#RTroadtrip – Masakhane Township

I’m on a roadtrip through Gansbaai right now, to find out why and how they do Responsible Tourism so well. The Destination won the coveted World Responsible Tourism Award at WTM in London recently. On our first day, we met with the tourism authority, the local municipality and a few of the tourism businesses in the area, and what I heard warmed my heart. It is a tale of collaboration and a shared vision for the future, underpinned by a few very committed individuals in key positions!

Arriving in Gansbaai

Arriving in Gansbaai

Our fist visit was to Masakhane township, where we met up with talented guide and entrepreneur Ally from Masakhane Township Tours. Ally has, with the support of Gansbaai Tourism, started the township tour company and he is also doing hiking in the nearby fynbos reserves. His tour will give you an insider’s view and understanding of township life. Ally is passionate about Masakhane, and much loved by his fellow residents here. Wherever we went, greetings were called out and people came up to shake his hand (and, of course, take a look at the visiting tourists) and to pose for a photo with him.

Our guide Ally

Our guide Ally

But Ally is also involved in a few projects within the township, and this is what we were really interested to learn more about. The Masakhane Garden Competition and Swop Shop both really impressed me.

This year saw the first Masakhane Garden Competition; an initiative that is encouraging residents to grow their own vegetables AND take pride in their surroundings. Anyone can enter, whether they grown a few rows of spinach or have their garden crammed to the brim with greens. Seeds and support is also available for those of little means. Such a wonderful initiative that alleviates every day needs, encourages creativity and instills pride!

One of Masakhane's proud gardeners

One of Masakhane’s proud gardeners

The Swop Shop by White Shark Projects was another initiative that really captured me. Here, children can swop recyclable waste for school stationary or toys. In this way, children help to keep the township clean, learn about environmental care, and (perhaps most importantly) how to use things in their surroundings to improve their lives.

The Swop Shop by White Shark Pojects

The Swop Shop by White Shark Projects

 

Even Minister Hanekom agrees with me that this project is awesome!

Even Minister Hanekom agrees with me that this project is awesome!

 

Happy kids

Happy kids

 

Not quite sure what this dude's agenda was, but he sure knew how to capture attention!

Not quite sure what this dude’s agenda was, but he sure knew how to capture attention!

There will be much more about Gansbaai and the #RTroadtrip, so stay tuned!

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