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December 27, 2008

Travel South Africa and the Mother City responsibly

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There are many ways to support the local communities in Cape Town.

Responsible tourism in South Africa is more than just ensuring you close the bar fridge, hire an energy-efficient car and occasionally tip the locals.

Based on the principles of sustainability, environmental protection and addressing local social and economic realities, responsible tourism looks to ensure that your trip sustains that location in the long term, rather than detracting from, destroying or damaging it.

Most responsible tourism nowadays focuses on minimising the negative impact of your trip and benefiting the local community.

In South Africa, after our turbulent social and political past, these benefits are far more tangible than trying to ensure that your carbon footprint is a dainty ballerina’s rather than a basketball star’s – which is not to say that eco-tourism in South Africa isn’t important.

Shark diving, whale watching and safaris not only provide a much-needed boost to the local economy, they also raise awareness of the ecology of the region.

While embarking on some sort of voluntourism holiday, where you can contribute in all sorts of ways from soccer coaching to monkey feeding, may not be your thing, township tours, enjoying the unique local craft markets and restaurants, or staying in one of the bed and breakfasts which have popped up in “previously disadvantaged” areas all benefit the people in those areas.

 

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