Eco responsible tourism is more than just building and operating in a conscious and sustainable way. It’s about the impact one has on their surroundings. By this I mean treading lightly upon the Earth as opposed to building roughshod over it.
Often people associate sustainability and green development with a slap-dash ‘hippie’ approach, but this is by no means the case when you look at the establishments leading this mushrooming industry.
Cape Nature Kogelberg Reserve, in the Western Cape of South Africa is one such establishment blazing a trail in eco-responsibility and treading lightly. The reserve makes for the perfect weekend get-away, located just before Kleinmond, an hour out of Cape Town. Kogelberg teaches us that one can still have a beautiful and comforting experience whilst dramatically reducing their impact on the world. They offer award-winning, eco-sensitive lodgings designed by Architect Justin Cooke from the ground up to have a minimal impact on the environment. It is built on an existing footprint in the epicenter of the Cape flower kingdom – a world heritage site and unique biosphere/ecosystem.
The reserve has been featured in the Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität München’s exhibition “Afritecture – Building Social Change”. Cooke’s architecture makes you fall in love with the landscape without separating you from it. More than anything it makes use of simple design that we all can and should apply to our everyday lives.
Structures are solar heated and contain composting toilets. The swimming pool is naturally plant filtered allowing for chemical free water. Green living roofs regulate indoor temperatures along with the lattice screenings and rock foundations that mirror the natural grey landscape. All this along the smooth white beach sand banks of the Palmiet River and some of the cleanest water in which you will ever have the pleasure of swimming. It is a serious attempt (and a successful one) at building a paradise in a sensitive, cost effective way, and a shining example of what is possible if one treads consciously.
View the still photography of Kogelberg here.
Words and Video: Daréll Lourens