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Our fragile eco system – our fragile businesses

This year more than ever I have been made aware of how tightly linked our businesses are to the ecology of the area. We live in a place with abundant wildlife, rugged mountains and a wild unpredictable ocean. We run our businesses to serve both the local community and visitors from South Africa and overseas and we are visited because of the ecology of the area – but what happens when the ecology changes?
This year we have had several periods where the Great White Sharks that are normally found around the Gansbaai area, have taken off elsewhere. The reason has been given that they are avoiding the Orcas (killer whales) who hunt them and have killed quite a few. Frankly if I were a Great White I would be off elsewhere too, so I don’t blame them but the result is that the tourist infrastructure that has grown up around the Shark Cave Diving businesses are suffering as the boats are not going out. So the B&Bs, the restaurants and other tourist related activities are affected. If this continues it could mean some unemployment resulting as well.
It is not only the people of Gansbaai either – here in Betty’s Bay we have our penguin colony – they could up-sticks and go at any time. We have a beautiful coastal road that it gaining quite an international reputation as a ‘must do’ for visitors, but that could be closed at any time should there be a rockfall. Of course we all know about the whales that did not come through to Hermanus last year…. not at all! Fortunately they are back this year but even so – Hermanus without the whales? A disaster again, for the entire town and the knock on effect for this whole coastline would have been catastrophic……. and don’t get me started on veld fires…..
So where am I going with all this you ask yourself?
Well really nowhere other than to remind myself and you that we enjoy access and proximity to all of these natural wonders by chance, not by right and we should as business owners have at least thought about the ‘WHAT IF?’ even if we don’t have a solid Plan B ready to act on in event of an ecological change.

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