I recently visited the newly built eco-cabins at Kogelberg Nature Reserve near Kleinmond (opened for bookings early February 2012) and was surprised that even though eco-friendly was the main aim, aesthetics didn’t take a back seat.
The five self-catering units, with views of the Hottentots Holland mountain range, are linked by wooden walkways and were constructed with renewable materials with care taken to have as little impact on the surrounds as possible. Interesting features of each cabin are the planted roofs that act as insulation and keep the accommodation cool in summer, and for winter days, there’s an indoor fireplace. Chandeliers and lights are finished off with recycled bottles, the dining table is a basic trestle style and quirky bedside tables add character to the simple but modern and classy rooms.
Each cabin sleeps four guests in two bedrooms with large sliding doors, a double bed or two single beds and a small shelf area. The two bathrooms have a shower, basin and self-composting toilet (no flushing needed) and the wooden-floored shower creates a clever design feature in the bathroom (water runs through the wooden slats).
The lounge, dining room and kitchenette area opens up on to a deck (or courtyard, depending on which cabin you choose) and allows a cool breeze to circulate while you enjoy the views.The kitchen area has a sink, fridge/freezer, microwave, oven, gas stove, pots and pans, a toaster, kettle and cutlery and crockery for six guests (day visitors allowed). Three of the cabins have the lounge, dining area and kitchen in a separate unit and across a small courtyard/entertainment area, the bedrooms and toilets are separate. The other two units have all the rooms/areas in the same building.
There’s a braai area in each courtyard and all units have a walkway that leads to the central eco-pool. The pool has no chemicals and has a deeper side (1,8 metres) and a shallow section with aquatic plants assisting in the cleaning and regeneration process.
Central parking is a few metres from each unit and as you arrive you’ll see a mix of gabion (rock-filled wirework) and wooden pathways leading to reed-and-wood cabins that are surprisingly modern as you get closer.The look is clean, uncluttered and elegant and the little décor details (especially the bedside tables) were my favourite.
There’s no TV or cellphone reception. Kids are welcome but I’d recommend you leave the very young ones behind as there’s lots of raised decks, surfaces, glass doors and the pool is unfenced. There are a few day walks and overnight trails and a mountain bike route. The cabins are fairly new so the plants aren’t full grown just yet, so the walkways may look a bit bare for now. There’s a small function/conference room with kitchen and toilets. I was told it’s a 90-kilometre drive but my odometer did 11o kilometres (from the CBD to the entrance of the reserve.
CapeNature: tel 021-483-0190, www.capenature.co.za.
Introductory price R900 a night for a cabin (sleeps four)
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