Characterised by its biodiversity levels on par with the highest in the world, Gamkaberg Nature Reserve has been honoured by Africa's Finest when it was named one of the top 50 most sustainable and responsible tourist destinations on the continent.
Africa’s Finest is an ecotourism project that celebrates the top ‘green’ lodges in Africa. Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Klein Karoo has been selected as one of its top 50 facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. Other award winners included lodges and camps from the Seychelles, Madagascar and Mozambique, whilst CapeNature is the only public entity out of the seven South African contestants that made the list.
Gamkaberg Nature Reserve is situated within the Cape Floral Kingdom, which hosts one of the richest flora on earth, the reserve is of particular interest to botanists. Here, four of the South African biomes are represented, namely Fynbos, Succulent Karoo, Subtropical Thicket and Evergreen Forest. The reserve falls within the Central Little Karoo SKEP geographic priority area.
To arrive at the 50 Africa’s finest spots, a team of nine environmental specialists conducted vigorous on-site environmental assessments over a two year period. Each lodge was evaluated on 102 different points which were divided inot four broad categories, namely: successful conservation work, community outreach programmes, the use of renewable energies and waste management and disposal.
Africa's Finest is the game-changing book that celebrates the top lodges and camps in Africa that are making a difference: those practising environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism methods whilst providing world class safari and nature experiences.
Experts in sustainable tourism and conservation methods, experienced authors Colin Bell and David Bristow gathered research from a hand-picked team over a two-year period where they conducted environmental assessments of over 170 safari destinations. "To the Team here at Gamkaberg it's great to know that our efforts are recognised and it inspires us to reach even greater heights," said Conservation Manager Tom Barry, who added that the secret to their success is simple.
"As far as being a tourist destination goes we have a simple recipe: Attentive well informed staff, peace and quiet, and attention to detail of the lodges and surroundings. The Trails, Views and Wildlife are an added bonus." Hailed as one of the jewels in the biodiversity crown of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, Gamkaberg is one of the most species rich environments on the continent. While it is considered a relatively small nature reserve in the Klein Karoo, Gamkaberg forms a vital part of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere.
"The biodiversity levels within the Gamkaberg Conservation Area are on a par with the highest in the world and although it's sitting cosy at the core of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere, it makes a worthy contribution," added Barry. Most of Gamkaberg's conservation efforts go into preserving the natural ecosystem and this is achieved through the hard work of the reserve staff as well as creating jobs within the local community.
"If it wasn't for the local community the Gamkaberg Conservation Area would not be in the near pristine condition it is today," said Barry.
"Gamkaberg has a great team. I can see everyone puts in more than their fair share and they are all proud of what they do. The end results speak for themselves. I feel privileged to have worked here on Gamkaberg for the past 20 years," added Barry.
For more information and to view the top 50, visit www.africasfinest.co.za
For more information on Gamkaberg Nature Reserve go to www.capenature.co.za