The philosophy of Ubuntu forms an integral part of tourism and tourism development in
underdeveloped and neglected regions in South Africa. The Overberg region in the Western
Cape is a classic example of where this philosophy can be applied for the benefit of the
entire region. It is high time that the tourist ‘rand’ be extended to the local communities to
empower them in a real and significant manner.
The untapped secrets of the Overberg were revealed and identified in a very recent study of
the region. The Overberg is situated between Cape Town central and the Garden Route, and
because the access route is between Caledon and Swellendam, the area tends to be ignored,
whereas Cape Town with its popular branding and abundant tourist offerings attracts many
international tourists annually.
The Western Cape is divided into ten different regions, each with its own unique
characteristics and appeal, of which the Overberg is the third biggest in terms of its
geographical area. This unspoilt area boasts some of the region’s richest birdlife and a
wealth of fauna and flora; the southernmost tip of Africa, where the cold Atlantic and warm
Indian oceans meet; sprawling, white, sandy beaches and dunes; an abundance of whales
and last, but not least, it has the greatest historical and cultural significance of all the
Given that Cape Town is the gateway to the entire region and benefits from the strong
Mother City brand, the Overberg should also be branded and marketed strongly to expose
the ‘untapped secrets’ of the region. If this became a regional priority of Cape Town Routes
Unlimited (DMO), the Overberg would enjoy the benefit of better tourism, which would stimulate greater skills development for the owners and employees of the region’s tourism
Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).
Standing together, building the brand together and promoting the essence of real
empowerment in the region can only lead to more sustainable tourism enterprises. The
biggest challenge however, is the level of skills, expertise and product knowledge of the
current operators in the Overberg region.
Equipping the people of this region with skills, determination and passion will inevitably lead
to the highest standard of satisfaction in terms of the unlimited needs of tourists.
Ubuntu, the way forward.