Finders Keepers is back. Winner gets R1m

10 July 2016 - 02:02 By PAUL ASH

If Sunday Times staffers earned a rand every time they were asked "When is your paper going to do the Finders Keepers again?", they would probably all be rich. Now, thanks to a sponsorship deal and a new kind of treasure hunt among South Africa's unsung tourist attractions, they can answer with certainty: "Today."In October, one Sunday Times reader will walk off with R1-million in cash after a three-month treasure hunt using clues hidden in stories in the newspaper.Teams of our reporters and photographers have been on the road for a month, travelling from province to province in a quest to find and photograph things, people and places that are often overlooked on the well-trodden tourist trail.They have drunk moerkoffie in Groot Marico, taken a train ride to Carisbrooke on the railway made famous by Alan Paton, and walked with lions in Limpopo. "That was incredible," said photographer Moeletsi Mabe of his encounter with the big cats.They have zipped through forests on canopy tours, stared into the vastness of the Blyde River Canyon, dipped canoe paddles in Lake St Lucia and reached out to touch eland grazing under the windows of a Drakensberg lodge.In the weeks ahead, teams will wander down the Wild Coast, the Garden Route and across the Northern Cape, placing clues that will lead readers on a hunt for the R1-million along with weekly prizes of family holidays.The competition is the result of a partnership between Times Media and Tomsa, the body responsible for collecting levies from South African tourism businesses.The 1% levy - which applies to foreign and domestic tourists - is added to travellers' bills at participating lodges, car-hire agencies and tour operators and is used to promote South Africa as a tourist destination.Mmatsatsi Ramawela, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, which administers Tomsa, said she hoped the levy collectors would see an increase in the number of visiting tourists."We expect to contribute towards growing domestic travel," she said. "Getting South African to discover the tourism gems in their back yards and spend their money at home benefits our economy."The Sunday Times Finders Keepers competition first ran in the paper in the late '80s. Despite tricky clues that used phrases such as "This song goes 'stomp-stomp-clap'", readers soon descended on small towns in a frantic bid to find the hidden R1-million, which was stashed in obscure places such as behind the clock of a Dullstroom inn or inside the light fitting of a 1920s railway dining car in the historic Western Cape village of Matjiesfontein.This time around, the clues will be hidden in the stories written by Sunday Times reporters about their travels.To take part, all you have to do is read the paper every week from July 10 to September 18, then go to, the website built specially for the competition, and answer five easy multiple-choice questions about the places the reporters have been to. Get three out of five correct and you could win a family holiday in that week's province as well as move a step closer to the grand prize.A million rands buys a lot of things. We would probably spend it on travelling around South Africa slowly and in great comfort.

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