The ultimate eco traveller’s guide to the Western Cape
They’re the ones who go green, don’t pick the flowers and take nothing but pictures on their journey. Discover an abundance of eco-friendly experiences, organic wine farms and eco-friendly lodges. These inspiring places are in some of the most beautiful settings on earth, whilst being dedicated to saving it.
Reserves and National Parks
Cape Nature Reserves
Cape Nature is responsible for biodiversity conservation in the Western Cape, believing in the principles of Conserve, Explore and Experience. They have many beautiful reserves throughout the Western Cape, which include hiking trails through rugged terrain and the Cape Floral Kingdom, eco-friendly accommodation, San rock art, canoeing, kayaking, stargazing and donkey cart rides.
South African National Parks
South African National Parks (SANParks) is the leading conservation authority in all national parks around South Africa and is responsible for 375 1113 hectares of protected land. Many of these parks boast hiking trails, MTBing routes and eco-friendly accommodation. The parks allow you to explore the best of the province responsibly, including the areas like the Cape West Coast, Table Mountain, Cape Agulhas and the magical Cape Karoo.
Hop on board the City Sightseeing Bus
Discover Cape Town responsibly by hopping on board the City Sightseeing bus, the ideal way to explore all this dynamic city has to offer. Not many people know that these red, double-decker buses are the product of South Africa’s first carbon-neutral bus company, and that they are committed to offsetting emissions by buying carbon credits from a local composting business. Tours include, Table Mountain Cableway, Hout Bay, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and the new Cape Point Route, including Boulders Beach.
Cycle the City
There are so many ways to ditch cars and travel through Cape Town. Cycling tour operators specialise in bespoke tours or you could simply rent a bike and travel through cobbled streets and safe cycling designated cycling lanes – there’s really no better way to explore the city than to traverse on two wheels. Peddle your way through the historic streets of Langa, Sea Point Promenade, City Centre, and culture rich Bo Kaap and trendy suburbs like Woodstock.
CAPE WEST COAST
Visit the Indie Ale tasting room for a short tour of the brewery. Enjoy gourmet pizza and other homemade dishes. Taste unique craft beer made from local ingredients. Indie Ale has implemented Permaculture, which is finding solutions to the problems in our personal environment through natural systems. Let them tell you how this affects their entire business.
Rocherpan Eco Cabins
Rocherpan Nature Reserve has eight eco-cabins, boasting solar-power and eco-friendly waterless toilets. The Reserve, with its array of wildflowers and beautiful birds is located perfectly for bird watching, fishing, braaing and swimming at a private beach. There are also broad wooden boardwalks leading up to and between the cabins for easy wheelchair access and mobility.
Take in the exquisite wine valleys and dramatic Cape mountains and orchards from exclusive wine estates. Horse riding is an environmentally friendly way of discovering the destination as highly skilled guides safely escort you on various routes in some of the most beautiful towns in the Cape Winelands - Paarl Valley, Great Drankenstein Mountain Range, Franschhoek and Tulbagh.
Organic Wine Farms
Some wine farms have devoted themselves to practicing organically. Instead of spraying weeds with poison, they carefully select and grow companion plants amongst their vines to outdo the weeds. Some wine farms even utilise ducks to fight off pesky insects. Reyneke Wines is one of them. Avondale believes ‘Soil is Life’ and have adopted a dynamic living system where soil, water and energy, plants, animals and people coexist. La Motte has a Sustainable Walk, which gives you the opportunity to learn about viticulture and winemaking practices. A well-informed guide will take you through the sustainably grown vineyards, explaining the incredible benefits of biologic farming.
Plant a tree and leave your carbon footprint. Platbos is an ancient indigenous forest situated at the foot of Africa near Gansbaai. This historical area has trees that are over a 100 years old. Indigenous forests are rare and endangered ecosystems cover less than 0.05% of the Western Cape. The Trees for Tomorrow Reforestation Project was created in the wake of the devastating fires of 2006.
Kogelberg Nature Reserve
Considered by many to be the most beautiful of Cape Nature’s protected areas, Kogelberg Nature Reserve boasts exceptional diversity and quality of Fynbos (Cape Flora) and is largely considered ‘the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom’.
Donkey Cart Rides
The donkey cart is still a common mode of transport in the Cape Karoo. While this may be an affordable choice of transport for locals, it’s also a chance to explore the unique landscape and environment of the Cape Karoo in an eco-friendly way. Donkey carts don’t require tarred roads, some tours will take you off road and lead you down gravelled paths. Riding on a donkey cart not only preserves the environment but also affords you the opportunity to get closer to nature.
Pick n Piece
Join the movement! The community really cares in Prince Albert. 150 primary school children bring recyclable waste from their homes (cardboard, tin cans, glass bottles, plastic, paper) to the POP centre. The materials are pre-sorted into different bags and the children stand in line for the recyclables to be weighed. Why are they so keen? They earn points per kilo. Pick n Piece encourages you to join and do your part for the community and environment. This normally takes place on Wednesday afternoons in school term (but not the first Wednesday of the month) from 2pm to 3pm.
GARDEN ROUTE & KLEIN KAROO
The Phantom Forest Eco Reserve
This spectacular reserve draws inspiration directly from nature. They have found a harmonious balance between ragged thatch rising into the forest canopy, wood shingle and a freshwater nature pool. They have their own sewage plant, which is pumped back up to reed beds and finally filtered naturally back into the ground as clean re-usable water for all, flora and fauna included. Sewage pipes lie on top of the forest floor, painted black to minimise visual impact. No trees were removed to make way for the tree-suites.
Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm
Make your way to a farm in a secluded Klein Karoo valley near De Rust, surrounded by natural vegetation with views of the magnificent Swartberg Mountains. Enjoy the organic vegetable and fruit garden with the assistance and permission of the host, take a dip in a spring-fed fresh water pool or soak in a fire-bath. What’s a fire-bath? It’s an enamel bath with a fire directly under it, used to heat the water and then maintain a hot bath for an extended period.
Plant a tree and leave your carbon footprint. Platbos is an ancient indigenous forest situated at the foot of Africa near Gansbaai.
Leave nothing but your footprints when visiting Cape Town and the Western Cape.