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Mice Asia Net : July 2008
south africa CSR in T south africa The GrooTbos private nature reserve is doing much more than welcoming guests to its stunning venue, working hard to help the local community. he Grootbos Nature Reserve and its five-star accommodation and cuisine offering is just a short drive from Cape Town along the so-called “whale coast”. Rated among the most beautiful of conservation reserves in the world, its lodges are described as “the epitome of luxury and comfort”. There are two lodges – the Garden Lodge and the Forest Lodge – which both offer an extremely high level of style and sophistication. The 1700-hectare reserve is situated on the hills overlooking Walker Bay with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the distant Cape of Good Hope and Overberg. For conference and incentive groups Grootbos is a great alternative to the game park-style experiences available in South Africa. Grootbos specialises in groups for between 10 and 60 delegates. And, with a staff compliment of 140, being pampered is par for the course. The Grootbos Creative Conferencing & Events Centre offers the sophisticated corporate customer an experience out of the ordinary: state-of-the-art conferencing facilities embedded in a natural setting that will have delegates unwinding the minute their feet touch Grootbos ground. And when the conferencing is over for the day there is plenty to do for groups. Eco-friendly outdoor activities include horseriding, hiking, shark cage diving and fishing. Community conscious Besides the huge popularity of the lodge for corporate groups and FIT travellers, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is doing phenomenal work with the local community. Central to the group’s overall strategy is the Grootbos Green Futures Foundation – a non-profit organisation which provides practical-based training for unemployed people from the local community. Each year 12 unemployed local people are selected as students to participate in the Green Futures horticultural, landscaping and life-skills course on Grootbos. The course combines essential life skills including personal finance, business skills, computer skills, driving and health education with education on horticulture and landscaping. On completion of the course they have the ability to seek employment. To date, the Green Futures programme has recorded a 100 per cent success rate. But that’s not all that Grootbos is undertaking. Owner Michael Lutzeyer has helped extend the conservation work (done on Grootbos) to beyond the Grootbos reserve in consultation with surrounding landowners. This has resulted in more than 35,000 acres of land being preserved, helping to make this region one of the most important “floral kingdoms” in the world. The Grootbos Foundation is also assisting local communities in sports, helping to raise millions of dollars in sponsorships to give local children greater opportunities, has created a project for saving local endangered penguins, and is undertaking major tree-planting initiatives. Mr Lutzeyer says corporate groups and travellers who stay at Grootbos are enthusiastic about the work they are doing. “They are coming to Grootbos and enjoying a wonderful, five-star experience in one of the most beautiful places on earth. But they also have the opportunity to give something back [to the community and the area] through the programmes we run,” he says. Visit www.grootbos.com for further details on this award-winning property and www.grootbosfoundation.org.za. TOP LEFT: Milkwood Forest. TOP RIGHT: Green Futures. miceAsia.net 65