WOWZULU is a sustainable community-based tourism model that Africa!Ignite implements across 6 rural and peri-urban areas of KwaZulu-Natal, mostly in or on the verge of the province’s scenically beautiful wilderness areas. The WOWZULU model is designed to create inclusive destinations that link emerging community-owned tourism experiences into established commercial tourism products in existing tourism destinations.

Tour guide Benny Mbotho is showing tourists fossil beds during a WOWZULU coastal walk along South Africa’s Wild Coast.

Implemented in

  • Africa
  • South Africa

Led by

Sector of activity

Type of initiative
Education & Awareness Raising

Type of lead actor
Civil society

Start date

End date

Shared by

Mohammed BEKKALI

Programme Officer, in Charge of Sustainable Tourism

Ministry of Tourism and Air Transport and Handicrafts and Social Economy

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The project aims to assess 6 WOWZULU inclusive tourism destinations providing both a rural and urban context against GSTC criteria for sustainable tourism and South African guidelines for Community Tourism, though certification will only be pursued at one destination. The beneficiaries are both the emerging tourism entrepreneurs and commercially-owned tourism service providers within each destination. Assessments will be based on GSTC Criteria, to ensure that the WOWZULU inclusive destination model is tested against a global standard. The globally recognised assessment will be applied at one WOWZULU destination, which will become the first 3rd party verified sustainable tourism destination in South Africa. The certifying body will be a GSTC recognized body . Standard methodologies for Action Research will be applied, whereby the problem will be systematically researched while actions are implemented to resolve it, with these actions being documented and assessed while in process.

We will simultaneously establish each of the WOWZULU Marketplaces as models for sustainable consumption and production, ensuring that resource-efficient practices, products and activities meet SCP standards. Part of this process is to develop a Green Rhino range of craft that epitomizes standards of consumption and production. The range will reflect recycling, upcycling and re-purposing principles to create commercially viable product that engage tourists, and a percentage of income will support rhino conservation. Finally we will utilize the networks at our disposal to educate, inform and celebrate the role of SCP in creating more sustainable destinations for tourism.

The project directly aims to close gaps where products and destinations fall short of SCP standards. It will strengthen SCP and life cycle management such that these are recognised as viable business practices for private sector and community partners. It will develop relationships where private sector partners identify local suppliers for the commercial entities. Marketplaces, as gateways to inclusive sustainable community tourism destinations, will be role models of best practice for resource efficiency and SCP.


As collected through the One Planet Reporting

Output level

Training for SCP

  • SEED Caterlyser Training - WOWZULU Marketplaces as catalysts for economic development and role models for SCP

Outreach and communication for SCP

  • National launch of WOWZULU as a best-practice sustainable tourism model for South Africa and showcasing it on multiple national and international marketing channels i.e. websites, social media, trade shows

Impact and Results

- Externally audited beneficiary records proved that WOWZULU had created work and business opportunities for 486 community entrepreneurs and provided training to 392.
- New connections between established white commercial and black community entrepreneurs increase mutual understanding and trust. Evidence of the benefits of having a more diverse tourism offering sustains the change.
- The WOWZULU model is informed and enhanced through learnings from other best-practice interventions identified by national partners
- The national Department of Tourism commissioned a study to assess whether WOWZULU could be scaled across South Africa. Results were positive.
- Partners publish and share research findings, tools and elements of the model to help mainstream SCP in sustainable community tourism

Next steps and how to get involved

Africa!Ignite continues to seek partners who will share the WOWZULU model on their platforms to raise awareness and replication of the model.Interested stakeholders can contact Africa!Ignite via email on