Developing Knitting Retreats in South Africa. A view of Table Mountain out window on flight to Cape Town international airport (CPT)

Developing Knitting Retreats in South Africa

Next year is looking to be very exciting as we are actively developing knitting retreats in South Africa! My passion for developing Threaded Journeys stemmed from wanting to spend more time knitting, introducing people to the benefits of knitting, and promoting my home country of South Africa (ZA). The goal is to develop a community interested in combining knitting with travelling. Our recent trip to ZA in September 2023 was to plan and develop relationships with people who will help us experience knitting while travelling in 2024 and beyond.

Cape Town

Due to our travel preference for direct flights, we booked one from Washington DC (IAD) to Cape Town (CPT). We stayed in the Silo District where we safely walked 5 minutes to the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. We enjoyed fresh, local seafood paired with a beautiful South African Chenin Blanc. An amazing view of Table Mountain further enhanced the experience. It was sublime.

The V&A Waterfront offers a wide variety of attractions and activities. One can take a ferry and tour Robben Island. This is where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for 18 of his 27 years in captivity. We highly recommend the tour to see what Mandela endured in his journey to peace. It’s quite moving.

An underwater exhibit at the Two Oceans Aquarium
An underwater exhibit at the Two Oceans Aquarium

We also enjoyed visiting the Two Oceans Aquarium and shopping nearby at the Watershed and the V&A Shopping Mall to stock up local items for the journey ahead. The couple of days in Cape Town allowed us to manage our jet lag more due to the 6-hour time difference.

We rented a car from the CPT airport but this is not necessary as Uber is available (using same Uber app as in the US). Another reason we rented a car was with the intent of visiting family friends on the Cape Flats. Unfortunately, our friend had COVID and is immuno-compromised due to cancer treatment so we were unable to visit.

Port Elizabeth

We then flew to Gqeberha, formerly known as, and still referred by locals as, Port Elizabeth (PE). We took a separately booked, 1:20 hr, domestic flight to PE on FlySafair for a very reasonable price. PE has a smaller airport (PLZ) and the number of flights currently on that airline from CPT to PLZ were 3 flights per day. So we chose the midday flight and landed in PE at 1:55 PM. This enabled us to arrive at our lodging with plenty of time to settle in and have sundowners at the beach. We stayed a few days in PE and the greater region visiting partners in the Angora goat mohair industry while developing knitting retreats in South Africa.

Developing knitting retreats in South Africa and discovering new methods to spin yarn
Discovering new methods to spin yarn


South Africa is the largest producer of mohair from Angora goats in the world. The heart of their production is in the Karoo. There is also a significant wool industry in the Karoo. So, we headed deep into the Karoo to visit with local sheep and goat farmers. We met with the premier wool event planner in the entire country and discussed Threaded Journeys’ plans for next year.

Sheep grazing in the Karoo
Sheep grazing in the Karoo

The diversity of animals in South Africa is simply stunning to view. From the Big Five in game reserves to domesticated farm life with sheep, goats, cattle, and meerkats. We stayed at one place where the owners had rescued an ostrich and named her “Princess” which described her personality well.

Princess the ostrich who was rescued and is residing safely in the Karoo

Unbeknownst to most of the world, South Africa likes to keep its best diamonds and wine to itself. We discovered a fast-growing and relatively new wine festival in the same area with top name wineries. It surpassed our expectations! We sampled all sorts of wonderful South African food and wine pairings which opened our eyes to new possibilities. For example, we were surprised that South African bobotie paired well with Simonsig Méthode Cap Classique bubbles when it’s normally paired with a nice red wine. One of the retreats in 2024 will feature and opportunity to attend their wine festival.

Karoo Classique Wine Festival 2023

Looking Ahead

All of these experiences introduced so many exciting areas to further explore in 2024! We are so pleased to develop new opportunities to experience beautiful knitting/crocheting retreats in South Africa next year that will touch upon these activities:

  • Hands-on, knitting/crocheting experience
  • Dying and spinning your own yarn
  • Learning new techniques with using your new yarn
  • Viewing wildlife on safari game drives
  • Sampling South African wine and food at a premier wine festival
  • Interacting and staying on sheep/goat working farms
  • Attending the largest wool festival in South Africa
Karoo windmill with a monkey (can you spot him?)
Karoo windmill with a monkey (can you spot him?)

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