places to stay

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a revolution in straw - staying in elands bay

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2009-07-27 13:58

We recently spent the most beautiful weekend in winter in Elands Bay on the west coast. And whilst I share this with some reticence (Elands Bay can do without a stampede) I do think that sharing our hideaway (join the strawrevolution at one boom straat elands bay) is something anyone who appreciates anything built sustainably will appreciate!

So, what is there to do in Elands Bay? was the first question flung my way when I mentioned to two of my closest friends jetsetting in from Johannesburg that we were heading out to the small town on the West Coast for our long-planned weekend away.

A little research brought to light an apt description that went something like this: there is a very long beach; and you can head down to the local pub and drink coke and klippies with the local potato farmers!...


green map set to green the city of cape town

Submitted by Ahmed on Thu, 2009-06-04 11:52


You haven’t met before?
No, seriously, you haven’t?

Well, then… meet the Cape Town Green Map.
What’s that? You have no idea what it is? Well then, it seems a proper introduction is in order. May I formally introduce to you Africa’s first, very exciting, helpful, online, interactive Green Map.

A map, I hear you say? Well, as with all maps, it does provide direction – but with a difference.

No other map has attempted to chart and detail the city of Cape Town from a green angle before. This particular one is unique in that way. The map can be used to make greener lifestyle choices, and help people to make more informed decisions on how to live sustainably. It is also different because it is on-going, evolving and is constantly being updated.


a fynbos retreat

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2008-08-21 12:23

Just outside Malmesbury, at the end of a dirt road right up against the Paardeberg Mountain, lies a gentle farm set in amongst hectares of Renoster fynbos and grape vines. We had headed out to this beautiful part of the world for the weekend to celebrate a birthday with friends, and no better choice of venue could have been made.

Seldom does one find a place to stay that not only easily accommodates 8 adults and 6 children with plenteous ease, but has such character that it left us all feeling as if we’d been staying there all our lives. We had the most glorious weekend, filled with food, fun, laughter and

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ethical travel – sa makes top 10

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2008-08-05 13:43

There is a growing group of people who make ethical choices about where they’re prepared to lay their suitcase. In other words, a whole new (well, it’s not so new in countries like the UK and other parts of Europe) style of travel that is environmentally, culturally and socially responsible has emerged.

Arguably, not to travel at all is the most responsible form of travel – guaranteed minimum impact. But who do you know who is prepared to permanently ditch the possibility of international travel; even crossing the channel in the UK means taking a plane or high speed train!

So, back to the topic at hand: SA has been selected as one of the


holidaying in the keisie valley

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-03-26 10:30

We managed to take a few days off over Easter and headed off to the Keisie Valley, just outside Montague, to stay on Vredenshoogte Farm in a beautiful little cottage called Dew Cottage.

I again find myself in the disagreeable predicament of whether or not to share my newest found hideaway with everyone and risk losing it. But I’ll offset my reservations against the untold joy it will bring to those of you who head off to this secluded and rustic part of the world.

Vredenshoogte organic farm, nestled at the foot of the Burgers Pass, is comparatively small - only 9.5 hectares - that sweep in an unimposing curve up a hillside, surrounded by the foothills of the Langeberg. To say that the views here are beautiful is possibly the understatement of the year. The cottage spills out onto a wooden deck, complete with hammock and gentle breezes that gives one breathtaking views of

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green your holidays

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-03-05 10:03

Holidays are no longer only associated with gas-guzzling air miles and water-craving golf courses. Hop onto the web and there are now many overseas websites committed solely to green travel where responsible and sustainable holidays are fast becoming the norm.

wild olive farmwild olive farmMore and more travellers are choosing to holiday on organic and eco farms, and B&Bs or staying in fairtrade establishments, and paying to offset their air travel carbon emissions. These are the types of people who take their ethics with them and tend to recycle wherever they are and also shop local. They’re minimising the negative impact of their journey as much as possible.

What is a green stay?

In South Africa there is very little at the moment being done to legitimise the claims of establishments calling themselves ‘organic’ or ‘eco’. The term eco-tourism in particular has been bandied about by many a tour operator who is looking after anything but the environment


holidaying in jamaka

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-01-04 08:54

I do know how to spell Jamaica – we didn’t, after copious articles to the contrary, fly halfway across the world to yet another sunny clime. Jamaka is, in fact, one of those finds about which one feels a little reticent at sharing! If I tell you, you’re bound to head out there – bam goes my getaway!

But that would be most perverse of me, as this idyllic organic farm tucked away in the Cederberg deserves more than a mention – although I must warn those of you addicted to smsing that there is absolutely nada cell phone reception (a certain member of our family hiked to the top of a mountain in search thereof!)

Jamaka lies about 2.5 hours’ drive from Cape Town on the banks of the Rondegat River, just off the Niewoudts Pass - roughly halfway between Citrusdal and Clanwilliam.

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a visit to wild olive farm

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-05-16 12:21

Driving all the way to Stilbaai on a windswept, rainy morning that just happened to coincide with the first day of a long weekend was probably not the best idea with an infant on board, but there you go – parents of infants don’t always make ideal decisions (I am a good mother, I am a good mother).

But the stay on Wild Olive farm was well worth the over four hour drive. The farm lies just outside the little seaside village of Stilbaai, off the N2 between Mossel Bay and Riversdale, on the banks of the Goukou River.

Owners Hazel and Alan are recent advocates of permaculture and not only cook as much as possible with their organic home grown vegetables and salads from their Farm Kitchen, which produces some of the most scrumptious food imaginable and is a wonderful haven when it’s raining, but they also supply guests and Stilbaai with produce.

The farm offers a number of accommodation options...


a visit to tierhoek cottages

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2007-05-02 10:44

The urban sprouts have been on some extra-urban excursions lately - with all the public holidays in April we wanted to get away before the winter rains descend on the fairest Cape.

view from tierhoek houseview from tierhoek houseWe needed a place to escape to a couple of weekends ago and decided to put our growing list of organic accommodation getaways to the test. We wanted to stay on an affordable organic farm, reasonably close to Cape Town. Our options were Fisantekuil guest farm close to Wellington and Tierhoek cottages near Robertson – only Tierhoek was available for the weekend and so we set off for Robertson.

The secret to traveling with a very active 18 month-old is to set out only when there is a reasonable chance of his falling asleep and so we only got away at 11am on Saturday morning, just before sleepy time. He was asleep by the time we passed Bellville and only awoke as we neared our destination, around 160km later and less than two hours from Cape Town's southern suburbs. Perfect.

There are a few accommodation options available at Tierhoek farm. Romantic getaway for two? Then you'll want Pepper Tree or Quince cottage - both with king-size baths, queen-size beds, open fireplaces and plunge pools. If it's a family getaway you're after then it’s Lucky Bean cottage or if you like to live large then you can rent out the original Tierhoek farmhouse.

Tierhoek and Spaarkloof farm comprise 1500 hectares set in the most idyllic valley. Turning off the R60 from Worcester at the Rooiberg winery and onto the sand road you can immediately sense the pace of life slowing to a leisurely amble.

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