Tag Archive for: green getaway

Farm 215 on Eco Atlas


Farm 215 on Eco Atlas

You know you have come to a good place to rest, unwind and let your gaze softly adjust to the horizon when the lizards sunning themselves on the deck are so at ease with your presence they almost shuffle up to make space for you, even though you have your very own and inviting deck lounger to fall into and thereby join the sun worshippers and their stillness. Farm 215 is the kind of place where not only the lizards are at ease, but the leopards are too, as are the multitude of rare Fynbos species and thriving life associated with them. You see it covers 800 ha of protected nature reserve and so the entire complex web of life from leopard to lizard and everything in between feels safe, in this Overberg haven, to go about their natural rhythms and sun lounging, as are you.


A great escape from the city, Farm 215 banks up against the mountains behind Gansbaai which makes it just a two hour drive from Cape Town and before you know it you will find yourself in one of the sun drenched fynbos suites. The suites are completely off grid and in fact Farm 215 was the first guesthouse in the Western Cape to install solar panels, thankfully now more and more places are seeing the long term benefits of harnessing sun energy. The suites are simply and beautifully designed to give one a sense of space and tranquility with a full wall of windows looking  onto the uninterrupted vista of the Agulhas Plains. Yet they also have a fireplace for winter getaways and with all the alien clearing that is a constant conservation coup, there is no end to the wood available.


So whether you feel like lounging like a lizard on the deck of your suite, at the Zen pool area, or in front of the fire you can expect your worldly worries to evaporate into the great open spaces surrounding you. And you don’t need to wander far to experience the ever changing seasonal glories of the Fynbos flowers, they are right under your nose, but to fully feel the fresh air flowing through your body there are breathtaking hikes and horse rides exploring the landscape from mountain to sea. Then relax with a glass of local red wine in the fire warmed dining space which serves breakfast, lunch and supper. Sound like a retreat for mind, body and soul? It is.

Farm 215 on Eco Atlas


Farm 215 on Eco Atlas


Farm 215 on Eco Atlas


Farm 215 on Eco Atlas


Farm 215 on Eco Atlas


Farm 215 on Eco Atlas


Farm 215 on Eco Atlas


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Farm 215 on Eco Atlas


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Farm 215 on Eco Atlas



Farm 215 on Eco Atlas


To book your getaway at Farm 215 Private Nature Reserve visit their Eco Atlas page


In conversation with Maarten Groos, the changemaker who owns Farm 215…

maarten Groos of Farm 215


Maarten speaks with deep passion for the land and his enthusiasm for his reforestation project is palpable – “It feels a bit like love, you know when you fall in love with someone you think about them all the time. When I’ve planted some trees I fall asleep with the image of what that forest will grow to be later.” He explains that the deep heartbeat of nature is easily felt when walking on Farm 215 and the reason he enjoys running a sustainable guesthouse and retreat is that the kind of people that come to stay are those that hear the heartbeat too.

When asked what needs to change Maarten responded with’ “ The mentality needs to change, where we as humans focus on our well being rather than on the maximisation of profit – we need to look to the future with trust instead of dread.” And what is Maarten doing about this? He’s planting trees of course.

You can offset your travel to your Farm 215 getaway by purchasing a tree with the Trees for Tourism reforestation project and Maarten will make sure it joins the ever growing forest.



More ideas for winter getaways…



If you would like to turn your Overberg winter getaway into a road trip there are other fabulous places to stay at that are also doing their bit for people and planet in a range of positive ways. Have a look at Grootbos, White Shark Guesthouse, Greyton Ecolodge, Poespasrivier Cottage and the Potato Patch Self Catering Cottage for a range of different budgetary options.







Or why not take a road trip up the Wild Coast, you know you want to…stopping at the incredible range of places achieving both eco and empowerment wonders. You could start at Buccaneers famous for its hospitality and views. Then on to Peas on Earth where Permaculture is at play, as are horses. Continue on to Bulungula, Wild Lubanzi and then Mdumbi,  all of whom are on the coast, community empowering and will give you the sense of freedom only the Wild Coast can. When are you leaving?

Numbi Valley on Eco Atlas

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Lying in the warm winter sun overlooking the organic olive grove, the aloes is full amber flower and the majestic Swartberg mountains with the wide Karoo sky reflected in the fresh water pool the words that floated through my head were ‘This is bliss. This is beauty’. And it is, both blissful and beautiful to stay at Numbi Valley as you sigh off the worries of the world and immerse yourself in the fresh air, the stillness and the incredible vistas of this secret valley in the Klein Karoo.

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Numbi Valley is an active permaculture farm growing fresh vegetables, fruit and olives and owners Kathryn and Ross are living out the off-grid, self sufficient dream so many of us secretly or silently harbour. The self catering cottage is a lovingly restored labourer’s cottage with beautiful finishes and touches from the bathroom in earthy tones of wood and stone to the African basketry, fresh flowers and very necessary large and warmly roaring hearth. We woke up to a world washed clean by a rare Karoo rain and explored the microcosms of diamonds and dew drops dangling from aloe, spekboom and acacia thorns, each globe reflecting the rounded hills surrounding us. The cottage is also completely off-grid, with sweet water fed from a natural spring and warmth and light from solar and fire, so rainy days call for a donkey fired hot shower, deliciously rewarding. Our days were spent cycling the quiet farm roads, exploring the diverse plants and succulents on the walking paths, taking the time to watch the complex scurryings of termites as they stocked up their nests and yes, blissfully suspended in a hammock in the boma allowing our eyes to soften and relax on the horizon.

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So not only did Numbi Valley tick all our boxes for beauty and bliss, it just felt so good that our weekend away was one where we could truly tread lightly on the earth. We ate organic greens freshly picked from the abundant veggie garden, saved our kitchen scraps for the farm chickens, played family games by the light of solar power and made our pizzas in the exquisitely sculptured outdoor oven with wood harvested sustainably on the farm. A feel good holiday of note, the only question that remains is, when are we going back?

To book your weekend away visit their Eco Atlas page for contact details.


Change Makers – Kathryn and Ross Eybers

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I asked them why they have chosen this way of life, what inspires them to do what they do. Ross replied with a smile, “Is there another way?” Kathryn explained that it’s because of the principles of permaculture, they don’t want to have any negative impacts and they want to multiply the positive impacts. When they bought the farm the land was dead, bulldozed and then intensely farmed with ostriches (one of the worst kinds of farming for nature and biodiversity, food for thought when ostrich meat is marketed as the healthy option…) There were barely any birds and the absence of frogs was deathly quiet. And slowly they started growing and bringing back the natural harmony and now there is abundant life. And that, in a nutshell, is why they do what they do, to create abundance.

Eco Tip 1 – When building a natural cob house it is best to not use lime in the internal plaster  mixture, it causes the walls to shed powder when you touch them, for the best and strongest finish use just pure red Karoo earth (in this instance).

Eco Tip 2 – There is a fantastic large fridge/freezer by Bauer on the market which runs really well on solar power, is affordable and is available at OK Furniture.

Eco Tip 3 – Poplar wood is great for rustic construction as the poles stay free from insect damage without any chemical treatment (plus you are removing alien trees!)



GIVEAWAY: 2 Nights for 2 People at Numbi Valley Self Catering Cottage

This is your chance to experience the beauty and the bliss for your self and it’s really easy to enter! I will draw and announce the winners next Friday the 14th August.

You will be able to choose any two nights before the end of November 2015 (subject to availability) and will need to make your own way to Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm, between Oudtshoorn and De Rust.

Here’s how you enter, good luck!

1. Like Numbi Valley’s Facebook page

2. Like the Eco Atlas Facebook Page

3. Like and share the post on Facebook and tag who you would love to take with to Numbi Valley.

(4. For an extra entry you can write in the blog comments below who you would love to take with you or Tweet @EcoAtlas)