Community-Based Eco-Tourism on The Wild Coast, South Africa: The Case of the Amadiba Trail

Ntshona, Z. and Lahiff, E.
SLSA Research Paper 7
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This paper investigates the origins and current operation of the Amadiba Horse and Hiking Trail, a community-based initiative located on South Africa’s Wild Coast. The trail project presents itself as a people-centred, designed to involve the Amadiba people in all aspects of running a project including planning, implementation, management and decision making.

The benefits from the project are intended to accrue primarily to the Amadiba community. The involvement of a non-profit organisation, PondoCROP, in initiating the project, and the involvement of community representatives in operation and management, presented an alternative to large-scale investor driven development that could supplement, rather than replace, existing livelihood strategies.

The key objective of this study is to investigate the actual involvement of the community in decision making processes, planning, management, control of the project, and also the kinds of benefits which accrue to the staff members, horse owners and the wider community.

The evidence of this study would suggest the project has been at least partially successful in achieving its goals, but also raises questions about the model of a community-run project being applied in this case, and about the long-term economic sustainability of the project. This case study also highlights a number of key strengths and weaknesses of the community-based or bottom-up model of tourism development.

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