So, it is happening. On February 19th, 2016, we finally received our permit from Environmental Affairs to start building at the new site. Permit? Building? New site? Wait - what? Let us explain.
The original Wild Lubanzi Backpackers occupies premises that are, unfortunately, illegal. The old holiday cottage was originally built without the proper permit from the Department of Environmental Affairs. With the support of the Lubanzi community it has been transformed into a virbrant backpackers over the last 6 years. In the origanal purchase agreement it was aknowledged by us that we were taking full responsibility for this and in the event that it could not be legalised we would break it down. Since it is located in the 1km coastal corridor that has been declared a coastal conservation area in 1992 (see Transkei Decree No. 9 of 1992) , a special permit from Environmental Affairs is necessary for any sort of development or building. We were not willing to fight the case with lawyers as we believe the CCA shoudl be protected. Toward the begining of 2015 we submitted an appeal to DEA and asked for a meeting to find a solution. With the help of DEA and DEDEAT it was decided that the best course of action was to identify a new site withing the proposed coastal settlement. All parties were happy and we procceeded with selecting a site and coming to agreements on the conditions of the move and ultimately the permit.. Wild Lubanzi Backpackers has always aimed at promoting sustainable development in this area and therefore will comply with DEDEAT and its aim to stop illegal development. After a year of negotiating DEDEAT has issued us with a permit for constructing the backpackers on a new site, while the old buildings have to be demolished in due course. The old site will become a small forest for all to enjoy. We aim to completely rehabilitate the site with indigenous vegetation over the next few years. We hope it will become a asset to the Wild Coast and an example of what can be achieved when the public and goverment work together.
The new site is only about 200m away, literally on the next hill behind us, with an amazing view and 5min walking distance to the beach. The site is part of Mr. Ndawo's family land and has been donated to the Backpackers so as to encourage closer ties and working relationships with the community. We are happy to be rebuilding and we promise the new place will be every bit as special and part of our lives as the first backpackers has been - for those mourners out there who say "its such a shame"! Don't worry, be happy! The original site will be a beautiful little forest. We are creators of space and we shall create new and amazing spaces for you, the traveler and visitor, to enjoy. Stay tuned in on our blog (HERE) and follow the process of relocating the one and only Wild Lubanzi Backpackers.
Meet the people behind the scene - our friends, neighbours, employees, affiliates - and find out how they live, what they do, and why.
The 1km Coastal Conservation Area
This means that development of any kind is heavily restricted within that corridor and subject to specific environmental laws.
The Building Plan
Anything that's wood can easily be reused in the new buildings, and even the rubble from stone walls can serve a purpose.
Want to help?
You can get involved in different ways - either by lending a helping hand or by fundraising for the new backpackers.