n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - The Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site : providing regulated and structured white water rafting practice towards a sustainable adventure tourism resource : sport and tourism

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, the largest, oldest and deepest eroded meteorite structure near the town of Parys (Free State Province), offers an almost unlimited range of outdoor and adventurous activities. This area is of exceptional value not only in terms of its geological, cultural and natural attributes, but also because of its recreational potential, which forms a large part of the local tourism industry. Being relatively close to densely populated areas like Johannesburg and Pretoria, whitewater rafting on the Vaal River quickly became most popular in terms of numbers of participants. Operators started to emerge on their own account and, as a result, a need emerged for an appropriate management strategy to protect the client, environment, operators, and to reduce and/or eliminate probabilities of loss. The aim of this study was therefore to develop a management tool. In collaboration with the whitewater rafting operators (n=11) operating on the Vaal River in the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, and three knowledgeable and key role players in this industry, the researchers created a self-structured questionnaire with closed and open-ended questions to obtain information about acceptable standards of whitewater rafting practice. The results reveal that not all participants cohere fully to the proposed guidelines. For sustainable adventure tourism, especially for this attraction, it is recommended that the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site whitewater rafting operators should strive to adopt and apply these guidelines. Clients will continue to seek more challenging adventure experiences and, simultaneously, operators will need to become more professional and proficient. A further recommendation is also to create national standards for all commercial and private operations on South African rivers.

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