Enjoy Cape Town and all it offers knowing our major attractions operate consciously on all levels—from the preservation of water to effective waste disposal, and from community projects to sustainable farming. You can visit Table Mountain, the V & A Waterfront, Cape Point, Groot Constantia, and Spier knowing that they are pioneers in responsible tourism.
The tips below will help you to experience and enjoy our destination responsibly.
10 tips for saving water
Cape Town is water-stressed, and every drop you save helps. The situation is serious, and we need everybody’s help to make sure our dams don’t run dry.
- Choose to stay in accommodation that has water-saving measures in place. Ask about this when you book.
- Do not leave your towels in your hotel room to be washed if they have only been used once. Hang them up and re-use them.
- Try to flush the toilet as little as possible. Each flush uses between 6 and 14 litres, depending on the kind of toilet.
- Use a cup to rinse your mouth when you brush your teeth rather than letting the taps run.
- Limit your showers to 2 minutes, and avoid bathing.
- Report leaking taps and toilets as soon as you notice them.
- Avoid washing clothes until you have a full load’s worth of laundry.
- Make conscious decisions about food. Beef uses more water to produce than chicken, and some fruits use less water to grow than others.
- If possible, use a dishwasher to clean dishes. just make sure you only run it when it is full.
- Use this nifty calculator to make sure you’re helping to save water.
10 tips for respecting the local culture
They say the only way to enrich your own culture is to lean over your borders and experience another. With people from a great number of different cultures and backgrounds living together in Cape Town, the city offers a unique experience that will most certainly leave you enriched.
- Research the culture of the area you intend to visit before arriving at your destination.
- Talk to locals, employ local tour guides, and stay in accommodation establishments that have invested in the local community.
- Learn some of the local language—a simple greeting and a “thank you” in the languages of our people will see you embraced as a guest and not just a visitor.
- Respect the dignity and privacy of others—for example, ask permission before you take a photo.
- Make an effort to donate to a local charity that supports community projects. Ask Cape Town Tourism to recommend a reputable charity.
- Purchase souvenirs directly from community markets and crafters so that the money goes directly to local businesses.
- Experience local and regional cuisine. You will also be supporting the local economy.
- Practise safe and responsible sex.
- Question establishments where children of school-going age are working.
- Bargaining for goods may not be appropriate behaviour but if the price is negotiable, pay a price that is fair for the seller and maker.
10 tips for respecting the environment
- Use water as efficiently as possible.
- Try to use biodegradable shampoos and soaps.
- Dispose of matches and cigarette butts in the bins provided to avoid starting fires in ecologically sensitive areas.
- Use electricity as efficiently as possible. Switch off the lights, electric fan, air conditioner, and television when you are not in your room.
- Do not approach or feed baboons. They are wild and potentially dangerous.
- Do not take natural keepsakes, such as shells and indigenous flowers, when spending time outdoors.
- When driving or hiking, stick to marked paths and roads.
- Dispose of rubbish carefully, recycle where possible, and reuse your beverage bottles and shopping bags.
- Use public transport when possible, or take a walking tour.
- Holiday closer to home, offset your carbon footprint by planting a tree, or buying local produce – support some of the great local organic markets in Cape Town.
StreetSmart SA is a community initiative, raising funds for street children through participating restaurants by giving their diners the opportunity to add a voluntary R5 donation to the table’s bill. The donations go directly to established organisations providing services to street children and children at risk. Eating and donating at a StreetSmart restaurant is the responsible way to help a street child. Dine and Give responsibly!
Make sure the seafood you want to buy and eat is not on the list of endangered species. Text (or SMS) the name of the fish to +27 79 499 8795 to receive an answer within seconds or visit wwf.sassi.co.za/sassi-list for the full list.
We all want to help the less fortunate. Rather than giving money, you can donate to various night shelters to help give a bed to someone in need or support buy a copy of the Big Issue. This non-profit organisation creates jobs for those in need and offers various training programmes too. When you buy a copy from a Big Issue vendor, the money goes straight to them. You can also support the Give Responsibly initiative that gives money to various organisations in Cape Town who help the under privileged.
Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs are being encouraged to be more environmentally friendly these days. Research your accommodation beforehand to see what has been implemented to ensure a smaller carbon footprint. The greenest hotel in Cape Town is Hotel Verde Cape Town Airport. This hotel is doing amazing things and has won numerous awards as a result of its eco-conscious way of life.
Information on Cape Town’s journey to becoming a responsible destination can be found at responsiblecapetown.co.za.