Minister Bredell highlights CapeNature’s role in support of Tourism Month with Stony Point visit.
Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning visited CapeNature’s Stony Point Reserve outside Betty’s Bay today. “September is recognised as Tourism Month, and I want to invite people to find their way to one of the fantastic CapeNature reserves in the Western Cape where nature combined with tourism offers the perfect escape,” Bredell said.
Bredell was briefed on the conservation work CapeNature is doing with a colony of the endangered African penguin who now resides in the historic Waaygat Whaling Station. “In the past, nature was exploited for economic gain through whaling at Waaygat. Today, we are supporting our economy by protecting wildlife at the same site,” Bredell said.
CapeNature manages more than one million hectares of land in the Western Cape, and this includes invaluable natural assets such as mountains, fynbos, water catchment areas, rivers, estuaries, and a spectacular coastline. “In September we also celebrate Heritage Month and I want to remind people that we depend on our natural heritage to sustain us as humans. Our natural assets also allow us to develop eco-tourism, which is often a valuable source of income for remote communities.”
Bredell said CapeNature is proof that State Owned Entities can be of value, if managed properly. CapeNature has seen a government funding contribution of R249.7million in 2016/17, growing by 15% to R286.8million in 2021/22. Over this same period, CapeNature managed to grow its income from eco-tourism from R34.4million to R50.6million. That is a 47% growth in revenue from a 15% increase in funding.
Bredell said all income from eco-tourism generated by CapeNature is ploughed back into conservation projects.
A good example of the benefits from eco-tourism in local communities is the On the Edge community restaurant at Stony Point, which CapeNature has supported since 2006. On The Edge has six permanent staff members, with five coming from the Mooiuitsig community. CapeNature has arranged for vocational training for the staff, and the restaurant also gives local students opportunities to help over school holidays as part of community development efforts. From its proceeds, the business annually gives each of the 42 households in the Mooiuitsig community vouchers for R500. Where it can, it also assists with donations for children’s education.
As part of Tourism Month, CapeNature runs a very successful Access Week promotion, where several of its reserves can be visited free of charge for a one-week period. This year, Access Week will run from the 20thto the 27Th of September.
The highest visitor count from Access Week was achieved in 2019, with 7 600 visitors. The impact of COVID-19 was reflected in only 3 744 visitors in 2020, but numbers have started to improve in 2021, with 4 781 visitors. “Please make use of this opportunity. Spending time in nature is good for reconnecting with your loved ones, as well as for your own mental wellness,” Bredell said.
CapeNature manages 31 nature reserves throughout the Western Cape, of which 27 offers diverse tourism activities to the public. For more information, visit: https://bit.ly/3QJTrPG