Challenge participants

Four businesses were selected to participate in the 2016 Cape Town Responsible Tourism Challenge. Although there were basic legal and technical criteria that these businesses had to comply with to be eligible for participation, we were really looking for more than that. What was of even greater importance was that the business owners or managers showed that they are truly committed to the idea of responsible tourism even if they had not yet implemented any responsible tourism practices in their business.

The businesses selected are all small to medium sized accommodation establishments and are typical of the accommodation types commonly found in Cape Town – guesthouses, backpacker hostels, and boutique hotels.  

  • Backpackers in Green Point

    The Backpackers in Green Point (or “B.I.G” for short) is one of the new style of backpacker hostels that are more comfortable and stylish than old-school hostels. Guests staying at the B.I.G still have the adventurous spirit (and smaller budget) you expect in a backpacker, but they also appreciate the special touches they find at B.I.G.

    Similar to many other hostels in Cape Town, the rooms are spread out; in B.I.G.’s case, this means spread across four buildings on two adjoining properties.  The hostel has 19 rooms and sleeps a maximum of 57 guests. Not only does the hostel have high occupancy, but all rooms are en suite and there are three kitchens for guests’ use. This means water and energy use are high, so bringing down the costs of utilities bills is specifically what owner, Amy Kropman, wants to tackle. 

    Find out more…

  • Lodge at Atlantic Beach

    The Lodge at Atlantic Beach is a 20-room, four-star country house situated at the situated at the Atlantic Beach Golf Club in Melkbosstrand. The building in which the lodge is located was built in 2004. So unlike many other accommodation establishments in Cape Town, the lodge has been custom designed, is fairly new, and is unlikely to have the limitations of businesses housed in older structures. 

    Despite this, the lodge still has to maintain its four-star rating, and so in-room facilities like air-conditioners, a TVs, bar fridges and kettles are likely to be a major sources of electricity use. Although there are wedding and conference facilities, a spa, leisure centre and swimming pool on the estate, these do not fall under the management of the lodge.

    Chantal Stewards is the manager of The Lodge at Atlantic Beach and will be celebrating her decade there in August 2016. She has already set up a waste recycling system at the lodge and is looking forward to the challenge team helping her choose energy and water saving technologies.

    Find out more…

  • Moonglow Guest House

    Moonglow Guest House is an owner-operated accommodation located between Glencairn and Simon’s Town on the slopes of the Glencairn Mountain with stunning views overlooking False Bay. It provides an eclectic mix of art and hand-crafted decor from across Africa with a relaxed home-away-from-home feeling.

    To maintain its four-star grading, each of Moonglow’s six rooms has energy consuming appliances such as a TV, heater, fan, fridge and kettle. Owner-manager, Gillian O’Leary, assures us that the team is diligent about turning things off when they aren’t being used, but it is looking for other ways to reduce energy use even further.  Moonglow’s current process of preparing to be certified by Fair Trade Tourism is helping to drive this as well as to implement other responsible business practices.

    Moonglow’s is currently preparing to be certified by Fair Trade Tourism.  Moonglow is also part of Transfrontier Parks Destinations – a group of like-minded businesses that believe that tourism must benefit and empower local communities. It’s a philosophy that Moonglow embraces wholeheartedly.

    Having been in operation for many years, the Moonglow team is looking forward to sharing what is has achieved thus far. But learning about how they can overcome some particularly persistent challenges to implementing other responsible practices is even more exciting for them.

    Find out more…

  • Turning Point Guest House

    Co-owners, Doris and Isaac Manini, are a dynamic duo whose warm welcome at Turning Point Guest House will make you feel like you’ve been invited to visit by long-time friends. The four-room guesthouse in Kuils River is the “baby” of the Challenge participants, having opened its doors as recently as 2012.

    Although bookings have been good – driven by word-of-mouth, online platforms, and repeat guests – Doris and Isaac still see room for improvement. In addition to working on upping the standard of the accommodation in order to make it more attractive to international travelers, they also welcome any opportunity to learn new and better ways of running their business. To this end, they have just invested in televisions for each guest room, have received three-star grading, and Isaac diligently tends his herb garden in order to offer freshness with every guest meal.

    Among its challenges for implementing more responsible tourism practices, Turning Point Guest House has an eight-person jacuzzi, and jacuzzis are notorious for being energy and water guzzlers… We are particularly interested in tracking the electricity and water it uses; hopefully the information we gather can help Doris and Isaac decide if the jacuzzi is truly an asset or not…

    Find out more…