Responsible tourism: Spring wild flower vacation in Namaqualand, South Africa
We endorse “slow travel” and the emphasis on our Spring flower journeys is to be outdoors amongst the flowers, walking, photographing, observing and spending as much time as possible in nature.
On this journey we visit and support seven different South African national parks and nature reserves dedicated to the conservation and protection of their local flora, fauna and ecosystems. We also spend time on private farms where the landowners have committed themselves towards protecting the unique flora and cultural heritage, such as Bushman rockart, found on their land and practice sustainable land usage as much of the wildflower region consists of sheep farms.
Our guides encourage guests to be respectful of nature by staying on the designated paths when walking amongst the flowers and keeping a respectful distance when viewing wildlife. At the beginning of the journey each participant receives a refillable water bottle, which can be used daily to top up with local tap water (which is perfectly safe for drinking ) instead of purchasing numerous plastic bottles. Our list of do's and dont's of responsible travel is also given to travelers before departure and discussed by our guide.
We directly sustain the environment by being supporters of the Trees For Tomorrow Project in Platbos Forest, a unique ancient forest with trees over 1000 years old found in the southern Cape. For each participant on this flower journey one tree sapling is planted in the forest and guests have the opportunity to visit the project, learning about the trees on a guided walk and planting their own young tree if they are interested on a scheduled excursion either prior or post the journey. The extra cost is R850 per person and includes a picnic lunch.
We encourage involvement with local projects and communities wherever possible: we incorporate a stop at the Khwattu! San Cultural and Education Center on the West Coast for lunch (prepared by San trainees in the hospitality industry) and a visit to the craft shop where local San handcrafted products can be purchased directly supporting the crafters.
We support small entrepeneurs and service providers on our flower journeys: we stay in small owner-managed, hand-selected guest houses, eat locally prepared speciality dishes of the region and support a variety of local suppliers such as a special rooibos tea tasting tearoom in Clanwilliam, and a seasonal small restaurant on a flower farm. We stop at small local roadside farmstalls to buy fresh produce from the region.
At the end of our flower journey each participant receives a hand crafted item from Streetwires, a local empowerment project we partner with in Cape Town whereby previously unemployed “street” people are given the opportunity to learn the craft of beading with wire. A visit to the project can be arranged prior or post the journey.
1 Reviews of Spring wild flower vacation in Namaqualand, South Africa
4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on 21 Sep 2016 by Alan Johnson
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
The people we met made our vacation! The flowers, landscapes and birds were all wonderful but it was our guide, driver and hosts who made the experience so special.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Take note of the "what to pack" guidance - you really do need sensible shoes and a good camera!
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes, very much so. The vacation provider select their partners very carefully.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
We always hesitate to give 5* across the board as many people do, though it was in the top 3 vacations we have taken in the past 40 years!