Recent surveys of domestic and overseas markets indicated that the Western
Cape received about 6.6 million visitors in 2003, with a spending power of R16.2
billion. Approximately 23% of these tourists, totally about 1.5 million constituted
overseas visitors who spent about R7.9 billion. The number of international
visitors to the Western Cape comprises 23% of all international visitors to South
Africa. Most of the international visitors to South Africa choose Cape Town as
the city to visit. The close proximity of the proposed Biosphere Reserve to Cape
Town adds to its appeal as a tourist destination (Cape Winelands District
Municipality 2006). The proposed Biosphere Reserve will contribute to the
regional tourism product and promote the exceptional diversity of tourism
opportunities that can meet the increasing demand for culture historic and nature
experiences and special interest tours. The management entity of the Biosphere
Reserve will include a dedicated tourism management portfolio.
TYPES OF TOURISM
The proposed Biosphere Reserve offers a variety of tourist attractions, which
a) Camping and hiking at the various provincial nature reserves which forms
part of the designated core area.
b) Watersports such as sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and skiing at
Theewaterskloof Dam, Brandvlei Dam and Voëlvlei Dam.
c) Various outdoor and adventure activities, including mountain biking, quad
biking, 4X4 or off-road excursions, paint ball, horse riding, etc.
d) Freshwater fishing in all the major dams and rivers.
e) Fly-fishing in the Jonkershoek and Franschhoek Valley.
f) Game and bird watching at various game farms.
g) Rich archaeological heritage.
h) Golfing at the various excellent golf estates in the proposed Biosphere
i) Unique Winelands tranquillity, comprising unmatched natural vegetation
and impressive mountain ranges, attracts those seeking a vacation ‘away
from it all’.
j) Beauty treatments and wellness experiences at various health hydros, e.g.
Santé Winelands Hotel and Wellness Centre, High Rusternberg Hydro,
k) Various theatres and museums in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Wellington
l) Cultural tours throughout the proposed Biosphere Reserve, e.g.
Bainskloof Story Route, Wine Walk in Wellington, etc.
m) Unique township tours linked to community arts and craft projects, for
example, Kyamandi at Stellenbosch.
n) Excellent culinary experience with approximately 50% of the top fine
dining restaurants in South Africa, with some restaurants in Franschhoek
earning ‘Top 50 Restaurant in the World’-accolades.
Roads are generally of adequate standards with the N1 (National Road)
providing the main access route from the east and west. This route opens up
some of the important resort and tourist attractions. Other provincial roads
linking main towns and destinations are generally in a good condition (R44 and
R45). Many regional roads forms lower order linkages between the R44 and R45
and various attractions and towns and is also of a reasonably good condition
(R301, R304, R310). Many tertiary dirt roads still exist within the region, but they
are also considered to be appropriate, especially when leading to low-intensity
The proposed Biosphere reserve is approximately 40 km from the Cape Town
International Airport and approximately 70 Km from the Cape Town Harbour.
Tourist accommodation is provided by, amongst others, numerous hotels and
resorts, which are located mainly within the designated transition area of the
proposed Biosphere Reserve. Conference facilities occur throughout the
proposed Biosphere Reserve at various locations, such as hotels, golf estates
and nature reserves. Sport and recreational facilities include golf courses, tennis
courts, gymnasiums, rugby fields, hockey fields, etc.
IMPACTS OF TOURISM
Tourism could have the following impacts in the proposed Biosphere Reserve:
a) Promoting environmental conservation: Deriving income from tourists
who study, or experience, the natural resources of the area, would
encourage the owners of these resources to conserve them better. It could
also increase the awareness of the vital importance of the area’s natural
resources. Knowledge and protection of the area’s unique ecological and
cultural characteristics could promote tourism that draw on these unique
attributes of the area, in line with tourism trends and market demands (i.e.
the provision of a unique tourist experience that is also educational). This
should help to boost the area’s tourism industry and promote
environmental and socio-cultural conservation.
b) Enhancing the local economy: Tourism contributes on average
approximately 10% to world GDP, the comparative for the Western Cape
is approximately 8.5% of the total GDP (SATOUR, 2005). The proposed
Biosphere Reserve should benefit from increases in international tourism.
c) Increasing employment opportunities: Internationally 1 in 15 jobs is
linked to tourism. In 2005 1 060 000 jobs were created in the South
African economy through the tourism industry (SATOUR, 2005). Tourism
could play a significant role in solving the high rate of unemployment in the
proposed Biosphere Reserve.
d) Benefiting previously disadvantaged rural communities: For these
communities, the proposed Biosphere Reserve would mean an effective
re-appreciation of their traditional culture, knowledge and skills of
sustainable living within their environment. This would promote
sustainable opportunities for grass-root level tourism, e.g. guided hiking
trips, eventually resulting in a permanent appreciation for the Biosphere
Reserve in the involved communities (Capenhurst, 1994).
ECONOMIC BENEFITS TO LOCAL PEOPLE
There are significant opportunities for communities to benefit from tourism
activities vested in the proposed Biosphere Reserve. Local communities could for
example, provide locally produced food and services based on traditional skills /
local knowledge. In addition, a market outlet for arts and crafts using local
resources, e.g. stones, wood and dried flowers, could provide an opportunity for
income generation and social upliftment of local communities.
The restoration, or rehabilitation of the land, for example, the control of alien
plant infestations, through the Working for Water Project, initiated by the DWAF,
and the Working on Fire Initiative as part of the Government’s Reconstruction
and Development Project (RDP project), also creates job opportunities.
As stated above, the development and upliftment of local communities could be
promoted through the creation of joint tourism ventures between local
communities, private investors and Biosphere Reserve authorities. Examples of
such joint community ventures are, amongst others:
a) Proposed De Poort Heritage Village: This concept aims to develop an
interactive heritage village, which will be run on museumological lines to
reflect the old skills, crafts, activities and lifestyles of artisans and
craftsmen of the Drakenstein Valley between 1875 – 1895. The De Poort
historical village development promises to be a significant cultural tourism
attraction in the region, with the potential to stimulate large numbers of
SMMEs (Small Medium and Micro Enterprises). The Village will be an
additional major non-wine tourism attraction and will assist in increasing
visitor numbers to the region. Benefits of the project will be shared broadly
throughout the community.
b) Proposed Freedom Route: The project aims to develop a tourist route in
the Cape Winelands, linking a series of significant heritage sites related to
the freedom theme. These sites will take into account the historical
development of the District and include attractions or experiences which
relate to all communities. Existing and new tourist sites will therefore be
incorporated in the route and community participation and stake-holder
consultation will form an integral part of the development phase. Business
opportunities that will be created through the development of the route
have a strong focus on SMME’s and BEE (Black Economic
c) Arts and Craft Route: The purpose of the project is to ensure that craft
enterprises in the Cape Winelands District, particularly in the previously
disadvantaged communities, are able to derive benefit from tourism in the
area. In order to do so, they need to be making quality products that meet
the demand of the tourist market. Therefore craft enterprises are being
assisted with product development and market access as well as skills
development. Branding and marketing support has also been included.
The project involves the identification of existing craft enterprises and an
audit of their needs, the development and implementation of a training and
d) Schools Tourism Awareness Project: The project is aimed at
increasing community and youth participation in the tourism industry by
creating an understanding of the industry and an awareness of its career
opportunities. Initially implemented at 20 schools, the project was
embraced by teachers and learners alike. The local tourism bureaus were
also involved in the project, creating a platform for Local Tourism
Associations (LTAs) to engage with their communities.
e) Cape Winelands Home Stay: This initiative allows tourists to experience
‘authentic living’ in the Cape Winelands by staying within the homes of
local families. The idea is for the Home-Stay owners to have a thorough
knowledge of the Cape Winelands and the proposed Biosphere Reserve
so that they can be a source of information and knowledge sharing for the
tourists regarding their community and the tourism sector. In 2002 three
groups of entrepreneurs were identified throughout the proposed
Biosphere Reserve with at least 30 women benefiting from the project. In
order for the Home Stays to become ambassadors for their region/district,
the District Municipality arranged a series of educationals throughout the
region. This enabled the Home-Stay owners to experience first hand all
the important tourism icons and attractions in the District and become a
reference point for tourists.
f) Tourism Business Training: Cape Winelands District Municipality in
partnership with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development
is pioneering the way in Tourism Business Development programs with
the Tourism Business Training Program (TBTP), Fast Track, the Tourism
Mentorship Program and the Tourism Help Desk infrastructure. These
programs aim to support emerging tourism entrepreneurs in the Cape
Winelands by building their capacity in effectively and profitably managing
their own businesses in the (direct or indirect) tourism industry. By doing
so, these entrepreneurs can give tourists the diverse and quality
experience they need when coming to the Cape Winelands.
UNIQUE WINE CULTURE
Most routes into the proposed Biosphere Reserve cuts through vineyards. As
stated previously, the South African wine industry and its associated wine culture
are primarily centred around the Cape Winelands. This wine-making tradition and
history dates back more than 350 years and blends the elegant traditions of the
Old World (i.e. Europe) with the accessible fruit-driven styles of the New World.
This gives the Cape Winelands a unique sense of place (WOSA, 2007).
The Cape Winelands have long, warm summers which ensure that grapes have
enough sugar to produce excellent wines. Wet winters with cool sea breezes
and temperatures of 0-10°C also contribute to the ideal conditions for viticulture.
The rich, fertile soils along the Breede and Berg Rivers and especially in the
areas of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek are conducive to the production of
world famous red and white wine, sherries, ports and brandies.
Wine-making at the Cape began with Jan van Riebeeck, who planted the first
vines in 1659 at Roschheuvel (today known as Bishopscourt and Wynberg) near
Cape Town. The location of the wine-making industry however expanded into the
Cape Winelands with the arrival of Simon van der Stel in 1679, who was very
knowledgeable about viticulture and wine-making. As stated previously, the wine
industry began to flourish in the proposed Biosphere Reserve after the arrival of
the French Huguenots in the late 19th century.
Photograph 15: Unique sense of place created by the integration of vineyard landscapes
and the natural environment (Source: DMP).
Of the total wine production in South Africa, approximately 68% takes place
within the Cape Winelands. The Breede River Valley, Paarl and Stellenbosch
are responsible for 56% of all wine grapes grown in the Cape Winelands (refer
Figure 11 below). distribution of Wine Grapes per Wine Region in South Africa (2005)
Little Karoo 2.92%
Orange River 4.87%
Wine Regions of South Africa
Olifants River 9.72%
Malmesbury 15, 09%
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000
Hectares under Vine
Figure 11: Wine Productions of the Various Wine Producing Regions in South Africa.
In the Cape Winelands, the wine industry is much wider than signified by the
ordinary meaning of the word ‘wine’. Brandy and its building blocks (rebate wine
and distilling wine) have always formed a significant part of the Cape Wineland’s
wine industry. In recent years, grape juice and grape juice concentrate for use in
non-alcoholic beverages, and not just for the sweetening of wine, has also come
to the fore. The Cape Winelands wine industry thus encompasses wine (natural,
fortified and sparkling), rebate wine, distilling wine, brandy and other spirits
distilled from distilling wine, grape juice, and grape juice concentrate for use in
wine and non-alcoholic products (SAWIS, 2006)1.
South African Wine Industry Information Systems (SAWIS) 2006: Paarl.
The area is famous for unique wine routes, namely:
a) Stellenbosch Wine Route2: Inspired by the French Route du Vin and the
German Wine Routes, the first wine route was established in 1971 in
Stellenbosch. Currently it is the largest wine route in South Africa, with
more than 130 members. As from 2002, it is known as the Stellenbosch
American Express Wine Route and is subdivided into five sub-routes,
each with its own unique characteristics, wine styles, and geographical
location such as Greater Simonsberg, Stellenbosch Berg, Helderberg,
Stellenbosch Hills and Bottelary Hills. While the region is best known for
its full-bodied reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, and
Shiraz, there are pockets of vineyards that produce top-quality white wines
such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Stellenbosch Wine Route is
regarded as a premier tourist destination in the Cape Winelands.
b) Paarl Wine Route: Better known as Paarl Vintners, it has 40 members,
and was established in 1978. The Paarl Wine Route is also known as the
‘Red Route’ for its legendary red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and
port have established Paarl’s place on the global wine map and the region
has repeatedly received international awards for these wines. Other wine
cultivars grown here are Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Cinsaut. Paarl has
the world’s only ‘Braille Wine Route’, and shows the commitment to open
up the wine culture to everyone.
c) Franschhoek Wine Route3: The Franschhoek valley is a relatively small
but significant region. The area is distinctively French and many of the
wines are created in traditional French ways . With forty members and
officially known as Vignerons de Franschhoek, it was opened in 1984, and
all the noble cultivars and classic styles of wine are produced here –
Chardonnay, Semillion, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot Noir, etc. It incorporates the
sparkling wine tour that teaches visitors about the methods of making Cap
Classique in a unique attempt to add value to wine consumption. It is
regarded as one of the top destinations in the World of Wine.
d) Wellington Wine Route: The Wellington Wine Route is the youngest
wine route, established in the mid 1990s with 22 members. Wellington
supplies over 90% of the South African wine industry with vine cuttings,
and has some 30 grapevine nurseries situated here due to the appropriate
soils and warm summers. Wellington is known for its top quality red wines
like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinotage as well as old favourites
such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Furthermore, the Pinotage cultivar is a uniquely South African variety and is the
result of a cross between the Pinot Noir and Cinsault varieties. It was created in
1925 by Professor A.I. Peroldt at Stellenbosch University. The list of top
Pinotage growing estates are mostly situated in the Stellenbosch district, and
include Kanonkop, Simonsberg, Warwick, Clos Malverne, Avontuur, L’Avenir,
Uiterwyk and Middelvlei.
The first and only Kosher wines are produced by Tempel Wines and Zandwijk
situated between Paarl and Wellington. A lesser known attraction than the many
wine routes in the Cape Winelands, is the Brandy Route which includes Van Ryn
Brandy Distillers in Stellenbosch, Avontuur, Louiesenhof, Backsberg, Cabriere,
Laborie, Uitkyk and KWV in Worcester. Some of these wine estates show the
visitor the different apparatus used in making brandies.
Another interesting feature is the Bergkelder Maturation Cellar near
Stellenbosch. This is an underground cellar similar to the famous cave cellars in
France and Germany, which was opened on 7 November 1968. Situated deep
inside the Papegaaiberg Mountain overlooking Stellenbosch, it is one of the most
advanced and the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
Bergkelder Maturation Cellar (Source: DMP).
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS
Visitors are attracted by numerous culinary festivals, wine competitions and
shows, arts/culture fairs, open-air shows, harvest festivals, flower shows, fun-
runs and marathons, carnival and rag events of the University of Stellenbosch
and the other tertiary institutions, church and school bazaars, arts and crafts
stalls, music shows, theatre and drama events, etc. Open-air theatres at, for
example, Spier and Libertas in Stellenbosch are popular venues that present
plays throughout the year. Some of the most famous and largest festivals in the
Picnic Festival at Bien Donne Farm, Simondium.
Bastille Festival, Franschhoek.
The South African Cheese Festival at Bien Donne Farm, Simondium.
Cultivaria Festival, Paarl.
Stellenbosch Food and Wine Festival, Stellenbosch.
Simon van der Stel Festival, Stellenbosch.
‘Woordfees” (Word festival), Stellenbosch.
Agricultural Show, Villiersdorp.
Villiersdorp Harvest Festival, Villiersdorp
Drakenstein Coon Carnival, Wellington.
Stokkiesdraai Festival, Wellington
Nederberg Auction, Paarl.
Paarl Nouveau Wine Festival, Paarl.
Wellington Harvest Festival, Wellington.
Franschhoek Literary Festival, Franschhoek.
The Cape Winelands is renowned for its cultural festivals (Source: DMP).