A new field guide to our National Parks and Nature Reserves
Let’s get the Responsible Tourism conversation going
OK, we’ll make this week’s article a short one, shall we?
I want to know what you think Responsible Tourism means, and – more specifically – what VISITORS should be doing to ensure that they travel responsibly.
Please go here and look at my presentation on Responsible Tourism (and download, tweet, share, and even embed it into your web site) and then give us your views – on the Slideshare page, on This Tourism Week,or by e-mail email@example.com (though the e-mail route isn’t going to get other people talking – just you and I).
No really – what do you think? How SHOULD travellers behave? We – the host communities – are doing our bit (as you’ll see in the presentation). But are they?
Please – join the conversation.
National Parks and Nature Reserves: A South African Field Guide
Chris and Mathilde Stuart, published by Struik Travel & Heritage
Soft cover, 320 pages
This is a book to make you dream and drool. It describes 43 parks and conservation areas, and makes each one seem more inviting than the last.
Naturally, being a Knysnarian, I turned straight to the Garden Route National Park.
It’s amazing that even locals don’t know about this fantastic, massive new conservation area: many of them still talk about the old Wilderness the Tsitsikamma Parks as if they were still two separate things. But in fact they were incorporated (some years ago) into a much larger area – 157,000 hectares – that also includes the “Knysna National Lake Area and most indigenous forests and mountain water catchment areas between Wilderness in the West and the N2/R62 road junction in the east, and the area south of the N9 and R62 to the north.”
Here I found entries about the physical position, history, geology, vegetation, and wildlife of the Park – but no checklists of birds, mammals, or plants. For them, the book told me to go to www.parksandreserves.co.za – where I was promised “195 free species checklists covering mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish encountered in each location” (with last month – March 2012 – being the projected publication date. But when I tried it, the link didn’t work: I got a “This will soon be the home of…” message. Oh well – we all know what web masters are like.)
Still, with all the information that it DOES provide, and with 139 maps and more than 900 photographs – including a 31-page gallery of 323 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, trees and flowers – I expect that ‘National Parks and Nature Reserves’ will be a well-mannered companion next time I’m planning a road trip anywhere in the country.
Which is why I think this is a book you’ll definitely want to lend to your guests: if they’re South Africans, it’ll reignite their curiosity about our National Parks. And if they’re foreigners, it’ll definitely make them want to come back for more.
Buy it at the BarefootBookshop.
Now go away on holiday – it’s in the economy’s best interests.
… And in the meantime… have a GREAT tourism week!
Martin Hatchuel – BarefootWriter
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