I’ve been posting a lot about South Africa partly because my summer season is over at Grand Canyon. Now I’m in down time and not really doing anything overly exciting. But I’d also like to finish up all the stories from last Feb & March’s visit. Going through photos and sharing the stories brings back wonderful memories and excites me. Plus now I’m in ‘planning mode’ because I’m going back for the South Africa diversity Ecotour. Bought my ticket and leaving January 14, 2014 for three months. Maybe will include a bit of Namibia and Botswana as well.
Ecotourism helps preserve biodiversity
According to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), ecotourism is “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”
Biodiversity refers to all the different kinds of living organisms within a given area and the roles they play in their ecosystems. This includes plants, animals, fungi, and all other living things—everything from towering Baobab trees to tiny insects. And when the biodiversity of an ecosystem is interrupted or destroyed, the economic impact on the local community can be enormous. In fact it reverberates around the world.
Extraordinary natural and cultural diversity found in South Africa provides opportunity for research, education and tourism in balance with the environment.
South Africa has the third-highest level of biodiversity in the world yet takes up only 2% of the earth’s land surface. It is home to 10% of the planet’s plant species and 7% of all its mammals, birds and reptiles. According to the World Bank data base in 2010 almost 7% of the land is protected for conservation.
South African Green Economy
People sometimes think South Africa is a third world country, backwards and behind the times. Not so. 20 years ago Apartheid came to equalize all the many cultures of people. A struggle ensued, and still does, yet South Africa pursues a Green Economy. They are a developing country.
In May 2010, the South African government hosted a Green Economy Summit to set the stage for the formulation of a Green Economy Plan. In partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) the Department of Environmental Affairs embarked on the development of a green economy modeling for South Africa. South Africa views a green economy as a sustainable development path that is based on addressing the interdependence between economic growth, social protection and natural ecosystems.
I’m not saying that South Africa is perfect and I don’t plan to move there, yet. But just maybe their Green Economy plan could be a model for the rest of the world.
2014 South Africa diversity Ecotour
Once again I’ll be traveling with Joan. Not sure I’ve ever met someone so easy to travel with. She is such a wealth of information and makes a great guide. We’ll be documenting the biodiversity found along our journey.
This visit I really want to spend more time staying in one place, set up a base to explore from. Of course the focus will be primarily on protected natural areas like National Parks and nature reserves.
Don’t expect a gift from here
Help me plan
I have way too many ideas, as usual, but am open to recommendations. Seems I have pretty good luck that way while I’m traveling. So whether you’ve been there or not please make some suggestions. Could be either from personal experience, a story heard, or an online discovery. Just remember, I’m thinking Green. Take a look at my tentative itinerary and add to it. If I get to your recommendation you’ll be eligible to win an as yet unknown gift from South Africa. Help me plan the journey.
Tentative Itinerary by province
North West Eastern Cape
Pilanesberg Game Reserve the Wild Coast
Madikwe Game Reserve Mkamboti Nature Reserve
Limpopo Hluleka Nature Reserve
Bela-Bela Mineral Hot Springs Grahamstown (for the history)
Waterberge (zipline) Port Elizabeth to see Jonker
Marakele National Park Garden Route
Mokolo Dam Nature Reserve Tsitsikama National Park
follow the Limpopo River NE OR Western Cape
Polokwane Wild Spirit Backpackers Lodge
Mapungubwe Nature Reserve Knysna
Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park Karoo National Park
Mpumalanga West Coast National Park
Kruger National Park Cederberg Wilderness Area
then south Northern Cape
KwaZulu-Natal Namaqua National Park
Sodwana Bay National Park Augrabies Falls National Park
St Lucia Kgalagadi National Park
Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve North West
Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve
Tentative route counter clockwise, begin and end in Johannesburg
Feel free to make suggestions any time, in the comments, or send me an email. I’ll be on the lookout for hand-made items in order to support the communities I visit.
West Coast National Park
I am SO looking forward to exploring more of the biodiversity found in South Africa’s many landscapes—coastal, semi-desert, fynbos, ancient forest, bushveld, grasslands. And I also look forward to sharing this experience with you. I will try, internet and time permitted, to post with frequency here, on Facebook and Twitter using #SAdvrstyEcotour.
If you are interested in contributing either financially or in trade please get in touch with me. You can also help spread the word. We all share the same planet.
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