Being a part-time travel journalist, I can state with some authority that travel journalists are generally more trouble than they are worth. I visited Prince Albert last month. This is my non-review.
Journalists are all the same. We convince people to send us places and scare the residents of such places with bad reviews. It used to be that a place got a good review if the journalist’s wallet stayed in his pocket all weekend. Now, if his egg spends a nanosecond too long in the poacher, the whole place might as well give up.
Which is why, if I read another article about a quaint Karoo town nestled at the foot of the Whatever Mountains, I am likely to nestle my head in blazing fire. Travel reporters generally have the lexicon of people who have spent their lives watching re-runs of Top Billing, which means everything ends up sounding the same.
And because their weekend has been spent sitting at the pool being brought yet another free cocktail by an eager-to-please host, most reporters get back to their desks knowing little other than what the inside of their hotel room was like. Then, it’s dig around for that last report on wherever it was, change a few words here and there, and give the town three stars. No, make it three and a half – I didn’t even get my wallet out.
“Darling is a charming, quaint town, with stunning walks”; “Experience the best in quaint, charming rusticity in stunning Tulbach”; “Prince Albert is a quaint town, nestled at the foot of the Whatever Mountains”.
I have been going to press junkets and media events for ages now and have witnessed countless the journalistic integrity sliding off reporters as they are told that press will be sharing rooms for the weekend, or the promoters have run out of gift packs, or the complimentary game drive may not include sightings of the big five. Free cap too small? Lose a star. No chocolate on the pillow? Lose two.
With all of this in mind, we travelled to Prince Albert this month, which, incidentally, is nestled at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. It also happens to be quaint. But don’t listen to us; let the town explain itself, as it does quite sufficiently at with http://www.patourism.co.za
Additional links : www.centralkaroo.co.za and www.africanrelish.com