Dare to Experience Greener Than Green Living

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

If green building and eco environments has become your thing, look no further. Because in just one hour from Cape Town via Clarens Drive to Kleinmond, a state-of-the-art eco friendly Cape Nature cabin at Oudebosch awaits the green hearted enthusiast.

Since the concept of sustainable living has taken root, those whose hearts are in the right place but haven’t yet transformed their lifestyle, could test the grounds by practically experiencing it.

A short stay at Oudebosch in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, SA’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, will illuminate green living when occupying one of five newly constructed eco friendly cabins. For the uninitiated, this new benchmark in sustainable development by Cape Nature will illustrate every element of eco sensitive construction and living. And what is more is those sharing in this magnificent Cape Floral Kingdom environment, the lucky residents in the neighbouring areas of Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, and Bettysbay, can now share world class eco- friendly hospitality from their doorstep.

Best is to load your mountain bike, or put on your hiking boots, and explore this practical approach to timber-frame living amid glorious views, or see workings of an eco-pool and outdoor facilities that are both baboon proof and safeguarded against fires. Even better is witnessing the small invention long wished for by many nature lovers, the odorless long-drop! Not that much can beat a solar powered hot shower when ending an enjoyable day out in nature.

When old sites are renewed through careful implementation such as seen at Oudebosch, the process reflects the restoration of previously bare land, that was done through careful landscaping with indigenous plants and wise water usage. In addition is the innovative eco-pool featuring a natural plant filtration system, which uses no chemicals and substantially less energy than a regular swimming pool. Illustrating huge cost reductions through energy savings from other high efficiency appliances is seen when cabins occupied by four people only consume around 2 kilowatts per day, representing 10% or less of the typical electricity usage of a middle-class household.

Most practical are the composting eco-toilets with outdoor flues that provide air flow control, and the use of low-flow showers and faucets reducing water consumption to only 3% of previous usage. Other practical implementations of green living include a number of choices in eco friendly cooking, such as combustion outdoor fireplaces, and gas appliances in the kitchen.

And to paint the picture perfect are the splendid rooftop gardens that were constructed of locally sourced timber and stones, to blend in with the pristine surroundings, and planted with indigenous vegetation resistant to harsh weather conditions. Rainwater catchment is provided by way of storage tanks and chain dripping irrigation systems.

In the process of teaching South Africans all about sustainable development, Cape Nature’s Oudebosch received international recognition in the form of the prestigious Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction, an international event every three years, in different regions of the globe. A total number of 6000 submissions were received from 25 countries this year, and of these only 2 200 fulfilled the challenging requirements.

Those interested to learn more about green living in local areas will benefit from an additional six new renewals of Cape Nature venues in the pipeline for 2012.

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