It's Responsible Tourism Week 2013 and in support of the 5th annual Responsible Travel Week we thought we'd put together a list of things that you can do to support and encourage responsible tourism in Chintsa, South Africa.
So here goes:
1. Join the Community Preschool Project for the day. Buccaneers offers a half day experience in the new Nthuthukweni Creche which was recently built and handed over to the community. Travellers can join the local Mama's and volunteers in helping to care for and play with the littlest learners of Chintsa. Extra hands are really vital in the running of the preschool.
2. Buy your souvenirs and gifts in our Proudly South African Gift Shop at Buccaneers where all products are locally made by local people. Alternatively you can take an easy stroll across the beach and spend your hard earned cash with the local traders at the entrance to Chintsa beach. These traders make everything themselves from intricately beaded bracelets and necklaces to woven baskets, wire key-rings and ornaments to canvas paintings and wooden crafts. It's always a good idea to catch these traders when you see them - they're not guaranteed to be there everyday (especially if the weather takes a turn for the worse!).
3. Go to the Bulugha Farm School Concert on a Thursday afternoon. This concert is a staple on the Buccaneers Free Activity Schedule and sees travellers jumping in the bus and travelling to a local farm school to be serenaded by the kids. This experience is sure to give you goosebumps and raise the hairs on the back of your neck as the choir sings traditional Xhosa songs. The concert supports the Bulugha School feeding scheme which ensures that every child receives two hots meals per day. Guest are encouraged to leave a small donation to support the scheme, which is greatly appreciated.
4. This one's EASY - stay at Buccaneers Lodge & Backpackers! We're Fair Trade in Tourism (FTTSA) accredited and encourage responsible, sustainable practices in tourism though all that we do, from our staffing, to the tours that we choose to offer and the way we run our backpackers. Stay with us and feel confident that you're helping to do your bit to support Responsible Tourism in South Africa.
5. Donate to the Friends of Chintsa, our local None Profit Organisation (NPO), which runs many initiatives in and around Chintsa which aim to help the community to develop and grow responsibly. You are welcome to visit any of these initiatives at any time. Pop down to the beach on Sunday morning to find the UNSTRESSED Surf School kids enjoying their surf and ocean awareness lessons with the local surf community, drop in to Thuba Bamboo on the way into Chintsa East and pick up a bamboo bird feeder or screen (all created by local women who have been trained and supported by the Friends of Chintsa) or take a peek into the Big Green e-Machine, a solar powered computer lab which delivers computer lessons in local schools with the help of VA32 international volunteers.
*And a bonus option! If you're staying for longer or looking for a way to give a little more back - join one of the community based Volunteer Africa 32 Degrees South projects in Chintsa. The Wild Coast Schools Project which sees computer literacy lessons being delivered in local schools was the first FTTSA accredited volunteer project in the world.
So there you have it; choose one, choose them all, create your own but most importantly, take part. Travel responsibly.
To find out more about Responsible Travel Week 2013 and their "Unconference" and program of events visit Planeta.com.