Duinepos is a community based tourism project. It opened its doors to the public on 1 December 2006.
It is a community upliftment project and Black Economic Empowerment success story.
Duinepos was conceptualised during 2004 as part of the Sustainable Coastal Livelihoods Programme of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. African Development Options (ADO) was tasked with the conceptualisation, implementation, management and mentoring of this process.
The first phase(from May 2005 to May 2006) consisted of the restoration of eight old houses previously occupied by park staff. Service infrastructure was upgraded and landscaping had been done. But who would take ownership of the envisaged Duinepos?
So the very important process of recruiting members of the Duinepos Business Unit from the Langebaan community commenced. ADO appointed a competent team to take this process forward.
Several small group and meetings with individuals were held and door to door visits were conducted. All interested parties were informed of the project objectives and processes. The people of Langebaan were excited about the Duinepos project after a widely representative community meeting. Solene Smith and the late Minnie Blaauw were elected to serve on a project steering committee.
The criteria for selection was set and the process of selecting candidates who would become the core beneficiaries of the project got under way. (A similar process was followed to recruit contractors for the restoration of the buildings.)
An open invitation was addressed to all members of the Langebaan community to take part in the project. The services of the West Coast Business Development Centre was secured to assist the public with their applications. The selection panel consisting of Noel Daniels (ADO chairman), Gary de Kock (of the West Coast National Park) and Enid Plaatjies (also of ADO) awaited applications.
A training and development strategy for the business unit was developed and valuable partnerships were formed with business development training providers.
At a meeting on 19 April 2005 the Project Steering Committee recommended three individuals as the owners and managers of Duinepos: Janine Samuels (Manager), Augusta Pretorius (Operations Manager) and Hildegarde Valentyn (Administrative Manager). Their knowledge, commitment, creativity and high levels of energy made a lasting impression on the committee.
Phase 2 (from January till November 2007) included the construction of the office and reception building, swimming pool, three new houses, and service infrastructure was upgraded.
All new buildings were constructed with the sand bag building method which is labour intensive and ecologically friendly. This was undertaken by a team of 30 previously unemployed people from the Langebaan community who learned the required skills on site, but also gave their best at all times to make this exciting project possible.
Over the past few years Duinepos Chalets has grown from a noble project concept into a sustainable business that looks after its guests, community and environment.