Grootbos Private Nature reserve wins African Responsible Tourism Award. Pic: Supplied

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve has been announced as the overall winner of the African Responsible Tourism Awards for 2019. 

The Awards recognise leaders in responsible tourism in the most culturally diverse continent.

Grootbos has been recognised for its substantial growth in its conservation impacts, in delivery across the economic, social and environmental agendas. These include the Football Foundation, which provides positive role models and a safe space for local youth, reaching 9000 youth each year and providing daily sports coaching in hockey, athletics, soccer and netball and canoeing as well as female empowerment, environmental education, food for sport, grassroots soccer, HIV/Aids and water safety programmes

Speaking before an audience of over 100 tourism professionals, Heidi van der Watt, managing director of Better Tourism Africa pinpointed what makes the award winners the leaders in responsible tourism in Africa:

"Our winners have an ethos that extends beyond the commercial – linking thriving business with the wellbeing of local people and the longevity of their environments. They want to make profits with principles, communicate bottom lines that balance people, planet and profit, and won’t undermine sustainability in the pursuit of superior product quality. They are resilient, determined, humanising advocates for their destinations. They provide hope and inspiration for the future of tourism in Africa."

The full list of this year’s winners is included below:

Overall Winner – Grootbos Private Nature Reserve (South Africa)

Best for Resource Management

Gold: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (South Africa)

Best Responsible Attraction

Gold: Two Oceans Aquarium (South Africa) 
One to watch: Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary (South Africa)

Best Responsible Cultural or Heritage Experience

Gold: !Khwattu San Cultural & Education Centre (South Africa)
Silver: WOWZULU Isandlwana (South Africa)

Best for Habitat and/or Species Conservation

Gold: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve (South Africa)
One to watch: Great Plains Conservation Sapi Reserve

Best for Community Benefit

Gold: Dorobo Tours and Safaris (Tanzania)
Silver: Ultimate Safaris //HUAB Under Canvas (Namibia)
One to watch: Anvil Bay (Mozambique)

Best for Global Goals Reporting

Silver: Two Oceans Aquarium (South Africa)