Table Mountain National Park and provincial Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism have forged a three-year partnership that will enable tourists and South Africans to hire personal guides to take them hiking on the mountain.
The programme , launched yesterday, is aimed at increasing the safety of visitors on the mountain and broadening the base of black economic empowerment in tourism.
The 14 guides, trained and employed by Table Mountain National Park, may be hired for R150 a day as well as R35 for each person in the group, up to a maximum of six people.
The province is to provide R750 000 over three years, effectively halving the cost to the public of hiring a guide. Additional guides may be hired for bigger groups.
The guides are employed by the park on a retainer for guiding hikers on the Hoerikwaggo Trails, but through the partnership with province are able to earn extra money by guiding the public on other hikes on Table Mountain.
The main reason for starting the guide project was to respond to the demand for “affordable, accredited” mountain guides, SANParks said in a statement.
Initially, five routes are to be offered: Lions head spiral trail, Platteklip Gorge to the upper cableway station, upper cableway station to Maclear’s Beacon, the pipe track along the base of the Twelve Apostles, and Skeleton Gorge to Macleat’s Beacon.
Garth Strachan, MEC for finance, Economic Development and Tourism, said at the launch yesterday that “pro-poor tourism” was not just about township tours. “Its also about ensuring long-term sustainability, which involves transforming everything in the supply chain in tourism. It’s about cultivation entrepreneurship and self determination.”
Strachan said that the department had become involved in the guiding programme because it was interested in safety on the mountain for locals and tourists, in job creation, and in creating opportunities for young black entrepreneurs and women to found tourism projects.
“The guides will be extra eyes and ears … and will be able to advise tourists about safety, about basics like taking water and sunscreen, and to be sensitive to the fact that the mountain has many moods and can turn ugly quickly.”
Park manager Brett Myrdal said the main beneficiaries would be the public, who would now be able to hire guides for themselves or their visitors. The guides would also benefit as they would be able to earn money in addition to what they received as guides on the formal Hoerikwaggo trails.
“It is fantastic that the challenge of mountain safety can be turned into an opportunity for a commercially viable business partnership,” Mydral said.
Bookings may be made by telephoning 021-683-7826 between 8am and 5pm on weekdays.
Source: Cape Argus ‘December’ – Melanie Gosling (Environment Writer)
Highlights: Cape Town, Table Mountain, Hout Bay, Silvermine, Kommetjie, Simonstown, Cape Point
Includes: Accommodation, meals and entrance fees as per itinerary, tea/coffee with the meals, 4L of water per person per day, qualified local hiking guides, porters and transport, where necessary
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