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At 140 kilometres north of Pretoria, following the the Great North highway (N1), you will pass through the Springbok Flats (named after the abundance of these antelopes that used to occur here). Just before the town of Modimolle you will encounter an impressive sandstone buttress named Kranskop. It is at the foot of this natural beacon that you will find us. This 200 hectare farm is part of the Central Sandy Bushveld. Starting at the southern boundary you will find an elevated sandstone ridge with wooded base. Many big trees occur at the foot like Marula, Termenalia, Wild Seringa and more. Further south you will find a scenic grass plain and then at the northern most border, the Nylsvlei floodplains. We are mainly using it for grazing of cattle but recently I started an organic farm and sustainable living project here. After spending two years on the water in a tiny sailboat and another two years in the air, doing aerial plant surveys I really wanted to get my hands in the soil and grow things... Now it is happening!
My name is Albert and as your future host, a little bit more about myself. Being a conservationist for the past 30 years, my passion and commitment has been towards the protection and care of the natural environment. I have been working as a ranger in different Parks around South Africa and Afghanistan. At the start of 2018 , I bought 2 shipping containers and converted them in living space, capable of off-grid operation. At the end of 2019, I relocated said containers, myself and my two dogs to the family farm. The motivation behind this project and being your host is not only to receive the benefit of your labour during your time here but also to learn from you. It is a chance for me to meet like-minded people and to extend my network and also to promote and encourage responsible stewardship of our precious environment.
You will find an extensive book collection as I am a compulsive secondhand book collector! Field guides,classics, novels, philosophy and Asterix and Obelix are but some of the collection. Other than books, there is music with viniels , tapes, cd's and mp3's and depending on the mood anything from Beethoven to Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Chris Rea. There's an old guitar standing around. There is also a slack line to practice balance in your life and for those that feel motivated, an early morning session of Thai Chi form (Yang style) or qigong. The covered cement dam provides crystal clear water to cool down.
Of the critters and creatures living here, you might be lucky to see ground squirrels, spring hare, steenbok, warthog, the odd kudu passing by and duiker. At night time, more often than not you will be serenaded by black backed jackals and/ or barn owls. The tiniest owl called the Pearl Spotted Owl is often seen and its distinct calling heard even during daytime. As this is part of the bushveld, there is an abundance of flying insects at night during summer time.There are some blood sucking ,vampire bugs (mosquitoes) but only a few and not of the malaria type. The winters are mild with temperatures well above zero at the home stead. You will be sharing the habitat with myself, Sheila and Blixem (my two dogs) and have the use of small but adequate kitchen and solar heated showering facilities.
Accommodation is basic but clean and dry and there is plenty space for camping. This is an ideal opportunity to learn different things from organic farming to skills like carpentry, welding or building to the local culture and history. The camp fire under the oak tree calls for bantering, discussing, philosophizing or just enjoying the starry skies.
At the onset of the Covid 19 epidemic I was to receive my first two international Workawayers. It never happened as they had to return to France. In the wake of this global terror, I wrote the following:
We were sitting at a table in an almost abandoned coffee shop in Pretoria where the normal bustle from Lynnwood Street made way to an eerie silence. The two Workawayers opposite me were suppose to travel back with me to my farm in Limpopo Province but on the instruction of the French Embassy were told to return immediately to France. I met Charlotte and Gaspian only to say good bye to them again with the hope to see them once the Covid 19 restrictions were over. This minuscule virus hit the global society with the impact force of a huge meteorite! As most of us are in lockdown or going into lockdown, we know that things will not be quite the same once this came to pass. Not only the threat of infection but the consequences of the measures put in place are weighing heavy on our minds. As a new host for Workaway, this tiny virus derailed a lot of my plans…or so it seems. In Stoic philosophy there is well known phrase, “The obstacle becomes the way”. This phrase is not just another googled meme but has been a way of life for men of ancient Rome and Greece, from Caesar to slave. Forged in the fires of war, the Plaque, civil unrest and moral decay, we (modern society) should heed these tempered lessons from history as our world seems to crumble around us.
What attracted me to become part of the Workaway family and ideals, was the concept of trust. In a world of fake news, keyboard warriors, trolls and fancy avatars, trust became a very rare commodity. To open your home to a complete stranger or to go and offer your help and stay with a complete stranger involves a good measure of trust. Looking at the profiles of Workawayers and Hosts, the human aspect stood out. Learning a new language, experiencing a different culture, helping children or old people, sharing and caring is what makes us human. As our technology-driven society marches towards Singularity, which some believe is our redemption while others believe it to be imminent doom, there is a yearning to go back to old-school principles and values. There is a strong urge to re-connect, re-connecting with one another without the Internet but on a personal level, re-connecting with Nature and re-connecting Spiritually.
The world as we know it will be altered after this and it doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict the economically hard times to follow in the wake of the virus. What gives me hope is that we will re-evaluate our set of values and that we will turn back to the things that really matter. We might rediscover our bond with the earth and the brittle environment that sustains all living things. We might find joy again in spending real time with people. We might find that we receive a lot by giving a little more of ourselves and we might find a different currency that will not be effected by stock markets or other financial institutions. In the final analysis, we might not have control over what happened to us but we always have the choice in how we will react to it. May the dawning of this new day be worthy of the price we are going to pay.
So, dear Workawayer, I hope to meet you here on Uiltjie in the future!
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Being an avid collector of Africana literature and having an intimate knowledge of the cultural and natural diversity of South Africa, volunteers have a readily available source of first hand experience. The gastronomically inclined might enjoy my bush cooking and the ancient art of "recipe exchange" might take place! Bird watchers will find a delightful diversity of local bird life. Kranskop is a sacred mountain where old Bapedi rituals still take place and although no one is allowed to witness, you can sometimes see the ritual fires at night.
We are looking for volunteers who can help out with gardening, construction of infrastructure, feeding the animals and any of the many tasks at hand. Help with the lay out and construction of two camp sites is needed.
The project is focusing to be self sustainable as far as possible. You will find bee-keeping , permaculture fruit and veggie gardens, a few chickens as part of the local landscape. We have been going for two years now and it has been a process of trail and error. Future plans includes the renovation of an old farm homestead to serves as accommodation for people attending courses on aspects of sustainable living and environmental awareness- building for kids. Enthusiastic people will be able to make a positive impact and leave a legacy!. The tasks may vary from tranquil gardening at the veggie patch, animal husbandry to more robust physical work like bush clearing and wood chopping. There is a need for artistic creativity in various forms from mural painting to wood carving/sculpture
Volunteers will be required to help me me for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week in exchange for three meals a day and accommodation that could be either a single room with bedding provided or camping.
Persian (Farsi): Beginner
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
Volunteers can either camp or stay in the second container if so preferred. For those who do not have their own camping equipment, a three by three meter dome tent with a double bed and linen will be provided. Shared ablution and kitchen facilities is available. Drinking water is from a borehole (ground water) and is pure and sweet. No need for purifying!
Three meals a day will be provided for volunteers.
Your experience doesn't count as much as your attitude! Appreciation of the simple things in life, a friendly disposition and willingness to learn and share is what I am looking for.
It will take you about two hours of commuting from OR Thambo International if you make use of the Gautrain to Pretoria and then take the shuttle to Modimolle.
On your time off, the Waterberg area with its big five game reserves are close to us, Nylsvlei will provide opportunity for game viewing and bird watching. The alternative to that is to hang around in the hammock with a good book here or take a splash in the plaasdam. Modimolle is 17 kilometers away with a number of stores as well as road side stalls with delicious home made produce. Cyclist will have lots of space to explore. My mountain bike is available
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
This host can provide space for campervans.
This host has said they are willing to accept those travelling with a pet.
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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