The recently held Rooibos Experience – a festival which celebrated the culture and cuisine of rooibos at the popular Root 44 Market in Stellenbosch was well-received by tourists and locals alike.

Event organisers say the community bonds forged by the fledgling event are lasting and that they’re already gearing up for next year’s event, which promises to be even bigger and better.

Ernest du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council says the event was well supported by overseas visitors and locals, who gained an entirely new perspective on rooibos.

“Many South Africans may have grown up with rooibos in the home, but don’t know much about its origin, how it is grown and what benefits it offers them. Festival-goers were surprised to learn about rooibos’ many uses and how versatile the plant is. Besides rooibos’ myriad of health and beauty benefits, it is also a wonderful flavour-enhancer and is being used in anything from ice-creams, to gourmet sauces and fine liquors.

“In SA, there is a whole lot more that could be done to capitalise on heritage tourism and we’ve started that process through this year’s Rooibos Experience, which we will build on in the future.

“The number of visitors at the festival was a credit to the community and their continued support is crucial to keep the festival, and the heritage behind it, growing well into the future,” concludes du Toit.