog show.

– Mr and Miss Highland Gathering: This year’s event will give local models the chance to strut their stuff on the catwalk again. Jayden Hattingh went on to earn the Mr South of the Equator title after securing a modelling voucher from Shaun Stander of Mobile Model Management.

– Mass Bands Performance: From about 5pm, all the piping bands with their drum lines will congregate on the rugby field to do a mass performance. This highlight welcomes Danré van der Spuy, who will accompany them by singing Amazing Grace. This year’s mass band performance will be dedicated to Lion John West, who passed away in December 2023, in recognition of his 20-year contribution to organising the Highland Gathering. 

– Beer Tents: Visitors to the 2024 Highland Gathering can quench their thirst with a range of refreshing brews from the beer tents. The beer tent at the main gate will include live band performances from the afternoon until late in the evening.

– Kids Entertainment: There will be various kid-friendly stalls and a fun big bouncy house area from Joe’s Inflatables to keep the little ones entertained. 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Individuals, small businesses, and corporations can join the Amanzimtoti Lions Club in making the Highland Gathering a success! Donate anything from R5 per chair and water for the volunteers manning the gates to bigger sponsorship opportunities. Every contribution, no matter the size, directly benefits the local community through initiatives that uplift and support those in need. 

Opportunities also still exist for stallholders and exhibitors on the day. For this year’s event, the gate has moved to maximise foot traffic for stall holders which means more direct marketing and engagement on the day. 

So much to do on the Sapphire Coast

Sapphire Coast Tourism, one of the event partners, will host a stand at the Highland Gathering with some great prize giveaways for local accommodation and tourist attractions in the region. Keep an eye on the Sapphire Coast Tourism Facebook page as Sapphire Coast Tourism is also giving away several free tickets to the event. 

Romy Wenzel of Sapphire Coast Tourism said that the Highland Gathering was not only a calendar highlight for Amanzimtoti, but a great opportunity to explore the many adventures found on the Sapphire Coast, extending from Athlone Park in the North to Clansthal in the South. These include:

– Ocean adventure: Diving and snorkelling at the world-class Aliwal Shoal dive site or go Shark Cage Diving for something extreme. 

– Waterpark fun: Amanzimtoti Main Beach and the fun slides at Splash Water World, including restaurants and curios on the promenade. 

– Water sports: The Sapphire Coast is great for water sports such as paddling, surfing, bodyboarding and kitesurfing.

– Day missions: There is much to be explored inland along the Sapphire Coast such as Nungwane Waterfall in the heart of Umbumbulu, Mnini Dam and the historic town of Adams Mission with Maqaqa Exclusive Lifestyle offering a unique traveller’s experience.

– Nature activities: Deep-sea fishing, horse riding, birdwatching, and nature reserve and beach walks are some other top activities with Baggies Beach Full Moon Walk on 23 April 2024.

– Walk and run: The Amanzimtoti and East Coast Brewery Park Run is every Saturday at 8am, free of charge. 

– Mural selfie: Explore the Sapphire Coast’s stunning murals with the Winklespruit Beach mural a picture-perfect opportunity for a selfie whilst exploring the coastline.

– Golfing: Enjoy a round at Umkomaas Golf Club or Amanzimtoti Country Club and Conservancy which is also a great venue for conferencing and birdwatching.

– Animal park: The nearby Crocworld Conservation Centre promises a family-fun day out and great birdwatching. The cost of entry to the Highland Gathering is R60 per person or R40 for scholars and pensioners. Children 6 and under enter free. For more information about the Highland Gathering, visit www.highlandgathering.co.za, call 072 767 7833, or email info@highlandgathering.co.za