Three new hikes to support community tourism

Posted by Claire Allison on 16 December 2014

Some travellers enjoy getting away from it all while others choose to immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions of the area they visit. If you’re the type of traveller who enjoys the latter, then you’ll be pleased to know that three new attractions will be opening up in early 2015, all of which have been developed by locals.

Non-profit organisation Open Africa has been working with small enterprises in KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo where young interns came up with business ideas to help increase tourism to the area. By enjoying these attractions and activities you are also benefiting the local community and profits from these businesses will be used to support future tourism development efforts in the area. What a win!

1. Howick Falls Gorge Walk

Howick Falls

Howick Falls. Photo by Howick Tourism.

A popular tourist attraction for many years, the gorge walk has not been in operation for more than a year and youth from the local community saw the opportunity to give the business a fresh start to help keep tourism alive and well in the Howick area. One of the best ways to enjoy the spectacular Howick Falls, the walk is comfortable and will take visitors through riverine forest and lazy streams to beautiful views of the cascading Howick Falls, a much-loved tourist attraction of the town. The opening of the gorge walk will also see interns on the uMngeni Footprint Route employed as walking guides who can also provide insight into stories of Zulu legends that involve a serpent-like creature which is said to live at the bottom of the falls. The walk is set to open in early 2015.


2. Drakensberg community-based hiking trail

Drakensberg Hiking Trail - Open Africa

Drakensberg Hiking Trail. Photo by Open Africa.

This two-to-three-kilometre hike lies in the area between Weenen and Colenso and visitors can spend a night at a traditional homestay in the village of Mankandane. Here visitors are treated to a traditional meal and local hospitality in a rural village. Currently interns on the Drakensberg Experience Route are filling the roles of guides, accompanying travellers along the hiking trail and into the village where there is no planned entertainment but the local community welcomes visitors with open arms and ensures an authentic and enjoyable evening.

For more information contact Mark and Linda Calverley at The Zingela Safari and River Company on 036 354 7005.


3. Hiking trail and overnight camp in Limpopo’s Blouberg

Blouberg Community hiking trail

Blouberg Community hiking trail. Photo by Open Africa.

This new hiking trail aims to increase tourism to the beautiful Blouberg Mountains, giving travellers the opportunity to enjoy them in a whole new way. A short day hike up to the rock pools is on offer, while those keen on spending more time exploring the mountain can hike three kilometres to the community-owned cultural camp on top of the mountain, where they can spend either one or two nights camping or in rustic, self-catering chalets.

Currently the camp at the foot of the Blouberg Mountain is being managed by Transfrontier Parks Destinations (TFPD), who work towards creating a viable and sustainable tourism industry that balances the needs of the local community with the surrounding natural environment. Three young business-minded youngsters currently work as guides and take visitors around the mountain-top. A guided tour to the local BaHananwa village is also on offer, adding a cultural flavour to any traveller’s experience in the Blouberg. The trails are also suitable for mountain bike enthusiasts.

For more information on the trail and booking information, please contact Transfrontier Parks Destinations on 021 701 7860.

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