Martin Hatchuel

This Tourism Week is my on-line commentary and discussion about tourism in South Africa. And “I” am Martin Hatchuel, a BarefootWriter living in Knysna on the Garden Route Coast – one of South Africa’s Tourism Hotspots – and, with 17 years experience in the tourism industry followed by 12 years as a tourism writer, I’m more than qualified to say my say. BarefootClients, the communications arm of my business (awful pun) offers services like:

  • Copy Writing
  • Strategic Planning
  • Tourism Marketing
  • Print material design and layout
  • And that kind of stuff…

Barefoot Writer Martin Hatchuel: The 60 Second BarefootBiography.
Can anyone be better suited to writing about tourism?

I qualified in horticulture in Durban before going out into the real world to put my hard-won knowledge to good use … as a boat boy in Knysna. Went on to work in restaurants, a timeshare resort and, in the very early days, one of those old-fashioned caravan park-style holiday camps. When it dawned on me that tourists love the environment, I put my grounding in the natural sciences to work by becoming a tour guide (the first, mind you, at Featherbed Nature Reserve – now Knysna’s biggest tourism attraction), a ferryboat skipper and, ultimately, the owner of my own business in the Wilderness National Park: a bird-watching concession called the Kingfisher Ferry. And then – ouch! – we had the floods of ’96. And when the waters subsided, we found that the Touw River had been silted up and that my boat and I had been left up the creek without a … creek. So I started to write.

I entered the fray as the editor of a newspaper called Cape Tourism Update – which survived for a whole 21 months. And when that fell on its face, I went and did the stupidest thing anyone ever could do: I became a (shudder) freelancer.

But I love making my tenuous living by writing things like newsletters (like This Tourism Week), feature articles, advertising copy, commentary and tourism business strategies. And I write books, too – like Ferry Boats & Fossil Fish (a 20,000 word souvenir of Featherbed Nature Reserve); The West Coast Fossil Park (a 27,000 word souvenir which is still in production); and Now If You’ll Look To Your Left (a 100,000 word guide training manual for Knysna & Plettenberg Bay). Oh yes, and I once wrote a terribly high-brow and po-faced paper called Managing Perceptions: The Care And Feeding Of The Media, which I delivered at a Tourism Law And Management seminar.

And fiction, of course. I write fiction, too. But that’s another story…

The personal stuff, you say? I’m single, 49-and-a-half (well I USED TO BE, OK?), fit and healthy, a surfer and the foster father of a surf rat who, people tell me, needs a damned good haircut (but who, in turn, is the brilliant and unendingly patient father of that king among princes, my grandson [although I’m not biased]). I love my dog, my country, cricket, Buddhism, rugby, rowing, Latin American music and the movies – but, depending on how each one of them behaves, not always in that order. And from my ID number you can deduce that (a) I’m Proudly Barefoot & Fully South African and (b) I was born on 21 October 1958.


Amongst others:

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Martin Hatchuel – Author


Belthar’s Garden

Want to read a gentle, poignant novel about how an old man gets in touch with his emotions? A novel of healing ?’ (Ag shame. The last publisher who rejected said it was “a new departure for South African literature” and “a work like Paulo Coelho’s” – but she decided not to publish it anyway. So I decided – Screw It, Let’s Publish It – apologies, Mr Branson – and I registered a Creative Commons License and now it’s out there for you to read, share, and enjoy.)

Download it here:  Belthar’s Garden by Martin Hatchuel

Want to read the first ten pages of this unusual and beautiful story about a labourer on an oyster farm?
Read this story

The Vampire of Steynsburg Pass
A delightfully chilling bit of Karoo Gothica; a piece from my collection of short stories “Travels In My Head” – which should best be read at midnight…
Read this story

Desperate to be my Agent?
Please mail me – or call +27(0)84 951 0574

Need more information?
Please mail me

One Response

  1. Tourism: Death of an industry | Tourism Tattler
    Tourism: Death of an industry | Tourism Tattler at ·

    […] we want tourism to survive, tourism as an industry has to die, writes Martin Hatchuel in his latest newsletter. Barefoot writer & Tourism Tattler contributor, Martin […]

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