While beautiful Cape Town usually makes the news for it’s friendly folk, fabulous shopping opportunities and boundless night life, you may have seen some mainstream news outlets covering the province’s drought. This means it’s a fantastic time for you, as an ethical globetrotter enjoying the Cape area’s bountiful wildlife and sightseeing opportunities, to make the best of your trip in a way that will help bolster local conditions and support the economy. Here’s Pembury Tour’s top tips for the sustainable tourist hoping to add Cape Town to their list of must-see destinations.
Water, water…and not a drop to drink
According to the gurus at National Geographic, the 3 important aspects of sustainable tourism are minimising environmental impact, protecting local heritage, and providing tangible socio-economic benefits to the lands you visit.
For Cape Town at the moment, all three of these aspects are being hard hit by drought conditions. Usually a winter rainfall area, insufficient rains over the last few years have left the area gasping for water. For the sustainable Cape tourist, therefore, any step you can take to help ease this crisis will make you a most welcome visitor.
- Be aware: Water restrictions are in place throughout the province and may become stricter shortly, so please be aware of these and comply with any guidelines given to you by your tourism company, hosts or hotels.
- Don’t waste: Small actions, like keeping showers short and turning off the tap while brushing teeth will make a critical difference.
- Take care: Cape Town’s diverse and exquisite wildlife and scenery is also being heavily impacted by water shortages. Dispose of cigarettes carefully, keep fires controlled and help prevent fire hazards where possible so we can preserve nature’s beautiful bounty for everyone.
Taking sustainable tourism to a new level
Of course, there’s a lot you can do outside the water crises that will help you be the best sustainable tourist around. Recycle where possible- many Cape venues offer specific recycling bins for your use. Litter can, in particular, have terrible knock on effects on wildlife, so be sure to keep your trash with you and dispose of it safely when you explore the diverse wilderness areas around the Cape. Cape Town is a melting pot of different cultures, so be sure to respect that we’re not all the same, or raised with the same values, when you interact with the locals. You can take this to expert level by making sure you ask folks who may be out and about simply minding their own business before you snap their picture!
There’s a reason South Africa’s favourite slogan is ‘Local is Lekker’. Every time you eat at local cafes, use the services of local guides, or buy craft handiwork from the many talented artists this unique city harbours, you’re helping create a sustainable economy that supports everyone- and get something truly unique to take home with you, too! Do remember not to purchase goods made with endangered animals, however, as that is illegal in South Africa and most other countries.
And our last tip is probably the hardest. It’s likely you will encounter the sadder sights of life while on holiday too, such as begging street children. Remember, however, that indulging these tourist-trap situations designed to play on your emotions often creates bigger problems behind the scene. If you’re moved to help create a more sustainable life for South Africa’s poor by your visit, rather invest your money towards supporting some local charities that will ensure your money supports the community in the best way.
The sustainable tourist is one who is welcomed everywhere with open arms, and most of these tips will serve you well wherever you travel in the world. If you have any other questions about this truly unique part of Southern Africa, Pembury Tours is happy to help you make the best of your trip, so feel free to get in touch today.