Wild Coast World Heritage site bid
The beauty of South Africa's Wild Coast‚ its eco-systems‚ culture and communities will be highlighted in a locally-produced documentary in the hope of declaring it a World Heritage site.
The adventures of three paddlers‚ three cyclists and three runners who will each traverse the entire Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape‚ covering about 300 kilometres from the Great Kei River in the south to the Umtamvuna River in the north‚ will be followed by a film crew.
The Ufudu Wild Coast Adventure‚ which begins on Saturday and ends on June 19‚ is not being seen as a race but the group’s personal video recordings and experiences during their adventure‚ with interviews with Wild Coast residents and aerial drone footage‚ said paddler Ben Pretorius.
"We will go slowly and speak to locals and get a real sense of the place‚ what people want and what they currently doing and the history‚" said Pretorius‚ who together with his wife Pam‚ runs Ufudu Flyfishing Safaris.
Pretorius‚ of Durban‚ said they had been involved in a community project in the area a few years back and thought there was a phenomenal eco-system and that it should be declared a World Heritage site.
"I said to a guy who does adventure running along the Wild Coast that I always wanted to paddle the Wild Coast. The idea then came of having runners‚ cyclists and paddlers do the whole Wild Coast and make a documentary. And instead of doing an anti-mining or anti-toll road thing‚ rather have it declared a World Heritage site.
“There have been a number of initiatives over the years‚ but nothing got traction. But if it is a heritage site it would knock out inappropriate developments like mining and roads. Eco-tourism which is driven by the local communities would probably take preference‚" said Pretorius.
He said the objective of the documentary was to highlight the marine‚ terrestrial‚ cultural aspects and the current sustainable economic activities.
"It would be out there for people to watch and come to their own conclusion and hopefully support the idea of it being declared a World Heritage site by seeing the beauty we hope to portray in the documentary‚" he said.
Pretorius said they hope to broadcast the documentary at a film festival‚ but will discuss this with film makers and others in the industry.