The role the community has played in the success of the award-winning Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve has been highlighted at the reopening of the family village at the reserve recently.
Bushmans Kloof is a five-star luxury lodge about 200km from Cape Town. Committed to conservation, culture, and advancement of the community, its approach to tourism is being recognised worldwide as “an exemplary model for truly sustainable growth and development”, said Anita Mendiratta, a spokesperson for the resort.
The family village of 126 people is made up of staff members and their families. With housing for 26 families, a library with high-speed internet access, and a crèche, it is “a clear expression of, and investment in, the future of tourism through the well being of those who work in the industry”, says Mendiratta.
Stanley and Beatrice Tollman, chair of the Travel Corporation and president and founder of Red Carnation hotels, are behind the family village. Its reopening marked the 10th anniversary of the Tollman’s ownership.
“At the heart of the initiative was their desire to provide a home for employees and their immediate family, creating a sense of community among the people of Bushmans Kloof, in addition to providing employees with a happy fulfilled work life with genuine career progression,” says Mendiratta.
Helen Zille, the premier of the Western Cape who made the keynote address at the opening ceremony, said Bushmans Kloof Family Village was “a glimpse of what the new South Africa can be”.
Joining the families and friends of Bushmans Kloof were other dignitaries, including Miller Matola, the chief executive of Brand South Africa; Lorna Scheepers, Clanwilliam’s executive mayor; Alan Winde, the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape; as well as special guests from Clanwilliam, the nearest town.
The facilities at the family village are based on leading practices for community planning and development, Mendiratta says. The newly built community hall adds to the social space and “beautification of the village”.
EXAMPLE OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, has paid tribute to the Tollman family as ordinary South Africans doing extraordinary things for all South Africans.
“I am one of those who have the privilege of knowing the Tollmans and have come to admire their integrity and their commitment to tourism and its social responsibility,” Rifai said. He congratulated the Tollman’s for the successful “business and human story” in which they transformed Bushmans Kloof.
“The tourism community is privileged to count on entrepreneurs like you, who daily transform tourism into new opportunities and new dreams for their clients, their employees and the communities that host them,” he said. “Bushmans Kloof Family Village, as an example of social responsibility in tourism. It is through initiatives such as this that we can make tourism a true force for the good of all.”
Located in one of South Africa’s richest and most beautiful natural and historical environments, Bushmans Kloof has over 7 500 hectares of land nestled in a unique part of the magnificent Cape, which is home to three botanical biomes.
Bushmans Kloof made it on to respected international magazine Condé Nast Traveler’s “gold list” for South Africa as one of the world’s best places to stay in 2014. It was rated by readers as the No 1 resort/safari camp in Africa and came third on the “top 100 hotels” in in 2013. in 2009, it won Condé Nast Traveler’s Wildlife Conservation award for integrating sustainable practices into every facet of its operation, with projects including a worm farm to generate compost, installation of solar panels, and the collaring and monitoring of the rare Caracal lynx.