EuRA Relocation Congress Africa – Cape Town November 2016
The Elfin Trail in Constantia with VoiceMap
A fantasy-themed audio walking tour through the beautiful and least-known forests and glades in Cape Town
[Soft instrumental music starts playing.]
“Welcome, traveller”, I hear a distinctly Irish female say in my ears. “You should be standing alongside a small wooden hut in the parking lot of the entranceway to the Cecilia Forest. We’ve got a way to go, and we’ll start walking soon but first, let me explain how this works.”
As the lyrical voice suggests, who I later learn is a timid fairy named Pepper Windshimmer, I’m standing in Cecilia Forest’s car park right next to the little wooden guard hut with about 30 others. Smartphones in our hands and earphones plugged in, we attentively listen – in our own time – to the private audio track playing in our ears.
“That magical device in your hand”, our storyteller continues, referring to our cell phones, “will trigger narrative automatically at the right spots, so you can put it away now”.
Tentatively I put my phone in my pocket, quickly glancing around to see if others are doing the same. For the majority of us, this is our first time, so we’re still getting the hang of things, but as Iain Manley, co-founder and CEO of VoiceMap – I’ll come back to this in a bit – had explained, prior to us hitting the large bright green start button on our screens and hearing our guide’s instructions, the app uses GPS to automatically play the audio. Therefore, once it’s running you really can put your device away and relax, the track will play right on cue without you having to do a thing.
“If you do feel you’ve lost your way or don’t know where to go, you can check the map on your screen”, Pepper reassures. “But the idea is that you focus on the glorious enchantments we’re set to discover. I’ll explain more as we go. It’s not unusual for people to make this journey alone, but please keep your wits about you at all times. Our walk will take about an hour and a half at a normal pace. Are you ready to begin?”