Travelling the world is such a rewarding experience – it really stretches you as a person. As your horizons broaden, you become more perceptive to new ways of thinking, doing and being in the world. Stepping outside of your comfort zone to experience a new environment and interact with the people who call it home breeds compassion and acceptance.
- 2500 Hectare Nature Reserve
- 3 Milkwood forests, 800 plant species of which 100 endangered
- 20 Mammals and access to marine big five
- African Responsible Tourism Award Winner 2019
- Five-star resort
On the other hand, your visit also has the potential to have a rather devastating impact on the ecosystems and communities that host these epic experiences if you don’t keep yourself in check.
Jip, humans are the worst. We stumble into new environments in search of joy and enlightenment, and then proceed to trample all over the very thing we came to see without giving it a second thought – like toddlers at a birthday party, falling face first into the cake. This is why it is so important to ensure that we travel sustainably when we head out into the world.
Sustainable travel is about more than not dropping your trash on a beach in Mozambique, or bringing along a reusable water bottle and portable cutlery kit when you explore the marvels of Madagascar – it’s about supporting tourism providers that take their roles as stewards of their environment and its communities seriously, and have measures in place to ensure that they tread lightly on the earth and allow their visitors to do the same.
The World Travel Market (WTM) Africa is one of the leading travel and tourism trade shows in Africa, and takes place in Cape Town each year. The event includes the African Responsible Tourism Awards, a ceremony sponsored by Wesgro which recognises the leaders in responsible tourism. The awards are now in its fifth year and has been growing steadily in stature since inception. It's a pretty big deal, to be honest.
Naturally, we were thrilled to learn that Grootbos Private Nature Reserve took top honours at the 2019 awards, scooping up both the Overall Winner award and Gold for Best Habitat & Species Conservation. The luxury lodge is situated amidst 2 750 hectares of pristine Cape fynbos on the Agulhas plains of the Western Cape of South Africa – an ecologically sensitive spot if ever there was one.
It is so heartening to know that the team behind Grootbos are committed to responsible tourism and sustainability practices, working to drive conservation, local enterprise development and the wellbeing of local communities. Together with its non-profit partner, The Grootbos Foundation, Grootbos positively benefitted more than 10 000 lives last year. This is the type of destination we should be celebrating, folks – a place where the protection of the environment and the upliftment of its people takes precedence over all else.
Next time you plan an adventure, make a point of supporting tourism providers that take sustainability seriously. After all, we’d like these marvellous spaces to stay intact for the next generation, instead of becoming yet another thing we trampled underfoot in our insatiable drive toward progress and profit, don’t we?
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