Adventure tourism for conservation and development

Project Aims

We have partnered with CapeNature on a pilot initiative with the aim of developing sustainable adventure tourism in nature reserves to:

  • increase the positive socio-economic impacts on local communities living within and near the reserves
  • increase funds for environmental conservation

Why? Nature reserves are a big draw for tourists visiting South Africa.  Within the Western Cape, however, there are many reserves with huge untapped tourism potential.  With funding cuts impacting on conservation, sustainable income-generation has become more important. Plus, there is an increasing need to generate opportunities for disadvantaged communities living near, or within the reserves.

Latest Activities

  • Our initial study assessed the potential for developing adventure tourism in CapeNature reserves, where low numbers of international tourists are currently received
  • From this research, we have identified five reserves, where we initially aim to run pilot projects: De Hoop, Hottentots Holland, Kogelberg, Goukamma, Robberg
  • For each of these reserves, we are researching the feasibility of developing add-on services to existing adventure tourism products that can support local communities to access employment and small business development opportunities. For example, these might include: providing shops, cafes, catering, housekeeping, porterage, guiding and transport services
  • The resulting pilot projects are likely to include training and capacity building for small businesses, as well as for local authorities and organisations providing tourism training, product development support, destination marketing support and the development of measurement system
  • Alongside this, we will be supporting CapeNature to strengthen its internal capacity to diversity its adventure tourism offer
  • From these pilot projects, we aim to create a model for tourism development in protected areas which funds conservation and improves livelihoods in disadvantaged communities


The project will benefit:

  • small local enterprises and communities through new livelihood and employment opportunities.
  • government bodies, by contributing to their goals of creating jobs and business opportunities for disadvantaged communities.
  • international tourism companies, by enabling them to differentiate their products and respond to the growing demand for adventure tourism.
  • the local tourism industry, by contributing to the development of the Western Cape as a leading sustainable adventure tourism destination.

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