The past weekend saw the World Travel Market gather for the annual WTM Responsible Tourism Awards.
Located in the fynbos-clad hills between Stanford and Gansbaai lies the beautiful Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. Well-known for its style and luxury, the Reserve is also home to a natural treasure trove of rich biodiversity. Since its establishment in 1996, the Reserve has always been dedicated to the preservation the Reserve and its surrounding area’s natural wonders as well as empowering the local communities.
To help grow this vision, the Grootbos Foundation was established in 2003: The Grootbos Foundation has since branched into 3 different projects, namely Siyakhula, Green Futures and The Football Foundation:
Siyakhula is an organic community farm that was established on the Grootbos property in 2009. Siyakhula means ‘Growing the Future’ and the project provides skills development in organic farming, animal husbandry and even beekeeping to members of the local community. The farm also provides a wide selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey and water bottled from a natural aquifer on the property to the Grootbos Lodges.
The Green Futures Horticulture and Life Skills College was established in 2009 and offers educational training to 8 - 12 unemployed youths from the surrounding areas. The Project has also extended its programmes to include a 6-month Hospitality and Tourism Training and with these programmes the students learn the necessary skills to become employable and to better market themselves. The Green Futures Team is also closely involved with the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy and helps with a variety of its endeavours like alien vegetation clearing, the Future Tree Project to restore the indigenous forests in the area to their original state, monitoring and collecting data about the various species found in the area and lots more.
The Football Foundation
In 2008, the Football Foundation of South Africa was established with the dual aims of encouraging social integration amongst the different communities in the Gansbaai area and empowering and educating youths through sports. The Project provides football, hockey, athletics and netball training sessions to a large number of youths in Gansbaai, Stanford and Hermanus, and has also extended its efforts to a coaching skills training programme in Hout Bay. The Foundation also focuses on various other educational and empowering programmes which include topics like environmental education, female empowerment, enterprise development and more.
The continued efforts of Grootbos and the Grootbos Foundation has ensured the protection of the area’s natural resources, made a positive impact on the lives of many community members and has ensured that Grootbos upholds not only its own visions and goals, but also that of its esteemed partners and accreditors. For its efforts, Grootbos and the Foundation has been nominated and awarded the following:
- 2016 Finalist: National Geographic World Legacy Awards – Engaging Communities
- 2015 Finalist: World Responsible Tourism Awards - Poverty Reduction Category
- 2015 We Are Africa Innovation Awards Winner - Experience Africa
- 2015 We Are Africa Innovation Awards Winner - Engage Africa
- 2015: African Responsible Tourism Awards - "Best in Poverty Reduction" in Partnership with the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
- 2013: Gansbaai “Spaces for Sports” site wins the Sports facilities and public spaces Grant at the 15th International Olympic Committee Conference on Sport for All
- 2013: Gansbaai “Breaking Barriers” programme shortlisted for the Virgin Active Sports Awards: Best Community Programme
- 2012: The Football Foundation’s Gansbaai project highlighted as a “Spotlight Project” at the Beyond Sport Awards
- 2011: Mail & Guardian’s “Greening the Future” award – special commendation Green Futures
- 2011: Football Foundation receives the ‘Highly Commended” award for the International Innovation Prize from the World Leisure Organization for our community development programme.
- 2010: The Gansbaai Communal Sport Centre wins the prestigious Mail & Guardian “Investing in the Future” awards in the “Sports Development” category.
One of Grootbos’ most esteemed accreditors is The Long Run. Started as an initiative of the Zeitz Foundation, The Long Run is based on and chooses its [partners / candidates / members] according to the 4C Plan: Culture, Conservation, Community, Commerce. Finding a holistic balance between these pillars and adhering to rigorous sustainability standards, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is 1 of 10 Global EcoSphere Resorts certified by The Long Run.
And it is with great pride that Grootbos hosts the 7th Annual Members Meeting of The Long Run this year. Spanning over 6 days, attendees will get to explore and experience some of Cape Town’s attractions followed by a full weekend of activities, talks, learning and socializing at Grootbos.
Here’s to upholding the 4C’s and building a better and brighter future together!