This year we are celebrating the theme ‘Tourism for Good’ with inspiring stories of businesses impacting the local hospitality space. Here are a few:
The Garden Route Botanical Garden (GRBG), a nonprofit and Public Benefit Organisation, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year! Approximately 16 hectares in size, the garden showcases and conserves the incredible biodiversity of the district. Indigenous forests, wetlands, fynbos, and coastal dunes support a wide variety of plant and animal species, including those which are threatened and endemic. Scientists and researchers come to the garden to study the ecosystems and species, as well as make use of the herbarium. Educational programs and interpretive materials are offered. Declared a nature reserve, there are many things to see and enjoy such as hiking, markets, guided tours, and medicinal plant lectures. There is also a restaurant, parkrun, and indigenous nursery. The garden is a haven for birdwatchers, with numerous bird species calling it home. Bird hides and viewing platforms are available for bird enthusiasts to observe the local avian wildlife.
The Herold Meander is a secluded rural settlement of cultural and historical significance. From an abandoned and derelict farm, it has been developed into a sustainable Agri-Village. Environmental, water rights and heritage approvals were obtained to ensure a sustainable farming development, primarily focused on proteas, honeybush tea and sheep. The Honeybush shrub is proudly South African and grows naturally in the Garden Route and Tsitsikamma areas. The Khoikhoi used honeybush to make medicinal tea. Slightly sweet and caffeine-free, this herbal tea has high antioxidants and low tannins. The project has resulted in upgrades to the infrastructure, capacity building of workers, repair of historical buildings and the creation of local jobs. Herold Meander offers honeybush tea tasting, donkey cart rides, fishing, and accommodation facilities on a pre-booking basis.
Empower is a George based NPC and PBO. In December 2022, Empower hosted a crowd-funding campaign, Run It Back. Through the efforts of 15 volunteers who ran 5kms every day for 8 days, they raised enough funds to purchase 8 generators. Empower gifted the generators according to set criteria, in partnership with the George Business Chamber, to local businesses. 3 out of the 8 generators went to Explore our Hood, the Garden Route Botanical Garden and George Backpackers.
Explore our Hood is a Thembalethu-based tourism business with awesome, authentic township experiences. George Backpackers offers an affordable overnight accommodation, with dormitories and private rooms. The hosts speak English, Afrikaans, and German.
Discover more about George, Wilderness and Uniondale tourism offerings and destination stories at visitgeorge.co.za.