WowZulu, a subsidiary of Africa Ignite, was announced as a Sustainable Community Tourism Model by National Department of Tourism last weekend. Seen are some of the storytellers entertaining the guests.Picture: National Department of Tourism.

A holiday these days usually consists of a few tours, laying around at your hotel pool and sampling the local cuisine.

But thanks to WOWZULU, travellers to KwaZulu-Natal are getting more bespoke experiences- from a village walk and tracker ride up the mountains at eMazizini to a tour where a sangoma consults with bees in South Coast.

WowZulu, a subsidiary of Africa Ignite, was announced as a Sustainable Community Tourism Model at an event at the Luthuli Museum in Groutville at the weekend, and stretches across seven tourism destinations in rural and peri-urban areas of KwaZulu-Natal by Africa! Ignite.

Bongiwe Mlangeni, Manager of WOWZULU Tourism and Craft, said these marketplaces were operated by local, previously unemployed youths, and combine craft sales with local food tastings, storytelling, rural homestays, authentic tours and the opportunity for tourists to learn craft techniques.

She said this kind of sustainable tourism was good for the local environment, society and economy.

“Local communities who have been excluded from participation in the tourism economy should be able to offer sustainable enterprises and have their chance to benefit from tourism,” she said.

Deputy Minister of Tourism in South Africa, Elizabeth Thabethe, praised WowZulu during her keynote address. Picture: National Department of Tourism.

Deputy Minister of Tourism in South Africa, Elizabeth Thabethe, said the initiative had provided employment opportunities for the youth and economic benefits for tourism enterprises.

“WowZulu tourism initiative has brought key South African tourism stakeholders into a meaningful partnership to research, strengthen and document a replicable, best practice sustainable model that we are proud to be associated with as the National Department of Tourism.

“Storytelling by local tour guides enriches the cultural experience of tourists and exposes WowZulu as a tourist destination, which was assessed against South African community tourist guidelines and Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria for destinations,” she said.

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