Rocklands Association for Development:

Enabling positive impact tourism


Everything that RAD does is initiated in consultation with the communities of Rocklands, and with the Rocklands landowners. Where possible, we bring in interested outside consultants and participants. Traditionally, these were mostly rock climbers but we have in recent years enjoyed fantastic support from University of Cape Town academics, Jungle Theatre and other interested parties.

The Veldblommetjies creche

Historically, the communities of Rocklands had no access to any form of Early Childhood Development facilities, with the consequence that children would arrive for Grade R at Elizabethfontein Primary School, wholly unprepared and at a disadvantage. In 2021, using funds raised amongst climbers (most notably the annual Rockstock party), as well as an incredibly generous donation from one particular climber, and built the Veldblommetjies creche on land donated by De Pakhuys. It was built by local people from the community, as part of our mandate to empower local previously disadvantaged communities with all possible contract work. The creche was beautifully furnished with donations from all the Rocklands neighbours, as well as the Waldorf schools in Cape Town. Training was given to two women from the community (one of whom had previously been exposed to the Oxford University Press Wordworx programme). The training – and many months of continued support and development was given by a Waldorf Nursery school educator and an official trainer of Waldorf teachers. Further training and support was offered by the moms on the RAD committee.

The creche started out offering two mornings a week but now functions full day, every school day, and also offers nutritious meals for the Rocklands kids. After school care if provided for junior primary school kids when they return from school.

We have received fantastic feedback from Elizabethfontein Primary School, who have now taken in two year’s worth of Grade R learners from the creche. They report that from being amongst the worst students, Rocklands kids are now amongst the best.

The creche is funded by a tiny stipend charged to community parents, by generous donations from some climbers (recently from Quartzite Boulders), and from landowners, most notably De Pakhuys farm. But funds remain a huge struggle. The teachers deserve a decent wage and currently work for very little. Not to mention the feeding of the kids! This project is sorely in need of sustainable donation. To reach out, you can do so at <donation link>.

The creche has recently been allocated additional land in order to create a community-led vegetable garden. Further funds are needed for this project.

Heritage tourism – for foodies

For the past six years, a group of fynbos experts from the Rocklands local communities has been working with RAD representation and the University of Cape Town, to enliven their memory of indigenous foods. Some of these community members are now making and selling their own fynbos-based products (which can be purchased at local Rocklands retailers under the brand FynbosMengsels). They are also running monthly community-led sourdough breadmaking workshops (and selling the fabulous breads in the local shops), all as independent community businesses. RAD volunteers support the initiative with logistics and marketing.

Heritage Guides training

A substantial demand exists for guiding services in Rocklands. These demands range from the very simple (such as conducting tourists wishing to save time and orientate themselves to climbing sites or taking film crews to specific, scenic features), all the way to complex, intensely content-based guiding (such as plant, nature or rock art guiding, possibly to groups with mixed physical abilities). Sporadic training programmes are is place, with relevat subject experts.

Interesting partnerships

RAD has recently partnered withNetherlands-based Quartzite Boulders. This dynamic team has created a life-sized replica of the Rhino boulder in Rocklands, and have generously volunteered to use informative cladding around the project to educate people in Europe about Rocklands and to raise funds for our projects. If you are curious about their GymRhino boulder, you can visit their website.

Keeping the landscape clean

It is our collective responsibility to keep the bush tidy by taking care with crashpads and leaving no waste.  RAD volunteers continue to conduct regular forays into the bush (particularly for “informal toilet” removal). In season, we organise clean-up days with climbers. We also commission volunteers with relevant experience to help maintain paths and wayfinding, so as to ensure that there is no unnecessary trampling of bush, and to prevent erosion. Future projects that have been discussed include green toilets for remote areas, and educational signposting.

We are also working with the Rocklands Recycling committee, an initiative by local landowners to organise and standardise sustainable waste management in Rocklands.

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A place to call home – the community hall

The common need by all RAD and coalition projects is a space for them to happen. We have had formal plans drawn up for a community hall (and had them approved), but are nowhere near having the funds to build. This is a future project. The hall will be used for:

  • General recreation for community members
  • Community get-togethers
  • Church services, weddings and funerals
  • Ongoing training with volunteer educators on cultural and guiding topics, with the vision to create cultural guides
  • Office space and homework centre with internet and printers
  • Retail space for to “spaza” basic consumption necessities for community shopping
Rocklands creche kids
Creche educator and a pupil
Jungle theatre performance
Community-led workshops
Learning rock art guiding
Elizabethfontein school visits the creche
Honouring and furthering traditional plant knowledge