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R E S P O N S I B L E edition 1 – 2018

be the difference

RESPONSIBLE TOURISM ...realising hopes & dreams

w w w. re s p o n s i b l e t rave l l e r. c o. z a


The only 5-star cage diving experience in South Africa. More than just a dive, our biologists share their knowledge & adventures on each trip!

Experience the Marine Big Five in their natural environment.

Focused on the protection of African Penguins & sea birds.

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Comment

Welcome to another edition of Responsible Traveller.

In this edition we consider responsible tourism as a vehicle for realising peoples’ hopes and dreams... We explore the coastal splendour of southern Mozambique and northern KwaZulu-Natal and discover how the dream of a few good men and women makes a difference to both individuals and their communities. In keeping with this we revisit the story of five Eastern Cape farmers who saw the need to conserve not only the land and their family heritage, but also contribute meaningfully to their local communities. Responsible Traveller digital mag has the privilige of once again being a media partner for WTM Africa - and proudly feature it’s Responsible Tourism programme: the speakers and panelists, programmes and topics of discussion as well as the list of finalists for the African Responsible Tourism Awards. Compiling this edition has once again made me exceptionally proud to be part of this change for good within the tourism industry . But as I have said on numerous occasions, the responsibility of being a responsible traveller lies ultimately with the person travelling and the choices they make. It’s about choosing to not waste water, to switch off when you leave the room, to stay, shop, experience and eat local... thereby providing employment and contributing to the local economy. By choosing to have conversations with locals and experiencing the ‘real’ destination, you add value and return home with irreplaceable memories. Enjoy the read… and be the difference.

Tessa Magazine Information edition 1- 2018 Publisher / Editor Tessa Buhrmann Cell: 083 603 9000 tessa@responsibletraveller.co.za Design & Layout Michele Mayer Cell: 082 934 6940 creativelink@mweb.co.za Advertising & editorial enquiries info@responsibletraveller.co.za Digital Subscriptions info@responsibletraveller www.responsibletraveller.co.za

Responsible Traveller Published by Spotted Mongoose Media CC (CK 2008/178482/23) Contact Details P.O. Box 3, Gillitts 3603 KwaZulu-Natal South Africa Tel: +27 31 7674022 Fax: +27 86 542 9615 Publication details Responsible Traveller DIGITAL is published bi-monthly

Cover Image: A visit to a Sofiso’s home near Anvil Bay Chemucane pic - Daryl Buhrmann

Disclaimer Responsible Traveller is published by Spotted Mongoose Media CC. The information provided and the opinions expressed in this publication are done so in good faith and while every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of its contents, neither the managing editor nor the publisher can be held responsible for any omissions or errors; or for any misfortune, injury or damages that may arise. All rights are reserved and no material from this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publishers.

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Contents REGULARS: Comment

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Being a Responsible Traveller 05

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DESTINATIONS & PLACES TO STAY: Coast of Dreams 24 We had a Dream...

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WTM AFRICA 2018 Responsible Tourism at WTM Africa 2018 08 African Responsible Tourism Awards 14

CONSERVATION & COMMUNITY:

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Birkenhead... a history never forgotten 48 Water Saving... lessons for the tourism industry 66 Chipembere Rhino Foundation

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Sustainable Tourism? 80

NEWS: Hotel Verde Zanzibar opens its doors

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Collaboration between African Parks and Ker & Downey Africa 22

48

The new Serra Cafeme - Changing Perspectivess

46

Socially and environmentally responsible development

56

Creating waves for the environment

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#GoGreen Campaign donates school desks

65

Born Free launches came to rehome King the lion cub

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New !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre launching

70

Rhino Revolution : Searching for new solutions

78

SAASA takes firm stance on captive wildlife welfare

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www.responsibletraveller.co.za 04 responsible traveller


Being a

Responsible Traveller

Responsible travel is a way of enjoying the many sights, experiences and memories of the destination you have chosen. It ensures that visitors and local communities alike share the benefits of tourism and travel equally, and it promotes greater understanding of and appreciation for fair and equitable business practice. Responsible travel is about putting back into travel what you get from it, and here are a few considerations that you could make when next you travel.

• Ask to see your tour operator's responsible travel policy. • Ask to see the environmental policy of the accommodation establishment that you have selected – don’t be fooled by vague and unsubstantiated claims. • Help the local economy by buying local produce in preference to imported goods. • Ask your tour operator to establish the extent to which local communities enjoy benefits from your economic spend during your stay at a location. • If bargaining to buy an item, bear in mind that a small amount to you could be extremely important to the seller – be realistic and fair. • Realise that often the people in the country you are visiting have different time concepts, values and thought patterns from your own, this does not make them inferior, only different. • Cultivate the habit of asking questions and discover the pleasure that you can enjoy by seeing a different way of life through others eyes. • Use public transport, hire a bike or walk where convenient – you'll meet local people and get to know the place far better – always be safe and considerate. • Use water sparingly – it is precious inmany countries and the local people may not have sufficient clean water – challenge any wasteful practice at your hotel or lodge. • Switch Something Off – whenever you leave your room, switch unnecessary lights and equipment off and play your part in reducing greenhouse emissions.

• Don't discard litter when visiting outof-the-way places and attractions, take it with you and dispose of it at your hotel or lodge. Waste disposal is often a major problem at outlying attractions and sites and it leads to litter and unhealthy environments for locals. • Respect local cultures, traditions and holy places. For example, ask permission before you photograph local people – in some countries it can cause offence. • Learn more about the cultural experiences that you are exposed to – avoid ‘sound-byte’ tourism and encourage tour operators to provide more insight into the dances, songs and traditionalexperiences that they present to you. • Do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods, shells from beach traders, or ancient artefacts (which have probably beenstolen). When visiting gift and curio shops, be aware of the source of the products on sale and if in doubt, don’t buy. • Read up on the countries you plan to visit – the welcome will be warmer if you take an interest and speak even a few words of the local language. • When you get home drop your tour operator a note to let them know how you got on.

Essentials: www.heritagesa.co.za www.fairtrade.travel www.trees.co.za www.rhinoafrica.com

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WTM AFRICA 2018

Responsible Tourism

W

at WTM® Africa 2018

orld Travel Market (WTM) Africa has already exceeded expectations for 2018 through a phenomenal growth in exhibitor attendance, attributed to the overwhelming response and interest in Africa’s fastest growing inbound and outbound trade show, the only trade show of its kind on the African continent. WTM Africa is quickly becoming the leading B2B exhibition for the travel industry in South Africa and Africa alike.

Through consistent effort to have the very best selection of local and international buyers at WTM Africa, this year’s exhibition is set to break records on both the quality and quantity of buyers in attendance. “Africa has long been identified as a continent bursting with potential within the the tourism and travel sectors. WTM Africa 2018 is further recognition of this potential and in 2018, we’re ready to welcome more exhibitors from Africa than ever before,” says Chardonnay Marchesi, 08 responsible traveller

South Africa Portfolio Director for Reed Exhibitions’ Travel, Tourism & Sports Portfolio. Thus far, we are on track to exceed our 2017 buyer registration applications, including hosted buyers and Buyer’s Club members. We have seen a significant increase in exhibitors and have as such, opted to expand the floor space used for stands at the Cape Town International Convention Centre for WTM Africa in April 2018. “We’re in for multiple new initiatives at WTM Africa 2018, including the ultimate opportunity,


WTM AFRICA 2018

WTM Africa Festivals,” explains Marchesi. “WTM Africa Festivals will give everyone the opportunity to socialise after the traditional working hours in a fun and vibrant atmosphere. All attendees will experience the culture, hospitality and cuisine with each hosting exhibitor offering something unique.” In collaboration with the City of Cape Town, the event will be taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 18 – 20 April 2018. The three day event programme allows visitors and international buyers time to form integral relationships with exhibitors through the strategic platforms available such as the networking sessions specifically designed to cater for travel professionals, the world-renowned WTM Africa exhibition and the extensive events programme.

The events programme is designed to add value with topical presentations and panel discussions. Many of which, in line with WTM Africa’s commitment to sustainability, revolve around responsible tourism. A highlight will be the African Responsible Tourism Awards, where heroes of responsible tourism in Africa are honoured for their efforts.

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WTM AFRICA 2018

WTM® Africa Responsible Tourism Programme Besides being a great space for travel professionals to network, negotiate and discover new products, WTM Africa offers a wealth of opportunities for visitors to learn and engage around the topic of responsible tourism. In keeping with the ethos of the World Travel Market (WTM) brand, WTM Africa seeks to drive the responsible tourism agenda forward through informative seminars and panel discussions thereby spreading sustainable practices and ethical methods within the travel industry.

WEDNESDAY 18TH APRIL 2018 New Business Models and Sustainable Development Time: 14:30 - 15:15 Venue - Conference Theatre In the global WTM Responsible Tourism Awards last year five of the twelve winners were from Africa. On the African continent, we are seeing some of the world’s most innovative commercial models emerging. Successful businesses which are creating shared value to benefit local communities and fund conservation. Businesses which are commercially successful and which are building their success on sustainability principles. Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor - Harold is Professor of Responsible Tourism Management at Manchester Metropolitan University Harold researches on tourism, local economic development... Speakers: Glynn O’Leary, CEO, Transfrontier Parks Destinations; Richard Vigne, CEO, Ol Pejeta Conservancy; Paige Gehren Conservation Economist Isibindi Africa Lodges

Africa Responsible Tourism Awards Time: 16:30 - 17:15 Venue - Conference Theatre The African Responsible Tourism Awards is a continent-wide search and celebration of Africa’s most inspiring and enduring responsible tourism experiences. Finalists of the Awards are invited to a prestigious ceremony hosted as part of WTM Africa where the winners are announced to an audience of tourism ministers, destination managers, industry professionals and media. For more details see next page...

THURSDAY 19TH APRIL 2018 Carbon, Water and Certification 10 responsible traveller

Time: 10:30 - 11:15 Venue - Outbound Theatre The industry is accused of wastefully using too much water and emitting too much carbon pollution contributing to accelerating global warming. There is a scientific consensus about the growing scale of the challenge. We all share the same atmosphere, the greenhouse gases emitted by the tourism sector make a significant contribution to climate change with serious negative impacts on the lives of people in Africa and elsewhere. With growing populations and climate change, more areas are experiencing water shortages, and the industry is under increasing pressure to reduce consumption and recycle grey water. There is a business case for reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and communicating your efforts and achievements to your business partners and your guests and clients. What contribution can certification make? Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor Speakers: Jane Edge, Managing Director, Fair Trade Tourism; Jonathan Gibson or Johann Bruwer, Chobe Game Lodge

Preserving our Planet Time: 11:30 - 12:15 Venue - Travel Tech Theatre Introducing a platform that will allow us to protect and conserve all our Natural Assets. impactChoice is a leading provider of environmental sustainability solutions. The impactChoice Natural Asset Exchange (NAE) blockchain platform and EARTH Token (EARTH) creates a unique opportunity to invigorate the Natural Asset Market and enable all stakeholders in the value chain to participate. The NAE is set to be instrumental in transforming Environmental Sustainability


Celebrating 18 years of responsible messaging

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The responsible and sustainable way to engage, educate and promote.

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With its universal accessibility and cross border reach, SMS remains a reliable and trusted means of sending and receiving messages anytime, anywhere.

Get your message across

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WTM AFRICA 2018 initiatives from a financial burden to a business incentive by finally providing all contributors with tangible assets that will appreciate in value as the market grows - allowing the market to grow organically and achieve its massive potential. Speaker: Allan Saunders, Marketing Director, impactChoice SA

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Unpacking the debate about captive wildlife tourism Time: 12:30 - 13:15 Venue - Destination Theatre Fair Trade Tourism casts its perspective on the captive wildlife tourism sector in southern Africa and offers guidance on how to distinguish between ethical and unethical players. Fair Trade Tourism is a pioneering initiative that promotes equitable and sustainable tourism development in South Africa through a range of activities including awareness raising, capacity building, advocacy and the facilitation of the world’s first Fair Trade tourism certification programme. The FTT certification programme awards a special certification Trademark (label) to tourism enterprises in South Africa that meet specific sustainability criteria based on global Fair Trade standards and locally relevant issues. Speaker: Jane Edge, Managing Director, Fair Trade Tourism

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FRIDAY 20TH APRIL 2018 The Gift of Adventure Time: 10:30 - 11:15 Venue - Destination Theatre Universally Accessible Tourism in South Africa. Speakers: DeirdrĂŠ Gower, Warrior on Wheels Foundation

Wildlife and Tourism Time: 11:30 - 12:15 Venue - Conference Theatre Marine and terrestrial wildlife remain a major draw for tourists to Africa and with rising living standards domestic tourism to parks and sanctuaries is increasing too. National parks and protected areas are under increasing pressure for development and from tourism. It is important that policy and practice in wildlife and tourism are evidence-based. This panel will focus on issues of animal and human welfare in wildlife tourism. Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor Speakers: Wilfred Chivell, Marine Dynamics Dr Simon King Park Doctor Cathrine S Nyquist, Founder and Managing Director, Panthera Africa, Big Cat Sanctuary

www.africa.wtm.com


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HERMANUS TOURISM

+ (27) 28 312 2629

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STANFORD TOURISM

+ (27) 28 341 0340

www.stanfordinfo.co.za

GANSBAAI TOURISM

+ (27) 28 384 1439

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CAPE WHALE COAST

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WTM AFRICA 2018

African Responsible Tourism Awards Heroes of responsible tourism in Africa will once again be honoured at the 2018 African Responsible Tourism Awards. Following the success of the inaugural event in 2015, this event continues to form part of the prestigious World Responsible Tourism Awards, the world’s most respected responsible tourism awards. Winners of the African awards will automatically be entered into the global awards which take place at World Travel Market in London each November.

With its unique natural and cultural landscapes, Africa offers many opportunities for responsible tourism. Tourism organisations are already growing tourism that preserves, respects and benefits African destinations and African people. The African Responsible Tourism Awards aims to celebrate the efforts made by individuals, organisations and destinations in Africa. The awards also aim to inspire change in the African tourism industry. The awards will be presented at a ceremony hosted as part of World Travel Market Africa Travel Week.

Judging Process: As part of the World Responsible Tourism Awards family, the judging process for the African Responsible Tourism Awards is chaired by HAROLD GOODWIN, Professor of Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University, Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism and Chair of the main World Seychelles North Island

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Responsible Tourism Awards judging panel since its inception. The judging draws on the expertise of carefully chosen professionals from throughout the tourism industry in Africa.

The judges for 2018: Prof. Harold Goodwin: Emeritus Professor Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and Founder of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism Darryl Erasmus: Chief Quality Assurance Officer, South African Tourism Dr Alison Kock: Marine Biologist, SANParks Thembi Kunene-Msimang: CEO – Acting and Executive of Marketing and Communications, RETOSA Chardonnay Marchesi: Portfolio Director of the Travel, Tourism and Sports Portfolio: Reed Exhibitions Greg McManus: Heritage Environmental Management Company and Event Greening Forum Sadia Nanabhay: Operations Manager, African Responsible Tourism Awards Dawn Robertson: CEO, The Constitution Hill Human Rights Precinct Heidi van der Watt: Managing Director, Better Tourism Africa and Institute of Development Studies, Massey University


15 AMAZING COUNTRIES Countless amazing responsible tourism experiences

If you’re a traveller who’s concerned about the impacts of your travels, then Southern Africa is the destination for you. In the three years that the African Responsible Tourism Awards has been running, a whopping 46 awards have been

handed to tourism organisations from Southern African countries. Some have gone to shine on the global stage, with southern African countries having racked up 11 wins at the World Responsible Tourism Awards since 2015.

ANGOLA

BOTSWANA

DRC

LESOTHO

MADAGASCAR

MALAWI

MAURITIUS

MOZAMBIQUE

NAMIBIA

SEYCHELLES

SOUTH AFRICA

SWAZILAND

TANZANIA

ZAMBIA

ZIMBABWE

The Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) is a Southern African Development Community (SADC) body responsible for the development of tourism and regional destination marketing across the 15 Southern Africa countries. www.retosa.co.za


WTM AFRICA 2018

2018 African Responsible Tourism Awards finalists...

All out Africa

A luxury island in the Seychelles, a cultural experience among the Maasai in Kenya and a township experience in Namibia are among the organisations selected as finalists for the 2018 African Responsible Tourism Awards (sponsored by Wesgro and organised by Better Tourism Africa). Who will take the top spots? With five categories as well as the much-coveted ‘Overall Winner’, the competition has stepped up a notch for the finalists announced today. Following an intense debate on the Judging Day, which was held in Johannesburg on 9 April, the panel of nine expert judges shortlisted nine The

And the Finalists are... •

Abang Africa Travel (South Africa) @AbangAfrica

All Out Africa (Swaziland) @alloutafrica

Basecamp Explorer Kenya (Kenya) @basecampexplore

Marine Dynamics Tours (South Africa) @MarineDynamics

Nande Junias Explorer Cultural Tours (Namibia) @ CulturalTownshipTours

North Island (Seychelles) @NorthIslandSeychelles

Peak East Africa (Kenya) @PEAKDMC

Spier (South Africa) @SpierWineFarm

Wilderness Safaris (in Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Rwanda) @WeAreWilderness

Supporters of the 2018 African Responsible Tourism Awards are: •

WESGRO @Wesgro – Headline sponsor

Bulk SMS @BulkSMS – Category sponsor: Best for Global Goals Reporting

Cape Whale Coast @Cape_WhaleCoast – Function sponsor

Singer Group – Accommodation sponsor

MLT Corp @MLTcarhiretour – Car hire sponsor

Responsible Traveller @RespTraveller – Category sponsor: Best for Marine

Marine Dynamics Tours

Habitat and Species Conservation

www.africanresponsibletourismawards.com

Nande Junias Explorer Cultural Tours

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WTM AFRICA 2018 Abang Africa Travel

Basecamp Explorer Kenya Wilderness Safaris

Spier

Seychelles North Island

PEAK East Africa

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WTM AFRICA 2018

African Responsible Tourism Awards 2018 Categories: 1. Best for Marine Species and Habitat Conservation The Best for Marine Species and Habitat Conservation category is awarded to a tourism organisation or initiative that has a measurable success in conserving and managing andmarine habitats and species. Explained: The focus of Best for Marine Species and Habitat Conservation is on tourism providers – whether tour operators, accommodation establishments, activity operators or conservation organisations – which have, through tourism, achieved measurable species and/or habitat conservation objectives in marine environments. Initiatives might include diving trails, wildlife watching experiences, places to stay or other tourism experiences which benefit species and/or habitats and local communities.

category is for a tourism organisation that has an exemplary approach to employment and treatment of staff, and a creative and long-term approach to including local producers in the supply chain. Explained: The Best for Decent Work and Inclusion category is looking for tourism organisations that create places to work which are supportive, fair and empowering – and looks beyond meeting legal requirements. This category is for organisations for whom the belief and practice of fair wages and decent working conditions is fundamental. These organisations also celebrate the skills of local people, employ local staff and offer training and progression opportunities. We are also looking for evidence of active engagement with local producers and their inclusion in the supply chain.

What the Judges want: Leadership in responsible tourism policies and practices in a marine setting, positive integration and relationships with local communities, proven achievements in maintaining species and/or habitats, measures of success and ideas which can be adapted and developed by tourism providers around the world.

What the Judges want: Organisations with a demonstrated commitment to, and a clear emphasis on, decent and fair working conditions. The winner will demonstrate a holistic approach to the welfare and skills development of its staff and significant achievement in local sourcing and employment.

2. Best for Decent Work and Inclusion

Best for Innovation in Water Management is awarded to a tourism organisation showing

The Best for Decent Work and Inclusion

Wilderness Safaris Botswana pic - Caroline Culbert ©

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3. Best for Innovation in Water Management


WTM AFRICA 2018 ingenuity and genuine effectiveness in the management of water.

towns) that inspire and promote responsible cultural experiences may enter this category.

Explained: The Best for Innovation in Water Management category awards innovative and replicable practices in water sourcing, the reduction of water use and wastewater levels and the disposal of wastewater.

What the judges want: Tourism providers with exciting experiences that demonstrate and celebrate local cultures and ways of life, and which involve locals in the delivery of the experience.

What the Judges want: Tourism organisations with innovative policies and replicable practices in water management, a proven track record of achievement in the form of comparative data, a commitment to the future, and a model for leadership in the industry. 4. Best Responsible Cultural Experience

5. Best for Global Goals The Best for Global Goals category is awarded to a tourism organisation that leverages tourism to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and then transparently reports on the impacts of their responsible tourism efforts.

The Best Responsible Cultural Experience is awarded to a tourism organisation for a tourism experience that puts the exploration and appreciation of local people and their cultures at its heart.

Explanation: The Best for Global Goals category is looking for examples of good practice where tourism organisations and destinations leverage tourism to make better places for people to live in, and then publish details of outcomes to demonstrate what can be achieved.

Explained: The Awards are committed to the idea that tourism experiences are better, more enjoyable and more memorable when they’re organised with the local community and culture in mind. The Best Responsible Cultural Experience seeks to shine a light on the best examples of experiences which involve and celebrate local people, their way of life and their expression of their culture. Cultural sites, performances, festivals, tours, interactive activities and places (e.g. precincts, villages,

What the Judges want: The judges are looking for tourism organisations that can demonstrate their positive sustainable development impact. They recognise that smaller companies will have smaller impacts but feel strongly that smaller businesses and organisations are no less worthy of an award. Instead the awards are looking to recognise effective approaches to reporting the impact of their sustainability efforts and communicating it to consumers, local people and governments.

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What’s news... Hotel Verde Zanzibar Opens its doors After three years of construction, Hotel Verde Zanzibar - Azam Luxury Resort & Spa will host her first guests on 21 March 2018. The 106-roomed, five-star hotel was commissioned by owner and Zanzibari-born businessman Mr Said Salim Awadh Bakhresa and will now fulfill his vision of becoming leaders in the green economy sector by building East Africa’s greenest hotel. Following on from their success and worldwide recognition of Hotel Verde, Africa’s greenest hotel in Cape Town, the project was contracted to South African-based Verde Hotels. Mr Bakhresa, Chairman of the Bakhresa Group, appointed the group to manage the construction and development through to opening, including the marketing and management of this new sustainably responsible hotel. Verde Hotels was able to enter the building phase at a timeous point to implement the many green, sustainable strategies required in the promotion of responsible tourism. Some of these implementations include a renewable energy generation, reticulated grey and black water recycling systems, waste management, a heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) system and regenerative drive elevators. During construction, the hotel has followed the criteria of the Green Building Council and will manage and operate as a certified sustainable

establishment, offering a carbon-neutral stay. The hotel is situated 2km from the popular and ever-developing Stone Town and a 2-minute walk to the beach. The 106 rooms offer guests 5-star ultra-luxury standard rooms and luxury suites, a spa, a gym (fully equipped with energygenerating gym equipment), 3 restaurants, conference facilities, entertainment, a gaming room, kids’ club, jet-skis and water sports. Future plans include the completion of a marina and a fully-kitted waterpark, which is already under construction. Commenting on the opening of the hotel, Calvin Boia, who is part of the Verde Hotels executive team managing the opening of Hotel Verde Zanzibar – Azam Luxury Resort and Spa, says, “This is an extremely exciting time not only for us at Verde Hotels but also for Zanzibar tourism - the destination is gaining huge recognition as a sought-after holiday and conference hot-spot and the hotel will add even more value. We have combined five-star luxury with sustainable strategies and offer a range of fantastic facilities and activities. We are looking forward to seeing families, conference groups and all our guests enjoy the fruits of our carefully thought-out hotel.” •

www.hotelverdezanzibar.com

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What’s news... A new collaboration between African Parks and Ker & Downey Africa With the rise of transformative experiences in the travel industry, expeditions to remote protected regions of Africa provide the unique combination of adventure and conservation that conscientious luxury travelers are seeking. Ker & Downey Africa is pleased to announce that it is collaborating with African Parks, a conservation NGO that manages 15 protected areas across Africa. By aligning conservation and tourism efforts, we can together help protect and restore African wildlife and wilderness in perpetuity. African Parks’ pioneering public-private partnership model seeks to advance the long term financial, social and ecological sustainability of some of the continent’s most spectacular landscapes – from the deserts of Zakouma and Ennedi (Chad) to the wetlands of Liuwa and Bangweulu (Zambia) to the forests of Odzala (Congo), and the beaches of Bazaruto (Mozambique) - to name a few. As of March 28, 2018, African Parks just added Mangochi Forest Reserve in Malawi as the 15th park under their management.

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It’s a model that has a track record of success and has attracted the support and attention from governments, philanthropists and those in the conservation sector. Tourism provides significant revenue for critical and ongoing park operations including law enforcement, wildlife conservation, and local communities. Ker & Downey Africa’s trips to African Parks properties contribute to this conservation success story. Ker & Downey seek to provide expedition experiences that go beyond tourism for those travelers that want to understand the complexities and challenges involved in conservation. Ker & Downey Africa offers bespoke expeditions designed to highlight the contemporary conservation work of African Parks and attract individuals with a strong interest in funding the conservation of African wildlife and its communities. •

www.ker-downeyafrica.com


What’s news... Bangweulu Wetlands, Zambia Pic credit - African Parks Š

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COAST OF DREAMS M ine are the only footsteps to be seen along this stretch of beach. The sun warms my bare shoulders and my toes revel in the softness of the fine white sand. The words, ‘I dream of Africa’ fill my mind - words uttered by Italian writer Kuki Gallman, and immortalised in the movie ‘I dreamed of Africa’. I consider how she gave up her comfortable life to pursue her dream of living in Africa, and wonder at the hardships and heartbreaks she had to endure. Much like anyone who has a dream, and is brave enough to pursue it…

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words - Tessa Buhrmann pics - Tessa Buhrmann / Anvil Bay / Isibindi Africa Lodges

Much like Paul Bell, who had a dream of establishing a community run beach camp on the exact spot in Mozambique where he had camped with his family for 50-something years. This was made possible by a landmark decision by the Mozambique Government to grant the Chemucane Community an ecotourism concession in the Maputo Special Reserve. The Companhia de Turismo de Chemucane (CTC), a joint venture, was formed between the Chemucane Community and the Bell

Foundation and with funding from the World Bank and the Bell and Ford Foundations construction of Anvil Bay camp began. This created many benefits for the local community, from the purchase of local materials, produce and services skills transfer, hospitality training as well employment In addition to this the community benefits financially from their share of the profits while concession fees support conservation efforts in the Reserve. responsible traveller 25


ANVIL BAY CHEMUCANE Anvil Bay is a low impact beach and bush destination where miles of untouched beach are fringed with coastal forest, and where beyond the sand dunes are the lakes, wetlands, forests and grasslands of the Maputo Special Reserve. Getting there is part of the adventure - ours admittedly more adventurous than necessary, and despite arriving in the dark, the welcome was warm, the sashimi fresh and the chardonnay chilled. A short walk along the beach and along nestled in the coastal forest canopy was our casinha... a thatch and canvas dwelling made from local materials and crafted by local artisans. The simple furniture was created on-site by local carpenters and the king-size bed, with its fine linen, was draped in netting. The sound of rolling waves, a melodious lullaby. We had indeed arrived in paradise. I awake early, the dappled light and melodious bird calls suggest that I may just catch the sunrise… pink ghost crabs scuttle out of my path into a nearby burrow as I emerge from the wooded path to a spectacular view. The colour of the ocean gradually turns from light pink to dark orange as a fiery ball makes its appearance before being temporarily absorbed by the clouds. I watch crabs dance with waves on the shoreline and families of plovers run the gauntlet with the waves as they dash… in then out, in then out, each time trying to retrieve a morsel from the newly washed sand. The ocean is warm and I look forward to our snorkelling later that day. There is much to keep the adventurous guest happy… from kayaks, paddleboards and fat-bikes, to guided trails, fishing and an ocean safari – where dolphins, turtles and even manta rays and whale sharks may be seen. Humpback whales are seasonal visitors, as are the Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles that come ashore to nest during the summer months. Chatting to Paul and Ricky Bell later in the day, we begin to understand Paul’s deep connection to this beautiful spot, and learn of the sense of community that prevailed decades past. We’re sitting in the ‘beach bar’ beneath a canvas structure supported by hand carved poles, my bare feet comfortable in the soft white sand and my soul being refreshed by the ocean view. Over a breakfast of fresh fruit and banana smoothies, Paul tells of a time when the Bell and Butler families visited regularly. When Dr Butler 26 responsible traveller

Anvil Bay


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‘The colour of the ocean gradually turns from light pink to dark orange as a fiery ball makes its appearance before being temporarily absorbed by the clouds....’ responsible traveller 29


‘There is much to keep the adventurous happy, from kayaks, paddleboards and fat-bikes, to guided trails, fishing and an ocean safari where dolphins, turtles and even manta rays may be seen...’ 30 responsible traveller


would treat patients from the local communities for everything from belly aches to dentistry. It was a time when the current ‘beach bar’ was the family accommodation by night and clinic by day. A time when the ‘girls’ bathed in the sea and the ‘boys’ made use of the nearby lake, keeping a watchful eye out for hippos! Lake Maxai is now the perfect spot for sundowners. Our short walk detoured past the solar farm – Anvil Bay is completely off-grid, an array of solar panels feeds a bank of batteries that supply power to the camp (there is a backup generator for when bad weather persists).

A borehole provides slightly brackish water, but the reverse osmosis system purifies it well providing delicious drinking water. A narrow path through the bush leads us to a wooden deck, the perfect spot for G&Ts and bird-watching - the Maputo Special Reserve supports remarkable diversity of bird life, with about 350 species recorded. But it was a pair of bull elephants on the far bank of the lake that held our attention as they jostled for superiority, alternating between bouts of aggression and playful frolicking in the water – much to the annoyance of a nearby pod of responsible traveller 31


hippos. Ricky tells us that it is not uncommon to have an elephant or two visiting the camp, as dung beetle covered mounds attest. I chat to Jonito Timbane, Anvil Bay trainee manager, and he tells of a near escape with an elephant one day when he was walking home to his uncle’s house located within the reserve. ‘You have to throw your shirt down and run’ he tells me, ‘because the elephant will look for it’. Yeah, right, I think to myself!! Jonito now stays in Mabuluco, 14 kms away along with a number of the other staff – Anvil Bay provides transport so as to avoid any incidents with elephant as well as to make things easier for staff. I ask him how he came be working at Anvil Bay, and he tells me he came to visit his uncle who worked at the camp, liked it so much so asked to stay. He started as a camp attendant, and when the building of the lodge began he learnt to do the plumbing and electrical installations, followed by being involved with the running of the lodge. He tells me that ‘his best thing is to learn more, and to see that everyone can now do things’ and finally with his infectious smile he says ‘and we need to see more guests coming’. Skills training is a key value for Paul and Ricky, and Jonito was one of 18 staff members that were trained in hospitality skills at the SA College for Tourism in Graaff Reinet - another was Anselmo Mudumbe. He proudly tells me that he speaks four languages, Shangaan, his home language; Chopi, which he learnt while staying in Inhambane with his grandfather; Portuguese then later also English during his schooling – in his spare time he gives English lessons to other staff members! I ask Anselmo about his time in Graaff Reinet and he tells me that he enjoyed learning about all aspects of tourism, and when asked what ‘his best’ was, he smiles and tells me ‘I would love to be in reception, but now I’m busy in front of house’. Something I assure him he is very good at! With Paul and Ricky offering advice and overseeing the running of Anvil Bay, I am confident this is one community enterprise that will grow from strength to strength, and when the 25 year ‘concession period’ is up will continue to thrive and bring economic value to the community.

www.anvilbay.com 32 responsible traveller

‘Anvil Bay is a low impact beach and bush destination where miles of untouched beach are fringed with coastal forest, and where beyond the sand dunes are the lakes, wetlands forests and grasslands of the Maputo Special Reserve...’


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Thonga Beach Lodge Then there’s Brett and Paige Gehren, who dreamed of sharing their passion for protecting the pristine and precious natural wonders of Africa… Through their fierce commitment to conservation and a deep desire to make a difference, Isibindi Africa Lodges was born. We recently had the opportunity of experiencing two of these ‘pristine and precious natural wonders’ on KwaZulu-Natal’s Maputaland Coast… Thonga Beach Lodge and Kosi Forest Lodge. THONGA BEACH LODGE White sandy roads and rolling hills soon gave way to coastal forest clad dunes and a view to behold. Edging slowly down a steep decline we were greeted with the phrase ‘A civilised distance from civilisation’ – and that it most certainly was. We had left Durban earlier that morning and even had time for a walk on the beach before lunch. 34 responsible traveller

Located within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (declared South Africa’s first UNESCO heritage Site in 1992), Thonga Beach Lodge offers a quintessential luxury beach experience. The thatched eco-suites are set within the coastal dune forest, some with views of the ocean, others nestled in the forest… but all beautifully appointed and linked to the main areas by raised wooden walkways. A large coastal red milkwood (Mimusops caffra) casts shadows on the deck of the al fresco dining area, and a Samango monkey watches from a nearby bush. Water droplets slither lazily down the outside of my glass, the chill of my icy drink transforming the humidity of the day. A plate of fruit and cheese follow a deliciously creamy mussel soup and freshly baked bread. A visit to Thonga Beach Lodge encompasses so much more than just the beach though. It is where the secrets of the coastal forest become


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tales of wonder, woven with much skill by Thulani Ntuli our guide. We listen to bird calls and watch a family of sunbirds flit around in the canopy, and learn about the secretive life of the tube-web spider (Ariadna corticola), whose silk trap lines are set around its burrow in the gnarly growth on a tree. Once triggered this results in swift action, with the prey being seized and pulled back into the tube. We also learn that the fruit of the waterberry (Syzygium cordatum) are used traditionally to treat stomach and respiratory ailments and that the bark provides a red-brown dye for weaving material. And where a visit to the local community puts the reality of the Isibindi Africa ‘dream’ into perspective. Thulani is from the local Mabibi community, he is one of the 47 local people employed by the lodge – quite something in a community of just 1200. Later that afternoon he takes us on a tour through his community, we pass the day-care clinic – the only one for many kilometres, and the local Mabibi Primary School. It’s beautifully clean and painted a cheerful blue and white and is where hopes and dreams are planted in the minds of young learners, from grade R (foundation phase) to grade seven. As part of their commitment to the local community, Thonga Beach Lodge established the Mabibi School Feeding Fund which feeds the children a lunch meal every school day. In addition to this the school is supported by generous gifts from guests, some financial and some through Pack for a Purpose. A recent donation saw the children benefitting from an assortment of new supplies – each child receiving an exam pad and hard cover book, and the grade seven pupils a maths set. This was facilitated by volunteer support teacher Pie Blight, with huge appreciation from class teachers and school principal, Mr Ngobese. Our drive culminates with sundowners under a moody sky alongside Lake Sibaya. This, South Africa’s largest freshwater lake, is listed as a RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance, which is not surprising considering the wealth of birdlife to be found here. A total of 279 bird species have been recorded at Lake Sibaya, 62 of which are closely associated with the lake through their breeding, feeding or roosting habits. It is also home to KZN’s second largest population of crocodile and hippo… I listen responsible traveller 37


to them grunt in the distance while sipping a chilled G&T and nibbling on roasted corn kernels. Later that evening we head out for a turtle walk along the beach. It is late in the season so we’re not overly optimistic that we’ll find any hatchlings. The air is fresh and lightning streaks the sky in the distance. Thulani explains how the adult turtles return to almost the same spot where they were hatched to lay their eggs. This occurs between mid-November and January, with the subsequent hatching occurring between January and mid-March… this unfortunately is a sight that will have to wait for another time. KOSI FOREST LODGE From beach paradise to forest hideaway. Kosi Forest Lodge, situated near the upper lakes of the Kosi Lake system in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, is set within a beautiful sand forest on the banks of Lake Shengeza. In the heat of the day the shade of the huge Zulu podberry tree (Dialium schlechteri) is most welcome, as is the refreshing drink and chilled face cloth, followed by a warm handshake and broad smile from Blessing Mngomezulu, the Lodge Manager. Blessing is a local man and has been part of the Kosi Bay Lodge team right from the start… Soon we’re walking down a sandy path through the sand forest, I choose to lose the shoes and the soft sand feels cool beneath my feet. At the end of the path is a clearing… and our ‘cabin in the woods’. Well actually it’s a thatched semitented structure built on raised stilts so as to have as light a footprint as possible. The trees take centre-stage here, and all structures are sensitively placed so as not to disturb the canopy and surrounding bush , which is home to what will be our wake up chorus each morning, and with over 420 species recorded in the surrounding areas, it is a wonderful melody indeed. Any visit to Kosi Forest Lodge must include a guided walk through the Raffia Palm Forest and an early morning canoe trip through the Sihadla channel of the Kosi Lakes system… Jerome Mntambo guides us through the magnificent Raffia Palm Forest, sharing his knowledge of the area and the biodiversity of the forest. We learn that the Kosi palm (Raphia australis) flowers only once in its life and then dies – which thankfully takes in the region of 38 responsible traveller

Kosi Forest Lodge


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‘Any visit to Kosi Forest Lodge must include a guided walk through the Raffia Palm Forest and an early morning canoe trip through the Sihadla channel...’ responsible traveller 41


forty years. We see fruit in its various stages of ripening and a tiny palm tree, its seed still attached, and glance up to see an adult palmnut vulture alighting from the crown of a fruiting Kosi palm – they were thought to be the only vegetarian vulture species, but in actual fact are opportunists and will scavenge fish from the African fish eagle given half a chance. Venturing deeper into the forest, the Kosi palms towering above us, I stand in awe at the size of the fronds that are said to be the longest in the world at about 10 metres. They are incredibly strong, and due to their buoyancy are used by the local Thonga people as building materials for both huts and rafts. Walking waist deep through indigenous ferns we glimpse the Sihadla channel, lined with swamp fig (Ficus trichopoda), waterberry (Syzegium cordatum) trees and 42 responsible traveller

mangroves - the only area in South Africa where five species of mangrove are found, two of which (Luminitzera racemosa and Ceriops tagal) are at the southernmost limit of their distribution. We emerge into a clearing on the edge of the channel and Jerome points out the raft on the other side. “This is the way the locals here cross the channel” he says, as he hauls on the rope tethered to the raft. I step on tentatively, it’s more stable than I thought. And with Jerome’s help, we cross to the other side. Birding along these channels is particularly satisfying and early the next morning we glide quietly into the water, Jerome doing the paddling – which is just as well as we’re juggling cameras and binoculars as we quickly tick off African jacana, purple gallinule, African pygmy goose, African darter and squacco heron.


A Palmnut vulture feeds on top of a Kosi palm… and we hear the distinctive call of the African fish eagle, and we pause as the Sihadla channel enters fourth lake. We glide slowly past lilac water lilies, see magnificent Kosi palms reflected on gently rippled surface of the water and appreciate the countless shades of green and hues of brown along the waters edge. A troop of Samango monkeys feed noisily in a large African fig tree (Ficus spp)… announcing that it’s time we were heading back to camp for a hearty breakfast too. On route I ask Jerome about the impact Kosi Forest Lodge has had on him and his family. He tells that it has made a big impact for him as well as the community as the lodge employs many people from the local community. In addition to providing much needed employment in an area

where unemployment is rife, the partnership arrangement between Isibindi Africa Lodges and the uMvumamvubu Development Trust (on behalf of the Myayiza community) sees the community benefit financially as a whole – for education, health care, and the construction of a community hall. And that brings us back to Blessing… whose love and respect for his grandmother had him searching for sticks to make a chicken run, which led him to digging holes, constructing a lodge and a building a future. “It was in November, and my Grandmother was planting mealies, and the chickens were eating the mealies as they started growing. She asked me to go out and get some sticks in the bush so that I could build a chicken run for her so we could lock away all the chickens. Because if they responsible traveller 43


eat all of those mealies it means for that season we won’t have any harvest, which means we won’t have any food since there was no one at home that was working.” While out looking for wood, Blessing tells that he met up with some of his friends. And while they were walking around Lake Shengeza, they “met up with a bakkie driven by one white man with a dog on the back of the bakkie. This man, he stopped us and he greeted us in Zulu and said that he was looking for help to offload some tents and material for building.” This man was Brett Gehren and he explained that he was going to be building a lodge and that the community would benefit from it. I glance around me, we’re sitting under the huge Zulu podberry tree, with its thick trunk and gnarled branches. It was under this tree, where the bar now is, that Blessing and his friends cleared an area for him to set up his tents and helped dig a hole for a well to provide much needed drinking water in an area where the summer sun beats down relentlessly. It was weekend he told us, and said they were told to return on Monday as the local Chief was going to employ people to construct the lodge. Blessing still had the chore of having to find sticks for the chicken run, which he knew was important, especially because “he didn’t want”, as he says “my Grandmother ‘getting behind my ear”. I smile, relating to that ‘nagging’ feeling. Monday came and the Chief, standing on a stepladder, gazed across 300-odd hopeful people. Blessing tells us that surprisingly he was the third person chosen – “after the Chief’s son, and then a close relative”, he says with a smile. In addition to being one of the 15 people involved in the construction of the lodge, Blessing acted as a translator for Vlam, the site manager, when Brett was off-site, and helped foster trust between local suppliers and these ‘white men’, considering the history of the country. Further to that, with his local knowledge Blessing was able to help Brett and Vlam establish activities for the lodge, such as snorkelling, diving, canoeing and walking. He smiles telling us how he helped Vlam learn Zulu bird names whilst he learnt the English name… this interest and knowledge in trees, birds and the natural

environment led to him being re-employed as a local guide, and maintenance man. As his knowledge, confidence and experience grew, so did his responsibilities and qualifications – he did tourism training and achieved the highest guiding certificate available. “When Thonga Beach Lodge started I went to help out as a lot of the people there had never worked in the tourism industry”, what was meant to be a couple of months ended up being six years. On his return to Kosi Forest Lodge he was offered the position as assistant manager followed a few years later after proving himself capable, lodge manager. He tells with a broad smile “you know that the wind always hits the tallest trees, so I was very afraid that I would become the tallest tree, and that when any wind comes along it’s going to knock me down! But I did it, and it’s been nearly five years now that I’ve been running Kosi Forest Lodge as the manager”. When asked what difference this has all made in his life, he says that he appreciates the huge learning curve the educational aspect made, and that he has been able to share his knowledge with his family. He emphasises the financial benefits, not only to him and his family, but the community at large, from employment, the purchasing of resources - from onions and pineapples to thatching grass, as well as local entertainers when required. “And your Grandmother’s chickens?” I ask… he replies with a smile saying that when he got the job the chicken run wasn’t finished, and “she was mad at me, and didn’t care about the job, just about her mealies as she was worried that she wouldn’t have food for the next season! You store your harvest, eat what you need, but keep some for the next season” - this being the nature of subsistence farming. Then he said something profound, “when you throw your seeds, you do so expecting something to grow”. Much like Paul and Ricky Bell with Anvil Bay, and Brett and Paige Gehren with Isibindi Africa Lodges… and much like Blessing himself, in the way he sowed his knowledge, work ethic and good values. •

www.isibindi.co.za www.kosiforestlodge.co.za www.thongabeachlodge.co.za 44 responsible traveller


‘He emphasises the financial benefits, not only to him and his family, but to the community at large...’ responsible traveller 45


What’s news... The New Serra Cafema – Changing Perspectives The new Serra Cafema, a Wilderness Safaris Classic Camp situated in one of the most remote regions in southern Africa – in Namibia’s extreme northwest – is set to reopen in mid-June 2018 after an environmentally-sensitive and inspiring rebuild. The new camp celebrates local Himba culture and its extraordinary remote desert location Serra Cafema is located on the banks of the Kunene River in the Hartmann’s Valley – a spectacular landscape where red sand dunes fold into layers of dramatic grey and purple rocks and one of only two perennial rivers in Namibia flows. The camp is also a joint venture between Wilderness Safaris and the Marienfluss Conservancy, including members of local Himba villages. The rebuild was therefore designed to enhance the stunning natural features of this beautiful desert-scape, while drawing guests into the otherworldly world of the statuesque and semi-nomadic Himba. Karen Munting, who spearheaded the architectural design project for Windhoekbased Munting Rechholtz Architects, shared this approach to the rebuild: “The conceptual organisation of Serra Cafema’s main area emulates the structure of a Himba village, with social functions divided into related groups and accommodated in smaller buildings or “huts” that ensure an intimate scale. The buildings are arranged to connect to each other via different outdoor spaces, ensuring pockets of privacy within a larger cohesive whole. This arrangement allows for the existing Ana trees to be preserved and utilised as necessary shade.” The main central area overlooks the river and has a lower-level oval seated area that is ideal for night-time stargazing. This draws guests together to socialise and reflect. It is also a reminder of how important these gatherings are to Himba society, where everyone comes together around the sacred fire to celebrate milestones and connect with the ancestors. The eight guest rooms, including one family room, connected by walkways, are also being rebuilt to maximise space and privacy. With views onto the Kunene River and the looming mountains of Angola beyond, the rooms are luxuriously spacious, with a sunken seating area, an extra-large bed with a canopy and netting, indoor and outdoor showers, and a large private deck for enjoying the sights and sounds of the 46 responsible traveller

river and private dining. Natural materials that reflect the surrounding landscape have been used throughout the camp, with stone sourced from the adjacent valley used for feature walls and prominent defining structures, creating texture and a direct connection with the landscape and the guest experience. According to Liezl Louw, lead interior designer on the project and owner of Windhoek-based Beyond Design, “Guests will be surprised by the life, colours and textures in this vast landscape. My goal with the interiors is to change guests’ perspectives by drawing them into different worlds, using colours and textures that are true to the space around us, and then using these elements in surprising ways”. In keeping with Wilderness Safaris’ commitment to having as light an eco-footprint as possible, Serra Cafema will be 100% solar powered. With the mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle” at the heart of the operation, as much work as possible is being done on site. Tables from the previous


What’s news... camp are being given a new, fresh finish and copper lights that were spread throughout are now being regrouped into a spectacular lighting display above the new bar. Woven leather, reminiscent of Himba clothing and previously used on the headboards, now provides a stunning visual anchor to the sofas in the lounge area. Wilderness Safaris will also be reusing walkway planks, decking timber and discarded gum poles to assist its conservancy partners with a new classroom at the Marienfluss School. Jennifer Fourie, Branding and Standards Officer at Wilderness Safaris Namibia, together with Liezl, have been working to source and support emerging entrepreneurs in Namibia to develop new, locally inspired products for Serra Cafema. “It has been exciting to find new talent on our doorstep, like the furniture makers in Katutura (a vibrant township outside of Windhoek), and to be able to incorporate their work in a meaningful way into the design and products at Serra Cafema,” enthused Jennifer. The servers and tables for the dining area at the camp are being built by young craftsmen and women at TABLED, a social

enterprise that gives orphans a future perspective by involving them in crafting design furniture. In keeping with the Himba tradition of wearing and using leather, rich ochre-coloured leather products, including wine and menu folders as well as handbags and other items, will be stocked in the curio shop and are being produced by Myeisha. Founded by two friends and based in Windhoek, Myeisha produces premium designer handbags and leather goods and provides training and employment for previously unskilled local labour. “These are just a few examples of our commitment to growing local talent and changing lives by providing support and encouragement to local suppliers, local artists and local culture”, Jennifer added. “We can’t wait to welcome guests to this remarkable new camp, not only offering them a life-changing journey, but one that changes their perspective of their place in the world, as well as the lives they positively impact by choosing to travel to this remote region”. •

www.wilderness-safaris.com Semi-nomadic Himba people

Pic credit - Wilderness Safaris / Dana Allen ©

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Painting of The Birkenhead iin full sail by Peter Bilas - only 600 were printed. Wilfred was gifted one of these by Simon Dickens.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Birkenhead... a history never forgotten

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ilfred Chivell of Marine Dynamics Shark Tours is passionate about history and has for the past sixteen years, in collaboration with Gansbaai Tourism, helped ensure the memory of the Birkenhead disaster is kept alive as part Gansbaai’s history, and in remembrance of all those who lost their lives on the fateful day of 26th February 1852. words & pics - Brenda du Toit / Dyer Island Cruises

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SPECIAL FEATURE The Birkenhead is known worldwide for the bravery of the men who stood back under the Captain’s command of ‘woman and children first’. HMS Birkenhead, also referred to as HM Troopship Birkenhead or Steam Frigate Birkenhead, was one of the first iron-hulled ships built for the Royal Navy. She was designed as a steam frigate, but was converted to a troopship before being commissioned. She was wrecked on 26 February 1852, while transporting troops to Algoa Bay at Danger Point near Gansbaai, 87 miles (140 kilometres) from Cape Town, South Africa. British Army military personnel, of various ranks - including members of the 74th Regiment of Foot, Queen’s Royal Regiment, 43rd Regiment of Foot and a large amount of soldiers, were on board the vessel. Also on board were 20 women and children and nine horses. There were not enough serviceable lifeboats for all the passengers, and the soldiers famously stood firm on board, thereby allowing the women and children to board the lifeboats safely and escape the sinking. Only 193 of the estimated 643 people on board survived, and the soldiers’ chivalry gave rise to the unofficial ‘women and children first’ protocol when abandoning ship, while the ‘Birkenhead drill’ of Rudyard Kipling’s poem came to describe courage in the face of hopeless circumstances. Every year the vessels of Wilfred’s companies, Marine Dynamics / Dyer Island Cruises, take interested residents, special guests and even descendants of the survivors to the Birkenhead rock. Here natural kelp wreaths, made by the International Marine Volunteers, are placed in the water. Prayers are said and the Last Post played for all souls lost at sea.

‘ the soldiers’ chivalry gave rise to the unofficial “women and children first” protocol when abandoning ship...’

The event is further honoured by the laying of wreaths at Birkenhead Memorial at Danger Point Lighthouse which overlooks the rock where HMS Birkenhead met her sad fate. In fact, Wilfred built the Birkenhead Memorial. Upon this memorial is a groove, which when viewed through, lines up with the Birkenhead Rock where the ship sank. The service at the lighthouse is incredibly moving and attended by the Overstrand Mayor, naval and war veterans. Special thanks go to Glenda Kitley, Manager of Gansbaai Tourism, and her team who handle the service and booking logistics.

New Brighton Lifeboat Station who drove this initiative after a visit to the Gansbaai/Hermanus area where he saw how many places were named after the Birkenhead. A special memorial designed by art student Jemma Twigg was built. The memorial included pebbles from the shores of Gansbaai where the survivors had come ashore. Andy Liston presented ‘our’ mayoral letter to the Mayor of Wirral and the British Consul General Christopher Trott.

In 2014 in an exciting connection between the area of Birkenhead UK and Gansbaai, letters were exchanged between then Mayor Nicolette Botha-Guthrie of the Overstrand and the Mayor of Wirral Cllr Dave Mitchell. It was Andy Liston of

Andy’s report back from the memorial placement in Birkenhead mentions the following: “I received an e-mail from the Queen’s representative informing me that she was very moved and very, very impressed by the service, memorial and

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SPECIAL FEATURE

The annual commemoration of the Birkenhead disaster. Natural kelp wreaths are placed on the water, parayers are said and the Last Post played for all souls lost at sea

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SPECIAL FEATURE symbolism of joining. This feedback will be fed back to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh who I have been told is very interested in hearing the tale from the Queen’s representative in Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead” The annual commemoration of this maritime disaster includes a talk by an authority on the Birkenhead. Over the years various speakers have made these evenings possible. One was Charlie Shapiro who, together with a team of men, salvaged artefacts from the Birkenhead in what seemed to be a vain and fruitless search for treasure. Aqua Exploration, Depth Recovery Unit groups and Pentow Marine Salvage Company (today renamed Smit Marine) led the archaeological and salvage excavation (during 1986/7/8) for the supposed treasure - 250,000 pounds in “specie” (gold and silver coins), which was the

Danger Point Lighthouse which overlooks the rock where HMS Birkenhead met her fate

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military pay packet for the troops fighting up in East London. The wreck of the Birkenhead lies in 30 metres of water and since her sinking, many salvage attempts have been made in search of this treasure, but to date, the specie remains unfounded. The Gold Coins recovered were but a handful, which were “private purses” belonging to officers. Wilfred secured the Birkenhead Collection of artefacts when Charlie passed away and the collection is on display at the home of Marine Dynamics, the Great White House, in Gansbaai - the collection is dedicated to the late Charlie Shapiro. As Wilfred says, “This is the true treasure and I wanted these artefacts to remain in Gansbaai where the community can appreciate them. It


SPECIAL FEATURE was here that the people offered their assistance to the survivors all those years ago. So much of our history in the area is based on the Birkenhead with many establishments proudly carrying this name. The collection has been added to by items on loan from Italo Martinengo who was also involved in the salvage attempt.” Wilfred was also recently gifted a limited edition print of a painting by Peter Bilas of the Birkenhead, in full sail, one of only 600 printed. This was donated by Simon Dickens (UK) whose parents had been at the unveiling of the Birkenhead Memorial many years before. One of the memorable talks was by another shipwreck diver, Gavin Clackworthy, who shared footage, more than thirty years old, showing the salvage operation. More recently Dr James Gray moved guests to tears with the heart gripping story of the events that

unfolded on that fatal day. Gray quoted from a Rudyard Kipling poem Soldier an’ Sailor too: ‘To stand and be still to the Birkenhead Drill is a damn tough bullet to chew.’ In leading the service, he said, “By commemorating these events we can retrieve the lessons learned from them. By remembering and hearing the story, we are moved to these lessons and to be better people ourselves.” Descendants of Michael Healy, Michael and Doreen Venables, wouldn’t be here today if his great grandfather hadn’t survived the Birkenhead disaster. He visits every year from the UK to attend the memorial. “It is amazing to see that after all these years’ people are still remembering and commemorating this tragic event” he says, “It is an honour to attend”. •

To take your chance in the thick of a rush, with firing all about, Is nothing so bad when you’ve cover to ‘and, an’ leave an’ likin’ to shout; But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew, An’ they done it, the Jollies – ‘Er Majesty’s Jollies – soldier an’ sailor too! Their work was done when it ‘adn’t begun; they was younger nor me an’ you; Their choice it was plain between drownin’ in ‘eaps an’ bein’ mopped by the screw, So they stood an’ was still to the Birken’ead drill, soldier an’ sailor too EXCERPT FROM ‘SOLDIER AN SAILOR TOO’ BY RUDYARD KIPLING

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SPECIAL FEATURE Display of Charlie Shapiro Birkenhead collection of artefacts at the Great White House in Gansbaai

If anyone has birkenhead artefacts and would like to add to this display, please contact Brenda on pa@sharkwatchsa.com / 076 061 3114

Wilfred is also a shipwreck diver and in 1987 by Wilfred and a friend discovered the Nicobar which was shipwrecked off Quion Point, South Africa in 1783 on July 11th. The Nicobar produced the largest find of 3000 examples of plate money. The coins Wilfred (owner DIC) discovered on the wreck of the Nicobar are held at the Cultural History Museum in Cape Town and the Royal Coin Cabinet in Stockholm, Sweden. Wilfred is committed to the history of the region and has also been involved in the protection and accessibility of the Klipgat Caves where remains of Stone Age people has been found. The Klipgat Cave in the Walker Bay Reserve is one of the most important assets in the Western Cape. Wilfred supported funding to upgrade the facilities and protect the site from further damage. The construction of board-walks provides access without damage to the cave due to visitor impact.

www.whalewatchsa.com 54 responsible traveller

•

www.sharkwatchsa.com


SPECIAL FEATURE

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What’s news... Tourism industry prioritizes socially and environmentally responsible development Times are changing and so is the face of global tourism. Gone are the days of heady excess and reckless abandon. Now, a new generation of mostly millennial socially and environmentally conscious travellers not only want to see the world but make a difference while doing so. A recent Phocuswright poll of over 2500 Americans found that travellers want to make an impact. 86% of travellers donated money while travelling, with 72% saying that giving back to the community is important, very important or extremely important. As travellers’ demand “holidays with a heart”, tourist destinations, property developers and even hotels are under increasing pressure to be socially responsible. In East Africa, Pennyroyal Ltd. is setting new standards in socially responsible travel by pioneering community outreach, sustainable development and ecotourism in Zanzibar. The British developers of Blue Amber Resort – set to be Africa’s largest mixed-use development upon completion – are implementing a series of social initiatives to uplift local communities

Feeding programme for school children

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and conserve the natural beauty of the idyllic Tanzanian archipelago. The development has established Best of Zanzibar, a corporate social responsibility programme, through which it aims to use education and skills development initiatives to empower and foster sustainable local communities. “The Best of Zanzibar approach to Corporate Social Responsibility is founded on the ideal that being accountable [to] its communities, culture and environment defines Pennyroyal’s role in society,” said Saleh Said, Managing Director of Pennyroyal Ltd. Best of Zanzibar is to develop in tandem with the resort, with its series of wide-ranging initiatives extending beyond the local community as the developers aim to make a positive impact throughout Zanzibar. “We at Pennyroyal are focused on improving the life standards of the local Matemwe community. Furthermore, we are striving to eradicate poverty in Zanzibar through Best


What’s news... of Zanzibar. A huge project we’re confident in executing with the utmost support from the local Government,” Said added. The Best of Zanzibar approach focuses on bringing sustainable change through education while taking the environment, economy and social practices into consideration. To date, it has launched an annual mobile clinic to cater to the health needs of the communities in Mbyu Tende and Kijini, as well as facilitated an After-School Tutoring programme and feeding scheme for primary school children. Young people are also being taught entrepreneurship and soft skills – including CV writing and interview skills – to improve employability and end a poverty cycle experienced in some communities. It has also launched an eight-month tailoring programme, which will allow participants to cater to the resort community. The resort has committed to employing more than 1000 locals, all of whom will undergo fully-sponsored vocational training, during its construction phase and expects to employ others in operational roles upon completion. The employment opportunities, which come with a development such as Blue Amber Zanzibar

- which spans 411 hectares on a small island – are expected to reduce unemployment and have a significant positive impact on economic growth, said Said. Latest data from the Zanzibar Employment Services shows an unemployment rate of 14.3% on the archipelago while a 2017 Africa Report by Knight Frank found Tanzania to be one of a small group of African nations to have maintained GDP growth in excess of 5% in 2016. In addition to making a positive social impact, Blue Amber Zanzibar is striving to have the lowest ecological footprint of any resort in the world by implementing large-scale renewable power and water management strategies. It will also use a portion of profits to fund further initiatives, thereby ensuring sustainable community development and empowerment in Zanzibar. Tourists visiting Blue Amber Zanzibar can look forward to enjoying its world-class facilities and making good lasting memories while knowing that they, together with Pennyroyal, are improving people’s lives and making local communities stronger and more prosperous. •

www.amberzanzibar.com

School programme for girls

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We had a Dream... ...a story of five Eastern Cape families, by Roger Hart

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T

he publicity blurb says things like “60 km between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown in frontier Country in what is known as the Zuurveld, our ancestors arrived with the British settlers of 1820 to farm sheep and cattle”. It’s possible that with the growth of the malaria free Eastern Cape game reserve industry that there’ll be none of the original families left except for ours to tell people how it was and how it all changed. words - Roger Hart pics - Amakhala Game Reserve

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These days it’s hard to find a farm that doesn’t share at least two boundary fences with game reserves. So you have to ask why we didn’t follow suit and sell up. I can’t think of anything that makes us startlingly different. Possibly, it’s just that ten years ago there was a change when a few of us returned ‘from exile’ as it were. Tired of the cities and the rat race maybe, answering the call of family as the older generation started to eye retirement, we were an interesting bunch who got together for a braai one evening to talk about “this game reserve thing”. The blurb speaks of the Bushman’s River winding through pristine valley bushveld and the rolling hills above but I don’t think we stopped to consider the fact that five of the six vegetation biomes are present in our area. The actual name Amakhala is the isiXhosa word for aloes, which proudly dominate the floral landscape. I think we wondered about the future and how we were going to make a living from stock farming as all sorts of threats faced the commercial farmer in the new South Africa. We wondered if we would be able to pass on to our own children what our families were passing on to us. We were concerned that if we didn’t make some changes our children would never experience an idyllic childhood as we had – hunting, playing cricket and running free. We had some ideas on basic conservation and were proud that kudu, bushbuck and other game still flourished on our farms. Farmers have always considered themselves custodians of the land but I can’t begin to say how much we’ve learnt since. It took a year of some hard talking to put it together – the “articles of association” to give our constitution its correct legal name. You see, we haven’t found a fairy godfather with deep pockets, formed a company and appointed a general manager and staff. We’ve just done it ourselves – a sort of “boer maak ‘n plan” venture. Our bank managers were doubtful to say the least, the travel agents and operators took some persuasion, various consultants promised the world, herding an elephant out the garden was a new experience and some staff had to stop using old shortcuts home after the payday weekend party. We have coped with the reality of the “3 year gap” between marketing and returns and, as we’ve gained the confidence of our guests, and we’ve grown in confidence ourselves. 60 responsible traveller


‘ We were concerned that if we didn’t make some changes our children would never experience as idyllic childhood as we had...’

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Our constitution is proportionally based so beds are allocated according to the number of hectares committed -- or risked, some might say. Accommodation ranges from bush lodges to colonial houses and all are owner managed because we pride ourselves on personal service and the warm hospitality that Eastern Cape farmers have always extended to travellers. I think we’re quite lucky as Richard Gush, our chairman, is an ex-Eskom civil engineer with a calm and considered approach, just what is needed to hold the group together. William Fowlds could be in a 9-to-5 vet practice in town but, like Richard, has come home and practices on some-what bigger animals. Rod and Mike Weeks were partners in a sheep and dairy farm but like Giles Gush were concerned about declining commodity prices. Rod and Giles now attend to the land and game aspect of the reserve and Mike and Heidi Fowlds have turned their talents to marketing and Rod’s wife, Tracy, runs our day visitor programme. Me, well, I used to teach English and History but always wanted to go back to the farm – and who’d want to teach today? That’s why I’m the one writing the article. One thing I have to do is pay tribute to the older generation who backed us fully as we took down the fences that their fathers and grandfathers had put up. Takes a lot for a farmer to accept the sort of changes we’ve made. Phase one saw the reintroduction of various antelope species, zebra, wildebeest and giraffe. We tied seats on to the back of our farm bakkies and ran safaris while building new lodges and renovating old farmhouses. Phase two involved our first serious relocation of a herd of elephants from Phinda in KwaZuluNatal and the introduction of white rhino. At this point the original five families were joined by Will and Sharon van Duyn who relocated from Thorneybush and who had the expertise to set up a cheetah and buffalo breeding programme. The final stage of our 15 year plan, which we managed to do in five years, was to bring in lion, hyena and serval to achieve “big five” status. The lesson is that you can dream and plan but in reality things have a different way of working out. Guests on Amakhala can opt for a canoe safari, a river cruise (especially good for bird viewing) as well as guided walks. The site of the earliest recorded paleontological discovery in South Africa offers another 62 responsible traveller

dimension of nature as the geological base of the environment is so often ignored. The Bushman’s River, once frequented by Khoi herders and San hunter-gatherers, and subsequently the frontier where the amaXhosa and the Europeans met, often in hostility, reveals the presence of many forts and battlesites. Stone Age man also left his mark as evidenced by the many tool-making workshops along the riverbanks. We strongly believe that our guests should experience the full package that nature has to offer, the less significant and unattractive flora and fauna contributing to the holistic picture, thus explaining the deeper meaning behind our slogan “Returning to Nature”. What’s left to do now that we’re where we are? We have a Conservation and Education Centre led by Jennifer Gush whose doctorate in zoology wasn’t of much day to day use as a dairy farmer’s wife but who has all the contacts with the academics at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. Schalk Pretorius, ex-Bush Academy, has set up his own field guide course, Ulovane Environmental Training, producing guides who know the Eastern Cape and Amakhala well. Cathy Gush, who was the local librarian, now puts her honours degree in education to good use as we try to assist the social development of our staff who have also had to make the transition from farming to conservation. We are extremely proud of the fact that we haven’t retrenched one labourer – on the contrary, many have been retrained and earn better money in better jobs. And so, the dream continues, although we have learnt to sleep with one eye open lest the dream becomes a nightmare. There’s so much still to learn and so much to do -- definitely “a work in progress”… •

www.amakhala.co.za NOTE: This story about five Eastern Cape families was first published in Responsible Traveller in 2009, but being relevant to the theme of this edition it was a story worth re-publishing.


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What’s news... Volkswagen Creates Waves for the Environment at Surfing Event The Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro, presented by Billabong was hosted at Pollok Beach over the long weekend in Volkswagen’s home city of Port Elizabeth. The action kicked off on Saturday, 31 March, as South Africa’s top surfers took to the waves for their heats.

spectators were given insightful lessons on how to make better use of plastic trash. For a small donation to the DICT, children could play, craft and take home plastic ocean creatures recycled out of the very plastic that threatens the ocean’s well-being.

Headline sponor Volkswagen South Africa was out in full support to cheer on the surfers, and to also give spectators a little more to focus on inbetween the sets. The Volkswagen Display activities kept families busy, while also landing a salient educational message on the health of SA’s oceans and plastic waste recycling.

To drive the message home, Volkswagen and DICT also joined spectators and participants in a group Clean-the-Beach initiative to help ensure the beach was cleared of any trash caused by the event. They also held an ocean awareness talk with the local children who participated in Surfing South Africa’s CSI surf classes on the final day of the event.

Guests rode and posed for pictures on the Volkswagen Bottle Wave - handcrafted from recyled plastic bottles and waste. Together with their long standing partners in ocean marine life protection, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT), Volkswagen South Africa created the bottle wave photo set to highlight the Ocean’s plastic waste crisis and to encourage spectators to think differently about plastic pollution and recycling practices. The partnership with DICT falls under the company’s Volkswagen for Good initiatives. While parents explored the great specifications of the various Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles on display - such as the California Beach camper van, Caravelle and Transporter Crew Bus – younger DICT’s Pinkey Ngewu surfing the plastic wave

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In addition to the Volkswagen for Good initiatives showcased at the event, the People’s Car supports the City Surf Series first and foremost to help drive local surfing and surfers forward. “Volkswagen are backing the City Surf Series for the second year in a row due to the opportunity the series presents to local Surfers; giving them the chance to score accredited World Surfing League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) points, the log that leads to a spot on the WSL’s Championship Tour,“ said Matt Genrich, General Manager of Group Communications at Volkswagen. •

www.vw.co.za www.dict.org.za

dict.org.za


What’s news... #GoGreen Campaign Donating Over 700 Green Desks to Schools Over 700 Green Desks, made from 2,700 kgs of recycled plastic waste collected from both the 2017 Comrades and 2017 Two Oceans marathons, are being delivered to over 40 schools in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. This impactful #GoGreen project is part of a collaborative campaign between Polyco, WILDLANDS, and Old Mutual. According to WILDLANDS, there is a shortage of 300 000 school desks in South Africa, and this initiative aims to tackle the shortage head on. On 15 February 2018, 20 of these desks were delivered to Axios School of Skills in Eerste River in the Western Cape, and 20 more were delivered to Nobanda Primary School in Sweetwaters, KwaZulu-Natal. The deliveries were met with great excitement. “It’s wonderful that South Africans can help to address the lack of desks in schools, and secure a brighter future for the younger generation, simply by recycling their plastics,” says Polyco’s Chief Executive Officer, Mandy Naudé.

Naudé also believes that this is an important lesson for the learners. “This is our opportunity to show children the power of recycled plastic, all while they’re sitting at their Green Desks. Currently only 5% of South Africans recycle plastic, and we’re hoping these desks will help fuel learners’ curiosity and lead them to ask questions about the power of recycling.” The latest drop-off occurred at Lalelani Primary School in Nthshongweni, KwaZulu-Natal which is a beneficiary of the ROBINHOOD Foundation. On 14 March 2018, a total of 47 double green desks were handed over to the Grade 1 class, who were extremely excited to receive their new and much needed desks. Through the #GoGreen campaign, Polyco, WILDLANDS, and Old Mutual hope to educate and enlighten young South Africans about the true power of recycling plastic, one Green Desk at a time. •

www.polyco.co.za

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SUSTAINABILITY

Water saving.... lessons for the tourism industry

S

outh Africa can at times can be a very reactive country, meaning we seem to wake up very late on critical issues. Over many years we have been hearing about the scarce resource that is water. However, we have waited until water restrictions in the Western Cape are at level six before making impactful changes. Thanks to good communication, for example, residential usage has now dropped to 523 megalitres per day – a vast difference to the 1 130 megalitres per day recorded in 2014.

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SUSTAINABILITY For the tourism industry, it’s about communicating to visitors that Cape Town remains open for business. Tourists are hearing the correct messaging around water from the moment they arrive to the time they leave, ensuring their impact remains low, however they should know this before they arrive. The truth of the matter is that the drought in South Africa will have an impact on the economy. The South African tourism sector accounts for over 9% of the country’s GDP. A large portion of this is from visitors to Cape Town. The Western Cape has a challenging road ahead, but we cannot afford the potential loss of income and jobs as a result. We must also remember that the water crisis is not limited to the Western Cape, with the Eastern and the Northern Cape worst hit by the drought. We need to address this at a national level. This means planning is key. If we had made water our focus five years ago, we wouldn’t be in this situation now. For our sector, and for everyone, the water crisis in the Western Cape is a huge wake up call. South Africa, and even the rest of the world, needs to learn from these events. Recycling water and being water wise will be the new norm for all of us. We need to protect and preserve our country’s water resources for the long-term. To accomplish this, the tourism industry needs to be taking the bull by the horns. Responsible tourism is not just a box to tick. We can’t afford to be focused purely on money but need to understand the impact of our business on the environment and the surrounding communities. Sustainable tourism shouldn’t be an award one wins at trade events where only a handful of products enter – it should be the base of all entries to qualify as a tourism product, as much as grading is an entry level in some awards and recognition of product. At home, personally, recycling water has become a very normal way of life. I can easily get by on 50 litres of water a day. Across the Western Cape, people are putting measures in place to reduce their water consumption. Residents and businesses are becoming accustomed to the new way of life, but we need to save more.

A negative consequence of severe drought is the reliance on bottled water

The tourism industry, especially, needs to function around the constant improvement and protection of the environment we live in. After all, it is our pristine natural environment responsible traveller 67


SUSTAINABILITY

that attracts tourists to our shores. Around the world, recycling, conservation, and environmental initiatives are top of mind. People want to know where their waste goes, and how businesses are conserving and supporting their environments and communities respectively.

not everyone has the means to fund a borehole system at home, it might be worthwhile to look at co-funding such an option with neighbours and sharing the resource. We are all in this together. This is how we start to change the mindset, with “real” responsible tourism being the most important buzzword in the industry.

It must be known that our tourism industry is open for business. A proactive stance in communication is required, with the elimination of language which creates panic. As long as visitors understand what is required of them, they do not mind complying and will be supportive of our efforts to conserve this vital resource. Our tourism assets bring visitors which, in turn, creates jobs. We must therefore protect and grow this value chain.

It’s time we work together as an industry and embrace these changes on a national level. The environment dictates to us, but it also provides solutions. If you have wind and sun, you have electricity. If you have air and clouds, you have water. There are many possibilities for positive change.

Our hospitality industry is responding by decreasing water consumption in hotels. Guests are happily having very short showers and reusing their towels and linens. Swimming pools can easily be maintained with sea water and decent filtration systems. Our major sites and attractions are no different. Cape Point, for example, has implemented many water-saving measures and reduced consumption dramatically - without turning any visitors away. Signs ask visitors to not waste water, and they are complying. The site is also recycling grey water for flushing toilets and visitors are using waterless hand sanitisers. People are so used to just opening a tap, however nobody is complaining. It’s just a change of mindset. None of it takes anything away from the experience of visiting Cape Town. In fact, we can use this opportunity to focus the experience around awareness and conservation. Our industry has woken up now – we need to use this to our advantage to inform not just the rest of the country, but the global market. South Africa isn’t the only country facing a national water crisis. Other countries can learn from us and vice versa, and destinations on the verge of a water crisis, certainly will be looking to us for solutions. With the eyes of the world on us, what are the solutions going forward? Those who have boreholes, including guest houses in suburbs and small communities, have been sharing this resource with their neighbours and local businesses in order to save municipal supply for the long-term. While 68 responsible traveller

Now is also the time for innovation, one of my favourite words. We have so many bright minds. People are coming up with many great ideas, and innovative products to reduce water usage and make it easier to live with less water. We need to make the statement to the world that we got through this and we learned from it. Together, we can build a very sustainable tourism industry. Water scarcity is a crisis, but it’s also a big opportunity. It starts with you, and with me, making changes at home. And it continues with every single business in tourism leading the way with innovative, and sustainable solutions. We call ourselves a rainbow nation. I hope the rainbow comes out for us. And, if not, I hope we create the solutions we need to continue growing the tourism industry. As Nelson Mandela said: “I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses. We must never forget that it is our duty to protect this environment.” •

words - Brett Hendricks, General Manager of Thebe Tourism Group


What’s news... Born Free launches appeal to rehome King the lion cub to South African sanctuary International wildlife charity, Born Free, has launched an urgent appeal to rehome King – a tiny lion cub with a mighty name - to its big cat sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. King made international headlines in October 2017 when he was found half-starved and cowering in a dirty cage in an abandoned apartment in Paris. Just a few months old and kept illegally as an exotic pet, he had been beaten and kicked by his owner who then posted videos of the abuse on social media. King was rescued by French animal rescue charities Fondation 30 Million d’Amis and Refuge de l’Arche and given a temporary home at Natuurhulpcentrum rescue centre, in Belgium. Born Free Co-Founder and Trustee, Virginia McKenna OBE, said: “Have we learned nothing over the years? How can we not understand that keeping wild animals in cages is not just cruel, but shameful? Lions are known as kings of the jungle. This little king, sadly, will never wear his crown, but at least we can give him love and respect and a natural environment to roam and rest in. That is the least he deserves, and I hope people will help us write a happy ending to this story.”

King’s new life at Born Free’s big cat sanctuary will be a world away from the Paris apartment in which he was discovered. Shockingly, an increasing number of wild animals are kept as pets worldwide. Born Free opposes the keeping of wild animals as pets because they have complex social, physical and behavioural needs and are, therefore, particularly susceptible to welfare problems when kept as pets. Keeping wild animals as pets is not just an international problem. Latest research by Born Free has revealed more than 292 dangerous wild cats – including at least nine lions – are being kept privately, and legally, in Great Britain under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. Born Free’s Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity, Dr Chris Draper, said: “Whether wild-caught or captive-bred, wild animals retain their wild instincts and their often complex social, behaviour and environmental needs: needs that are impossible to meet in a domestic environment. It is high time that we stop viewing exotic wild animals simply as objects to own, and start considering their welfare - and the risks they may sometimes pose to us. It should be abundantly clear that the never-ending demand for increasingly exotic and dangerous wild animals in the pet trade needs to stop.” •

www.bornfree.org.uk

pic - Dries Damiaens Natuurhulpcentrum ©

Born Free plans to transport King from Belgium to South Africa where he will be given a permanent home at their long-established big cat sanctuary at Shamwari. The sanctuary is already home to 16 lions and leopards rescued from appalling captive conditions. King will be given lifetime care in a spacious, safe and natural

environment, surrounded by the beautiful sights and sounds of Africa.

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What’s news... New !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre launching at top Cape Town destination !Khwa ttu - meaning ‘water hole’ in the ancient /Xam Bushmen language - situated an hour from Cape Town’s CBD on the West Coast’s R27 main route, is currently undergoing an exciting expansion and in September the !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre will open its doors to the public. This new !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre will house interactive displays and presentations that depict the lives of the San and added to the existing restaurant, gallery, gift shop and guided tours on offer at !Khwa ttu promises visitors of all ages an unforgettable and enriching day out – a must do Cape Town activity.

pics - Di Brown ©

San guides will tell the unfiltered stories of their people - coupled with audio and film to really bring the stories to life and immerse visitors in the ways of the San. Live talks and interactive demonstrations will also be offered.

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“The !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre is a great deal more than a collection of artefacts and historical photos. It’s a pioneering initiative that embraces the principle of community curation, led by a team of academics and San consultants from across Southern Africa. Our exhibitions, San-led trails, and guided experiences are designed to engage the body and senses as much as the mind,” explains Michael Daiber, General Manager of !Khwa ttu. “They demonstrate the skills and knowledge of the San people, while also telling the archaeological story of the origins of the modern mind on the Southern African coastline.” The Heritage Centre, when complete, will incorporate several of the old farm buildings and an innovative new architect designed building that follows the natural contours of the land, with


What’s news... a curved, planted roof. In keeping with the ‘tread lightly’ San way of life the centre incorporates sustainable measures for lighting, heating and cooling. Tellingly, and unsurprisingly, the centre recently won the TO DO! 2018 award - one of the most coveted awards in socially responsible tourism. The TO DO awards honour tourism related projects and measures which respect the interests of the local population. “In 1998, the Working Group for Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA) agreed that the San needed assistance in training their own people to deal with tourism and how to showcase the San culture to the world. In 1999 the farm land was purchased to create this dream. The original buildings on the farm were converted and the agricultural land was restored into a nature reserve,” explains Daiber. !Khwa ttu is run as a non-profit company and the centre celebrates the San culture and spirit - both

the past and present – by educating the general public about the world of the San, providing training to the San, restoring and protecting the cultural heritage of the San, and promoting the long-term financial sustainability of San development in southern Africa. Hence the !Khwa ttu ethos of ‘San Spirit Shared’. Visitors to !Khwa ttu can enjoy the current facilities and offerings which include the restaurant, the gallery, a gift shop, the Dream Museum, San guided nature walk, mountain bike trails, hikes, trail runs, and accommodation – and of course, once completed, the new San Heritage Centre. Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, says that !Khwa ttu is a truly unique heritage offering for visitors to the Western Cape and its expansion is exciting news. “The new San Heritage Centre looks set to become an important tool in preserving our history and sharing our stories.” •

www.khwattu.org

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CONSERVATION PROFILE

Chipembere Rhino Foundation making a difference on the front line against poaching

Words & pics - Chipembere Rhino Foundation 72 responsible traveller


CONSERVATION PROFILE

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CONSERVATION PROFILE

T

he hearts of those who strive to protect the world’s last 29,000 remaining rhinos were simultaneously encouraged and saddened by the latest national rhino poaching statistics, recently released by South Afri-can Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa. The number of rhino poached in 2017 was 2.5% lower than in 2016, and 2017 was the third year in a row that the number of recorded rhino deaths have dropped. “Every rhino is precious. Our hearts are encouraged that 26 fewer rhinos were lost in 2017 compared to 2016. At the same time, we mourn the devastating loss of the 1028 rhinos killed last year and the 1054 rhinos poached in 2016,” says Brent Cook, founder of Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF), a local regis-tered non-profit organisation with extensive rhino experience. “We are saddened that 2017 was the fifth year running in which we lost more than 1000 rhinos per year. The senseless slaughter of 5000 rhinos since 2013 is a tragedy for the survival of these ancient animals that breed very slowly, with a long gestation pe-riod of approximately 450480 days.” “At the same time, these dire statistics propels us to even greater efforts to protect and save this iconic spe-cies for future generations.” Protecting the world’s last remaining rhinos – of which 80% are found in South Africa – is a mammoth task that requires involvement from

all South Africans - from the brave conservation soldiers on the frontline to ordinary citizens and businesses and organisations like CRF that support anti-poaching efforts locally and across Sub-Saharan Africa in a range of different ways. HOW TO BEAT THE POACHERS “A ‘new era’ in anti-poaching operations is needed to protect our rhino from poachers,” says Cook. “It re-quires using our limited resources to provide maximum protection in areas of greatest importance.” Cook notes that the most successful interventions in protecting rhino include monitoring and tracking; Anti-Poaching Units (APU) supported by specially-trained K9 units; translocating rhinos to safer and better protected areas; and – perhaps most importantly - raising awareness and funding. Intensive Monitoring and Tracking Technology Integrating state-of-the-art, real-time monitoring and tracking equipment, cuttingedge technology, intelli-gence, analysis and Chipembere Rhino Foundation K-9 Unit

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CONSERVATION PROFILE Chantelle & Brent Cook

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CONSERVATION PROFILE situational awareness, allows for more effective anti-poaching efforts. “CRF has extensive experience in this field and specialises in sourcing the latest in rhino monitoring technol-ogy,” explains Cook. “This allows rhino monitoring and anti-poaching teams to monitor continuously the location and physical health of rhino and position antipoaching teams strategically.” ANTI-POACHING UNITS (APU) On the ground, the brave conservation soldiers of the Anti-Poaching Units face hot days and long, cold nights patrolling thousands of kilometres of bush, up against poaching syndicates that are armed, danger-ous, highlyorganised and well-equipped. To ensure that APUs are professionally equipped and motivated for their vital role on the frontline, CRF im-plements effective training courses Waiting for the drugs to take effect

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through The Game Rangers Association of Africa, supplies proven and tested anti-poaching equipment for APU rangers, including bulletproof vests, first aid kits, uniforms, boots, torches, hydration backpacks, monitoring and essential field equipment. SPECIALLY-TRAINED K9 UNITS K9 units, used for tracking and capturing poachers as well as detecting contraband, including firearms and rhino horn, have been described as a game changer in combating poaching. CRF’s goal is to saturate strategic areas with well-trained anti-poaching dogs and several specially-trained K9s have already been deployed. CRF funding is used to purchase and train the dogs; train accredited K9 handlers; provide their dogs food, equipment, cover vet bills and construct comfortable kennel enclosures and shelters; and to fund dedicated


CONSERVATION PROFILE vehicles for the K9 units and salaries for trained K9 handlers. TRANSLOCATING RHINOS TO SAFETY Another effective intervention has been translocating rhino from high risk poaching areas to safer areas. Having supported the Rhinos without Borders (RWB) project since inception in 2013, CRF has donated over R600,000 worth of tracking equipment for 73 translocated Rhino, along with telemetry receivers and an-tennas for both ground and aerial monitoring teams. CRF’s assistance with the projects goal to translocate a total of 100 rhinos to safe havens in Botswana is almost complete. RAISING AWARENESS AND FUNDING Raising awareness about the plight of the last few remaining rhino and raising funding for urgently-needed anti-poaching interventions

are critical to saving our rhinos. “Thankfully, there are many people already contributing – from school children and TV presenters creating awareness globally to companies and individuals who support our efforts through ongoing funding,” says Cook. “We thank all those who have contributed over the years. I shudder to think how many more rhino we could have lost if it was not for the small efforts made by the community, individuals and caring compa-nies in terms of continuous funding and support. The donations and support from ordinary, caring South Africans, businesses and the global community, no matter how small, make a massive difference on the ground. •

www.chipembere.org

“We invite you to join Southern Africa’s rhino custodians in protecting these rare and iconic animals against poaching. To become part of a locally-based but global effort to save the world’s last few remaining rhinos, simply visit us at: www.chipembere.org www.facebook.com/Chipembererhinofoundation

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What’s news... An informative new read on the rhino poaching crisis... Rhino Revolution: Searching for new solutions How is South Africa going to sustain the cost of securing rhino while the belief continues to persist that the enemy lies elsewhere in Southeast Asia? The Walkers believe that the problem actually lies in South Africa’s own backyard. This book discusses corruption and the criminal justice system, the need for more community engagement and the costs of protection. It also looks at how far we have come since the rhino wars in the 1980s and the rhino trade debate. We have to shift from the negative to an element of the positive. People are tired of seeing dead and dying rhino. There is some optimism due to the excellent work being undertaken by the state and the private sector at many levels in security, tourism, community involvement and environmental education, as well as NGO support. Rhino Revolution testifies to the many people doing just that. The rhino war in South Africa has entered its 10th year, and last year saw 662 rhino killed in Kruger alone – and over 1000 in total for South Africa. Clive and Anton Walker, authors of the bestselling Rhino Keepers (2012), have once again come up with a fresh, new look at the ongoing rhino crisis.

With magnificent photographs and afterwords by John Hanks and Yolan Friedman (Endangered Wildlife Trust). Clive Walker entered the battle for the rhino with the founding of the Endangered Wildlife Trust in 1973. He co-founded the Rhino and Elephant Foundation and the African Rhino Owners Association, and served on the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group for close on 14 years. He served as a member of the South African Parks Board from 2000 to 2006. Anton Walker, Clive’s son, grew up largely at Lapalala Wilderness, the reserve that was to become an important rhino sanctuary and a world-class environmental school in the bush. Anton joined the permanent staff of the reserve in 1996 and was the general manager of the 45 000-hectare sanctuary until October 2017. He has since taken up the position of director and curator of the Waterberg Living Museum in the Waterberg of Limpopo. His knowledge of both species of rhino is extensive in all areas of management, capture, monitoring, field operations and aerial surveys. His special interest lies in the fossil record of the rhino. •

www.jacana.za dict.org.za

‘The rhino does not belong to us. It belongs to no one. All that we own is the responsibility of ensuring that it persists and that future books on the rhino are written about its expanded range and not its declining future...’ YOLAN FRIEDMAN (EWT)

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What’s news... SAASA takes firm stance on captive wildlife welfare The South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (SAASA) has broken its ties with Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) following the announcement of the organisation’s captive wildlife criteria. “We feel that the recently introduced FTT captive wildlife criteria are not strict enough, they are open to interpretation, and don’t sufficiently address the interest of captive wildlife,” says Tony Blignaut (CEO SAASA). “However, we are fully committed to continue following the other FTT principals in our business model, as we believe these represent best practice in the industry.” The four SAASA wildlife sanctuaries (Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, Jukani and Monkeyland KZN) put the welfare and the needs of their animals above all else and believe that they have an intrinsic right to be treated respectfully. Hence, they have always prescribed to a complete hands-off rule when it comes to their sanctuaries and have adopted a “no grey areas” policy. “It’s the grey areas where the disagreement lies. FTT based their captive wildlife criteria mostly on the widely accepted ABTA Animal Welfare Guidelines. However, the latter still allow for some human-wildlife interaction and feeding of wildlife, as long as a thorough risk assessment has been undertaken,” explains Blignaut. Blignaut furthers that SAASA would like to see the FTT certification standard for captive wildlife to be made more stringent and adopt the Dutch ANVR

Addendum of Unacceptable Practices Regarding Animals in Tourism. “The ANVR have taken a firm stance against for example walking with any big cats, as well as using birds of prey for display and falconry, where birds are tethered.” “We don’t allow any hands-on interaction in any of our sanctuaries, regardless whether we deal with lions, lemurs or budgies,” says Lara Mostert, Marketing Manager for SAASA. “We do understand the need for businesses to be financially viable in order to look after those same animals in a sustainable manner. However, every business needs to find the ethical balance between animal welfare and financial health,” explains Mostert. “The compromise at Monkeyland and Birds of Eden, for example, is to have feeding stations set up in strategic places that encourage the animals to feed in public access areas, but with the complete freedom of coming and going whenever they like. This allows visitors closeup encounters without the need for hands-on interaction or to hand feed the animals,” Mostert continues. “If FTT would consider making their captive wildlife criteria more in line with what is better for the animals, we would once again realign with FTT”, says Blignaut. •

www.saasa.org.za

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SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainable Tourism?

How tourism impacts the pillars of sustainability

Community development at Coffee Shack Backpakers pic - M Wright Š

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T

SUSTAINABILITY

ourism, on a global scale, is a sector currently still seemingly untouched by the last few years of economic turbulence. In the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2017 “Global Economic Impact & Issues” report, the organization’s President and CEO David Scowsill states that “despite the increasing and unpredictable shocks from terrorist attacks, political instability, health pandemics, and natural disasters”, the travel and tourism industries continue to show resilience. And he believes the sector will remain strong “as long as governments continue to invest in the necessary infrastructure”. With this resilience, comes responsibility. The tourism sector is in a unique position, especially in South Africa, to be able to create new jobs and opportunities where so many other industries are being forced to cut back. We also have a responsibility to create attractive tourism options to continue to bring international visitors to our shores. However, we must do so while protecting our rich and varied natural environment and resources. This is imperative if we wish to protect and preserve the planet. It is also crucial to ensure that we are able to attract people from around the world to our country for many, many more years to come. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, imploring nations to implement change in the sector globally. This needs to be taken into 2018 and beyond. In the words of UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai, spoken at the World Tourism Day celebrations in Doha, Qatar on 27 September: “The question is how we can enable the powerful global transformative force of tourism to contribute to make this world a better place and to advance sustainable development in all its five pillars: Economic, Social, Environmental, Cultural and Peace”. In South Africa, we are among a few countries at the forefront of responsible and sustainable tourism, with principles long ingrained in our practice in the industry. As the UNWTO suggests, it is down the public and private sector to work together for the good of the economy, for social and cultural inclusion, and for environmental preservation. With more than a quarter of South Africa’s population unemployed, we must come up with ways to further boost this sector creatively.

As a starting point, we need to create more heritage tourism routes. Empowering the black middle-class to travel for leisure is an opportunity that could garner huge rewards. Tapping into even just a small percentage of this market has the potential to boost revenue for the country by billions of Rands. With this additional income for the sector, we can create even more opportunities. Creating and maintaining these heritage routes, also means maintaining the cultural heritages in these areas. Thebe Tourism Group is actively developing new tourism products in South Africa. Just last year we announced several products and partnerships that will greatly bolster the sector in the coming years i.e. The Mandela Atlantic Presidential Centre in partnership with The Nelson Mandela Foundation to be built in President Mandela’s former residence in Houghton. The Blyde Canyon River Community Project which will see the community owning a 50% stake in new tourism projects, the Kruger Shalati Development which will redefine travel and hospitality in the African continent, and a hive of other developments in the Mpumalanga Province. These projects foster our strategic approach towards sustainability and transformation in the sector and as a company. While sustainability was a major focus for world tourism in 2017, by its very nature it is a concept that the industry must take forward in everything that we do – from strategy to planning and actioning ideas. It is our responsibility to ensure that, as our industry grows and develops, we incorporate sustainable practice going forward. •

words - Brett Hendricks, General Manager of Thebe Tourism Group responsible traveller 81


Edition 1 2018  

In this edition we consider responsible tourism as a vehicle for realising peoples’ hopes and dreams... We explore the coastal splendour of...

Edition 1 2018  

In this edition we consider responsible tourism as a vehicle for realising peoples’ hopes and dreams... We explore the coastal splendour of...

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