The Rooibos Heritage Route was formally launched in 2006, to promote and support local capacity development and sustainable eco-tourism amongst the communities on the route. This very scenic road between Nieuwoudtville and Wupperthal runs through two Biodiversity hotspots, the Fynbos and renosterveld of the Cape Floristic Region and the Succulent Karoo, offering visitors the best of the greater Cederberg mountain area and a taste of local hospitality.
During the years following the initial launch of the route, there have been requests for increased support for development and in house training amongst the communities and organisations along the route. There is also a growing need to sustain constant visitor numbers, thereby securing financial stability for the communities along the route.
Indigo Development & Change, with support and participation from other local organisations, The Rietjieshuis Eco Lodge, Heiveld Co-operative, Lekkerbek Restaurant and the Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG), is supporting the Rooibos Heritage Route project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme. The project will facilitate capacity development and support for new and existing small businesses along the route, support the development and marketing of the route and integrate aspects of biodiversity conservation.
The overall aim of the project is to support biodiversity conservation and capacity development through sustainable land use and alternative livelihood strategies among the rural communities along the route, and to promote the Rooibos Heritage Route nationally and internationally in an effective and responsible manner.
Based on initial engagement with some stakeholders, the need for training workshops focusing on aspects such as business management, communication (English) and exchange visits have been identified.
In parallel, various marketing development initiatives are also being explored together with local stakeholders, such as improved website navigation, video trailers and audio guides to make the route more accessible to an international audience. Indigo development & change, dedicated to social and environmental wellbeing in rural areas, hopes to create a culture of responsible and sustainable tourism that will conserve the natural environment while supporting local livelihoods.