First Adventure Tourism Indaba a huge success

An integrated approach to marketing a large number of magnificent adventure tourism opportunities in the Garden Route and adjacent Klein Karoo is needed to put the area on the global map as the preferred adventure tourism destination.

This was the conclusion of some 90 owners and representatives of adventure tourism businesses in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo who attended the first Adventure Tourism Indaba at Wilderness Hotel on Friday 26 October.

“We need to focus on adventure tourism in order to make our area the preferred destination for visitors from across the globe,” said Alewijn Dippenaar of Thousand Sensations, who jointly presented the event with Bruce Jackson of Duke Air and Mimi Finestone of GojiPR.

Garden Route economy growing

According to Paul Hoffman, of Southern Cape Economic Partnerships, the Garden Route is the third largest economy in the Western Cape and is growing at a rate of 60 – 70 families moving into the area every month. These families move here for the lifestyle the Garden Route has to offer, and while the families stay here, the breadwinner travels to and from their workplace in the cities during the week. “On weekends these 25 – 40-year-olds want to participate in adventure activities.”

Skål’s international footprint

Niel Els of Skål Garden Route and president of Skål South Africa highlighted the exceptional contribution of South African Skål members to the international tourism scene. Niel was recently appointed junior vice president of the Council at the annual world congress in Mombasa Kenya. Lavonne Wittmann, Skål Pretoria, was elected Skål International’s World President, and Anne Lamb (86), Skål South Africa’s club secretary, was awarded the coveted Membre d’Honneur award. In addition, Stormsriver Adventures received the award in the Tour Operator-Travel Agents category, while Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours, of the same company, received the award in the category for Community and Government projects.

Adventure on offer

Inspiring adventure tourism entrepreneurs Thomas Ngomana of Bloukrans Bungy, Roche Schoeman of Fearless Adventures and international surfer Bianca Buitendag, who recently established a surf and jetski shop in Victoria Bay, briefly introduced themselves and their various adventure tourism businesses.

Roche swam the length of the Orange River to raise funds with the Up with Downs special needs school in George, while South African born Bianca, who started surfing at 6, went on the become an internationally acclaimed surfer, who is preparing for the next Olympic Games in 2020.

The way forward: be part of it

Chris Botes of RIB Adventures in Knysna, advocated an Adventure Association for South Africa who can market the area as well as the individual adventure ventures at tourism trade shows. “We (adventure tourism businesses) are kind of nice crazy, we do fun stuff,” he said. “People want to experience things, and we provide those experiences.” But it is necessary to have one oganisation to represent adventure and the entrepreneurs who run it. “If we are properly represented, we can be the Number 1 in adventure tourism in the world.”

“We are kind of nice crazy, we do fun stuff” – Chris Botes

Dominique de la Croix of Integrated Marketing, agreed. “We need an integrated approach, a central organisation which includes all role players and which can market the unique adventure tourism products at trade shows,” he said.

“The next steps include the registration of Adventure Association for SA with invitations to all adventure product holders to attend the first meeting,” said Alewijn. More than a 100 adventure product holders have already given their support for this initiative at the indaba.

“Secondly, we need to start marketing the Garden Route Adventure Products in a collective way on national and international trade and tourism shows and to continue the establishment of central adventure booking centers in the Garden Route.”

A number of these adventure tourism businesses showcased their activities at an indoors Adventure Tourism Expo at Wilderness Hotel on Friday, and at Jackson’s farm Woodifields on the Map of Africa on Saturday.

For more information, contact Alewijn Dippenaar at 0824575675 or

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