Who could know an area better than its locals? The best way to get the most out of your time in South Africa is to engage with communities on your travels. We have been working in communities on tourism enterprise development since 1991. Being part of diverse cultures in communities across South Africa, we know the country inside out, making us your perfect travel companion. Developed over 30 years we are experts in designing bespoke travel itineraries traversing South Africa and beyond which integrate community-based tourism enterprises and experiences.

All experiences we offer are 100% owned and managed by local entrepreneurs. Dreamcatcher trains its suppliers intensively and helps to calculate market-related and fair prices for their products. We ensure that community-based suppliers receive 100% of the price they quote. 

Why choose us?
Our founder, Anthea (known as Dreamcatcher), recognized the opportunities inherit in tourism, to stimulate socio-economic growth in local communities over 3 decades ago. Dreamcatcher’s goal was to disrupt mainstream tourism itineraries to offer a more authentic experience affirming and celebrating the rich cultural and geographic diversity of the country. Her dream was to transform the tourism industry creating a new generation of enterprises offering experiences inclusive of humanity, sharing the benefits of tourism for the greater good of society.

Simultaneously this would address over tourism to the same few attractions that left most of South Africa’s incredible beauty and cultures undiscovered. Anthea controversially introduced the concept of tourism enterprise in township communities in 1988 and set up Dreamcatcher in 1991. It was her vision to develop a network of women-led tourism enterprises providing engaging and authentic tourism services. Her ‘Kamamma’ philosophy (mother who carries her child/community on her back), embraces the 3 pillars of sustainability embedding social, economic and environmental integrity. As custodians for culture and the environment, enterprises support the wider community through job creation, and projects addressing local challenges.

A lack of support from the South African mainstream tourism industry, resulted in Anthea, accompanied by local Kamammas, to reach out to the international tourism marketplace to promote the new Dreamcatcher inclusive itineraries. Today a growing number of discerning visitors seek immersive encounters with local people where the social and financial benefits of tourism reach communities.
Offering visitors fun and insightful experiences in local communities, we are the founder of authentic community-based tourism in South Africa. We enable discerning visitors to discover those amazing people living in areas and destinations most visitors on mainstream tours miss out completely. Our comprehensive range of bespoke travel route itineraries integrate these local experiences.

As far as we can ascertain, our founder is the only person to have served simultaneously on a local, regional, provincial and national tourism board in South Africa. So elected by the people of South Africa, Anthea lobbied tirelessly to expand the “Cookie cutter” tour of South Africa, to expose what South Africa is truly like and to include people based experiences into the tours. When her term was completed, she chose to change the status quo to tackle the task of re-designing routes: changing a “Sight see” tour into a “Life see experience” in South Africa.

DC is a cofounder of ALAAPii. ALAAPii’s goal is to sell tours to the destinations that were developed by Dreamcatcher. These local communities have seen significant socio-economical growth and are environmentally friendly destinations. If you are interested in discovering our tours across Africa. To travel where the locals go and discover a South Africa they never knew existed, while still visiting the usual tourist destinations. It is what we call: Changing Lanes.

Have fun, laugh, relax -and interact locally. This in essence is the richness and beauty of intra personal connection in local encounters across the land. You will not wonder what the people are like but rather become one of them – yet be treated with respect and dignity and given the chance to share your own.

To be guided, driven or introduced to this true South Africa by friendly and welcoming local hosts and guides in each region. They know their town and region and their income stimulates local economies.

Expect diverse, stunning landscapes, vistas, mammals and creatures great and small as you make your way across the land and not boxed into one game area. Stay over in a wide range of accommodation, which is more than a bed, a shower or a key on a counter. Say goodbye to the same type of accommodation you stayed in the night(s) before. Our hand picked accommodation is part and parcel of the unique experience as are the welcomes from your hosts who run them.

We offer a range of experiences on our travel routes carefully developed with the locals. We call them ‘ Go truly Local with Dreamcatcher‘ for a taste of reality:

  • Alternative Cape winelands tours
  • Living Arts for Humanity experience
  • Be part of the inside story of Wasteland – Graced land
  • Cook-up with Kamamma
  • Arts & Crafting for Humanity
  • From Sophiatown to Soweto
  • Homestay with Kamamma
  • Finding the garden in the Garden Route at ‘La Bloemen’ Botanical Garden
  • PaintUp with Kamamma
  • Volunteer, work and play with locals
  • Walkabout community Tours
  • The Wasteland – Graced Land Experience

Much more is possible. We relish unfolding your dream trip. If this is for you – contact us today. Welcome! Feel free to check out this video about the experience.

Tourism its Mine its Yours

For the Kamammas to be the best they could become and to develop into resilient tourist service providers, and to survive as tourist businesses in a world never pioneered before, entailed to learn the art of running a tourism service in a fiercely protective industry before they even started out . Tourism is an industry Dreamcatcher founder calls: “The Cash cow of a Country”, and one sought after globally. The quest to find appropriate training at an entry level conducive to the Kamammas, at a differentiated grade to accommodate all the Kamammas and in at least 3 of the official languages of South Africa proved to be difficult.

Whilst training in tourism is offered at a multitude of training institutions in South Africa, it is expensive and if followed properly, would take the budding Kamamma entrepreneurs away from their homes which none of them could afford as they are either the sole breadwinner or often the carer of the children and head of the home. Besides, many Kamammas, growing up in Apartheid South Africa never had the chance to evolve to high school or past grade 7 or 8. Taking a close look at what was being trained, it was also apparent that training did not provide a chance nor the platform for new tourism accommodation and catering services to develop and grow from their entry level. Much of the training assumed tourism smme’s come ready made, had the amenities and resources for instance in their kitchens which mainstream established kitchens and accommodations had and that the Kamammas would be able to achieve the regulations and standards entrenched in mainstream training outcomes. How would a Kamamma have 5 skillets,a pairing knife, 6 pots, a pantry, a cutting table etc., when she had mastered the art of cooking for a team of liberation fighters who came home on clandestine trips to rest, on one burner with one pot or pan, manage or even afford that?

Our next question was: do the Kamammas need these criteria when her food fed a nation and which very food was what she loved to prepare and would prepare for her guests?

Aptly put by Professor Harold Goodwin (see blog http://haroldgoodwin.info/blog/?p=2474: ” It is also often the efforts of the emerging entrepreneurs, initially not licensed, who spread the benefits of tourism beyond the established honeypots. It was not the established operators who developed township tourism now such an important part of the industry”.

Not finding what we needed, it was clear that it was time for Dreamcatcher to innovate and develop training and skills transfer courses in the form of practical outcomes based and solution focused workshops spread over a period of 3 years and attended at a pace which suited the life and circumstances of the 50 Kamammas and Bhutis spread out around South Africa. In so doing we eliminated a significant barrier to the development of the Kamammas and Bhutis.

The first training course: Tourism its Mine its Yours saw the light in 1996 after almost 10 years of research and has been adapted continuously since then to meet the needs of the Kamamma and the ever evolving tourist market. The ethos of the course, which covers all the usual (and more) learning outcomes, also instills the knowledge and hope in the Kamammas and Bhutis, that they can cast off the shackles of being servants and reach for their dream to become tourist services: changing their lives forever from consumers to manufacturers and enactors in their own communities.