We very much enjoyed staying at 'Reflections' near Wilderness on the Garden Route.
We very much enjoyed staying at 'Reflections' near Wilderness on the Garden Route. I will hold on to the memory of Fish Eagles calling in high cries, swooping over the house to their fledgling. The reserve is still young, and at first glance appears to be unmanaged, sandy bush. But as you stay there and learn more of the vision of Tim and Angelique Carr, this eco-reserve becomes more and more impressive.
The reserve is 29ha, situated on a low-lying piece of land at the base of surrounding dunes and mountains. It divides Rondevlei and Langvlei lakes. Rondevlei is a bird-sanctuary and there are bird hides on both lakes. In 2007 the Carr's set about removing the pine plantation on the land and restoring the indigenous bush and trees. Pine and eucalyptus plantations dominate the Garden Route, where once there were abundant, dense indigenous forests, full of life, even elephant. Tim says that he had cursed plantations for so long that it was time to put his money where his mouth is. They planted 900 indigenous varieties to encourage restoration, but they recognize it will be 50 years before the land is fully restored.
The Carr's have built 4 simple, but spacious, well appointed wooden homes on the reserve and each one is 'off-grid'. An inexpensive solar and wind unit provides dependable power for low wattage needs; and gas is used for hot water, fridge and oven. So long as you can do without a hairdryer you could want for nothing. And it is totally reliable and free. Water comes from a combination of borehole (for hot and flush water) and filtered rainwater. In this way the reserve has easily enough water, and has beaten the serious drought that has afflicted towns in the area this year. This reserve is a shining example of the potential for domestic users to be off grid. Their next project is a swimming pool cleansed through a reed-bed.
You can read more at www.reflectionsreserve.com and Tim and Angelique know all about high-end tourism. He has been a top guide at 5* lodges like Singita, she worked on Rovos rail. But at Reflections they have created an affordable space where you feel in touch with nature, where simplicity gives you back that elusive sense of wholeness. It is a place where the longer you stay there, the more it grows on you (no pun intended).
Author: Atma Shetty
Published Date: 15 Jan 2010
Location: Southern Africa | South Africa
Themes: travel, natural world | inspiring, conservation, bird