The Umvoto Foundation Guided Hikes & Trail Series

Geo-tourism that links to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The Umvoto Foundation (TUF) is currently involved in a geo-tourism initiative that incorporates the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 8.9 (devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products). TUF is further embarking on a series of guidebooks and guided hiking trails that will explore the unique and fascinating geology, hydrology, climatology, and environmental history of the South Western Cape. The team began work on this project several weeks ago and have succeeded in drafting the first guidebook: “The Five Reservoirs of Table Mountain”. Tracing the history and development of Cape Town’s early reservoirs in the city bowl (Oranjezicht), it charts the rollout of reservoirs up to the present-day mega dams of the Western Cape Water Supply System. Placing the development in the context of the expanding population of the early city and the drought cycles of the Cape, it shows that “Day Zero” was not a phenomenon of 2017, but stretches way back to the 1800’s.

Orange Kloof, the Woodhead Tunnel, the Five Reservoirs, and the Waterworks Museum

Concurrent with preparing the guidebook and planning the first expedition to the mountain top, the team reached out to procure funding and endorsement. Both have been well received by way of a financial grant and backing from the Geoheritage Committee of the Western Cape in support of this much needed publication. TUF’s first hike, to be led by Paul Lee and Dylan Blake, is scheduled for 17th August 2021. The intended route is Constantia Neck along the Jeep track to the Woodhead Tunnel entrance and then up Disa Gorge to exit at Woodhead; thereafter the party will return via the normal road/track back to the start (6 to 8 hours).

Going forward

The Five Reservoir Trail is only the start of a larger series and the team is planning several other interesting hikes which may, in time, expand to other parts of the country where TUF has knowledge and experience. It is also our intention to bring onboard interested persons of various communities who would like to be involved in the project and become geo-tourism guides (SDG 8.9). This will promote sustainable tourism creating jobs and promoting local culture and products. Future trails in development include: 1) The Sedimentology and Wetlands of Noordhoek Beach; 2) Cape Point, wrecks, caves the lighthouse and the Southwestern tip of Africa; and 3) The Hermanus Gateway Water Trail.