Agri-Tourism - Eastern Freestate (South Africa)
WHAT IS AGRI-TOURISM?
Agri-tourism is a growing international sustainable tourism experience. It is any tourist activity happening on a farm and linked to the farm’s activities and attractions. This can include agricultural activities such as milking cows at the dairy, shearing wool, harvesting crops, culling herds, using agricultural implements, tasting and buying farm produce. Using the farm’s resources for game viewing, birding, biking, hiking, fishing are all part of Agri-tourism. Boarding and lodging on the farm is a bonus but not a necessity.
An Agri-tourism farm must be a working farm. It offers farmers the opportunity to earn additional revenue with existing resources.
HOW CAN YOU, AS A TOURIST, BECOME INVOLVED?
Agri-tourism Africa provides local and international tourists with an information portal to farms in South Africa and Africa that offer some or other form of tourist activity or attraction. We are unique in that we are the only Agri-tourism Association in Africa.
To find out more about our farms – visit Explore Agri-tourism
"The African farmer - is marginalized not only in the domestic setting where government policies and programs are intellectually conceived and executed without the active participation of the farmer. The influence of foreign capital and ideas in shaping policies and the inability of the farmer to take ownership of the programs have to be part of our agenda for action. I have developed my farm with no state or external capital injection and yet the nature of agricultural investments require leverage but the bureaucracy associated with supply of financial products to the farmer is such that many are excluded and, therefore, it is difficult to energize the sector. We require new and creative financial instruments."
At Imla Guest Farm the best practices for agri-tourism to work toward:
• It must generate employment in rural communities;
• It must improve the living and working conditions for farm workers;
• It must prevent the migration of people to major cities;
• It must develop new skills in entrepreneurship and hospitality;
• It must help spread awareness of food security to all;
• It must enhance the community pride and rejuvenate regional culture;
• It must reduce the impact of seasonality on rural communities;
• It must support farmers and the Agricultural industry;
• Farmers must be provided with advice on diversification and income generation for the benefit of all.
What does the Eastern Free-state, South Africa have to offer?
• Unique foods;
• Rich biodiversity, pristine locations, and natural beauty;
• Farm stays and experiences which are combined with a rich cultural heritage;
• The continent is home to a variety of tourism offerings;
• Africa's indigenous crops offer unique food experiences;
• Educational experiences in crop and livestock farming, for example, game breeding;
• Experiential/cultural/heritage tourism;
• Environmental preservation which helps ensure that our natural heritage remains un-tampered;
• Rich diversity in terms of the continent's cultural and natural heritage;
• One of the world's fastest growing tourism region's, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO);
• Activities and attractions in agricultural regions are uniquely African;
• Opportunities abound for 'out the box' partnerships with rural communities, where poverty is the primary influencer. Scientists and international companies are already investing in this regard;
• The best way to empower smallholder farmers is to incorporate the farmers into an agri-tourism route, thereby opening doors to a potential tourism market which can help keep their farming sustainable. To a certain extent, agri-tourism allows these farmers to diversity, mitigating the effects of climate change and other risk factors;
• Working together creates an opportunity to share information and strengthen communities so as to facilitate a sustainable future which allows for additional income sources for farmers.
The Free State is situated on a succession of flat, grassy plains sprinkled with pastureland. The rich soil and pleasant climate allow for a thriving agricultural industry. Over 70% of the country’s grain is produced in the Free State. Mineral deposits are plentiful, with gold and diamonds found mostly in the north and west of the province.
The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is the Province’s prime Tourist attraction. The Park gets it’s name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the spectacular sandstone cliffs.
Some of South Africa’s most valued SAN (Bushmen) rock art is found in the Free State. Vredefort Dome, formed 2 billion years ago, when a 10km wide meteorite slammed into the earth, is one of SA’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
JRR Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings, the epic fantasy novel which was made into a trilogy of successful films, was born in the Free State capital of Bloemfontein on 3 January 1892.
Zambia is home to the Victoria Falls and many other magnificent waterfalls; spectacular wildlife; superb safaris; great adventures; rich culture; and friendly people.
Tanzania is home to Africa’s most sought-after travel destinations, including the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, Serengeti National Park and Lake Victoria.
Zimbabwe is home to the Victoria Falls, the stone enclosures of Great Zimbabwe, and herds of game roaming vast stretches of wilderness.
Beautiful Namibia is unlike any other country on Earth. Discover the oldest living desert in the world with its high sand dunes; one of Africa’s greatest game parks; the Skeleton Coast littered with shipwrecks; sand-covered ghost towns; huge gravel plains twinkling with gemstones; limitless horizons; quirky little towns; and an excellent visitor-friendly infrastructure.
Botswana is known for its peace and tranquility, its diverse cultures, and its wonderful parks and wildlife.
The Eastern Freestate is known for the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the spectacular sandstone cliffs, friendly people, good food and adventure.
Jacqui Taylor - Agri-Tourism SA: "Africa is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations, with significant opportunities in, particularly agri-tourism. The availability of agri-tourism data is scarce and an opportunity exists in this regard for cross-country collaborations".