Cape Care Route – A Journey into the Heart of Western Cape Communities

The Western Cape region of South Africa offers visitors areas of great scenic beauty, world-class accommodation and a host of attractions and activities to suit every taste. A growing number of tourists wish to go beyond the fascinating tourist attractions on offer. They want to gain insight into the daily lives of the local people, including the challenges that local communities face, how they go about meeting these challenges and what their aspirations are for the future. The Cape Care Route makes it possible for visitors to do all this and more.

Initiated as part of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development , the Cape Care Route is a local tourism initiative that highlights projects where people are stepping up to accept the responsibility of caring for the environment and each other. Through this initiative it is believed that sustainable development can be promoted in a practical way, while reaching the hearts and expanding the outlook of local and international visitors in a manner that serves to unify and empower participating communities. Following a full evaluation by the Cape Town authorities and tourism board, more than 25 projects were approved to be included in the Cape Care Route. The route spreads out over the entire Cape Town area and includes projects in the Cape Flats townships and on the Cape Peninsula.

The Cape Care Route tour includes a visit to Khayelitsha, the largest township in Cape Town, where groups of men, women and youths are building their own houses, cultivating vegetable gardens and using their ingenuity in turning waste material into fascinating contemporary arts and crafts. Visitors will be amazed by what can be done with an empty Coca-Cola can and a pair of pliers, and can support these budding entrepreneurs by buying some of their works of art. Projects in the township of Khayelitsha include Learn to Earn, Golden Flowers, Look Out Hill, Philani Nutrition and Development and Sibanye Economic Empowerment.

Visitors will be taken to a wetland area that was once threatened, but has been transformed into a flourishing community nature reserve, which stands out as an oasis in the urban environment. The Edith Stephens Wetland Park is a superb example of how co-operation between government, business and communities is serving to protect and promote the rich biodiversity of Cape Town. A visit to the Cape Peninsula National Park will reveal how alien vegetation has been cleared to reduce water consumption and encourage indigenous plant-life to flourish.

Other projects on the Cape Care Route include the BEN Bicycle Workshop in Masiphumelele, Lwandle Migrant Labor Museum, Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds in Rietvlei, Selfhelp Manenberg, Solole Game Reserve in Kommetjie, Spier in Stellenbosch and the Victoria Mxenga Housing Project in Nyanga.

The Cape Care Route offers visitors an opportunity to share the experiences of ordinary people rising above adverse circumstances – with extraordinary results.