Speeches

Launch of Kogelberg Development

2 January 2012

Good morning to all of our guests here today.

I have been asked to say a few words in celebration of this flagship product for CapeNature.

Ladies and gentleman, this project was first conceived by CapeNature in 2008.

What they were after, right from the start, was an ecotourism development that would 'tread lightly' on this most special natural environment, but they also wanted a product that would be world-class at the same time.

Despite a number of challenges during this development the CapeNature staff put in an enormous amount of effort and teamed up with industry experts who helped to design and develop the world-class Oudebosch facility you see here today.

Their efforts have paid off handsomely and are evident in the number of awards already received for this development. Oudebosch received international recognition in the form of the coveted Holcim award for sustainable construction with architectural excellence which was awarded to the company Architecture Coop.

For their work on Oudebosch the GVK Siya Zama Building Contractors won the AfriSam Innovation Award for Sustainable Construction.

Some of the sustainable features of the development include:

  • Largely locally sourced material such as timber frames, which could also be re-used, should the buildings ever be decommissioned
  • An eco-pool - the single central eco pool uses no chemicals. Filtration and cleaning is done by natural wetland plants
  • Composting toilets, this is not well known in South Africa, but it is internationally recognised as a modern alternative that reduces water usage, and are completely hygienic and odour free. As Oudebosch is not connected to municipal sewerage lines, the composting toilets are also a key design element in protecting the wetlands from degradation.

The Kogelberg Nature Reserve is identified in the CapeNature Tourism Strategy as a priority area for tourism upgrade and development because

  • It is barely an hour's drive from Cape Town's city centre and is easily accessible
  • It offers spectacular natural scenery and a safe and easy walking trail network
  • It is earmarked to attract a diverse range of the communities we serve ranging from underprivileged to the tourism leisure market but also the corporate sector who could do conferencing, team building and possibly even weddings on this location.

We envisage that the product will promote ecotourism in this area and thereby increase local economic development and benefits to local communities.

Keep in mind though that the reserve invests approximately R3,5 million per annum in employment opportunities for the local community already.

CapeNature believes that to secure buy-in into biodiversity conservation, they need to offer socio-economic benefits to neighbouring communities.

Work that communities typically do include maintenance of hiking trails, removal of alien vegetation as well as fighting fires in this area, renowned to be the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

From today onwards all the people of the Western Cape can enjoy this pristine Heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom in style.

CapeNature has informed me that the response in the market has been extremely positive so far. Many of their clients are now on waiting lists for the next available booking!

But this great response is not surprising as the Oudebosch development, which consists of five self-catering cabins, an eco-pool and a small function venue, indeed sets a new benchmark in excellent and sustainable ecotourism development in the public sector.

Ladies and gentleman it is now up to me and you to open our hearts! Let's continue to make sure that we protect and conserve this most special area for our future generations to enjoy.

I thank you.