A record 51 thousand people of all ages visited the annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees from Friday, 28 – 30 June.
“Every year we continue to buck the recessionary conditions and grow in both numbers and sponsorship,” says festival director Jenni Honsbein.
In 2012 the festival attracted some 45 000 visitors. Numbers grew on both the Friday and Sunday of the 2013 festival, with the grounds being filled to capacity with 20 000 festival goers on the Saturday.
The success of the community-owned festival has seen it attract nearly 50% more sponsorship in 2013 than previously, she says. Surplus funds are invested into community projects in the Sundays River Valley, and are used to fund a tourism office for the valley.
One of the annual highlights is the Absa Wildlife Auction which is the only place to purchase wild disease-free buffalo direct from the Addo Elephant National Park. It also features prime game from a number of reserves in the Eastern Cape.
A major selling point is that most of the top animals are already captured and can be viewed in bomas prior to the auction.
The 2013 auction turned over around R9 million, according to convener Johan Swart. This is less than the previous year’s around R9,5 million, and is a reflection of the state of the economy, he says.
A “possibly pregnant” buffalo cow of around six years old and with a 24.8” horn span was sold for R310 000. The biggest single sale was a group of four cows with heifers, which sold for R1 360 000.
There was strong interest in a white kudu bull from the Addo Elephant National Park, which was sold for R240 000.
Source: Algoa FM