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Wilderness Craft Market turns 10

This year is the tenth anniversary of the Wilderness Craft Market, hosted in the Wilderness National Park, on the banks of the Touw River. The market is fundraising inititaive started by the Southern Cape region's Honorary Rangers.

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Honorary Rangers Di Young and Gill Thomas initially came up with the idea of the market as a way for the region to raise much needed conservation funds. The positive response from the crafters approached meant that this market soon became known as the largest genuine hand craft market in the country. It continues to attract between 70 to 100 crafters twice every month.

As the inititaive grew, it became obvious that there was a need for the market to be better managed. It was decided that the market would be managed by the founders, and a commission paid on a monthly basis to the Honorary Rangers, for the use of parks grounds.

The Wilderness Craft Market remains one of the regions main fund raisers and provides a much needed venue for crafters trying to earn a living from thier extraordinary work.

The natural beauty and magical atmosphere of this part of South Africa attracts many artists, crafters and creative spirits. The area is synonymous with fine timbers and woodwork. Potters, painters, woodcarvers, leather workers and artists of many descriptions attend the market to buy and sell a plethora of local art, crafts and produce

Items on sale at the market range from decoupage to donuts, leather to lariats...One example of the kind of quality on offer are the hand crafted ceramics produced by Jenny Book. She travels with her husband each month from Stilbaai, a trip of an hour or two both ways. Other crafters come through from Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Mosselbay and even De Rust to sell a huge variety of hand crafted items, from preserves, to paintings and sheepskin slippers.

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Honorary Rangers are present at the market, which is held on the second and last Sunday of every month, and provide informational and educational displays for the public. These displays centre around a number of conservation related themes. One of thier most recent displays was staged to educate the public to the local madeira vine threat to indigenous vegetation in our area.

Although there are a number of other markets that have since sprung up in the area,this market was the first, and as such has a wide and loyal suport base of cafters and buyers, and is well worth a visit. Funds raised support Honorary Ranger initiatives, including the cleing of invasive alien plants, counter-poaching and conservation education.