Hi. My name is Scott and for the greater part of the year I stay here, deep in the South African bush on the farm my grandparents started some eighty years ago. If you love diverse nature, peace and quiet and want to experience a self sufficient type of lifestyle then read on because my project may interest you. (For a few months of the year I stay In UK)
The original farm house has been empty now for ten years and over the last three years I have spent considerable time working on improving the house and surroundings . My overall vision is to renovate the existing buildings which include the main house, other accommodation, the original workshop and other outbuildings, as well as becoming as self sufficient as possible, by growing a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, berry and nut trees, harvesting enough rain water for domestic and gardening needs and installing solar power. At the present time sorting the garden takes priority over building renovation and so I hope to focus on this during the coming season (22/23)
The house is situated in a magical spot between two richly wooded hills, where the valley widens into a flat area - my grandfather chose the spot well and after spending a few days here it’s easy to forget about the outside world thanks to the silence and abundance of nature. The house is surrounded by huge shade trees, useful in the summer months to keep cool during the hot days, while dotted around the rest of the garden are some beautiful indigenous leadwood trees and large bougainvilleas. Night time brings an incredible star rich sky, or when the moon is full, a brightness of scene I've rarely witnessed elsewhere.
The bushveld surrounding the garden is incredibly biodiverse and it's not unusual to have up to 40 or 50 antelope of various species grazing in the garden. A troop of Vervet monkeys pass through the garden most days and spend their nights in the trees around the house, while up on the cliffs which line the valley, a couple of baboon troops bed down for the night. The bird life is rich with hornbills, orioles, woodpeckers, louries, guineafowl and many more species always around - to spot them all will keep the most avid bird watcher busy for a long while! A family of bush babies lives close to the house and various other smaller mammals such as mongoose are always about somewhere. At night the leopard and brown hyena regularly walk past and the civets, porcupines and genets will visit the garden nightly. If you are lucky, during the night you may hear the leopard calling close by. Reptiles also abound, and its likely to see some of the famous African snakes such as the rock python, black mamba, spitting cobra and puff adder. Butterflies and insects are extremely numerous and everyday, without fail, something new can be spotted. Even after spending years searching and recording the nature, regularly I'm amazed at some new sight in the garden, or in the wider area of the farm.
In the early days my Grandparents farmed cattle but these were sold around ten years ago and since then the farm's income has been from hunting during the winter months. The rest of the year, spring, summer and autumn is quiet and very little human activity occurs apart from maintenance of roads and inspection of water holes etc. My cousin has recently bought two farms next door, so these days there is even more land to explore (many 1000's of acres) and so there's still a lot of new spots to discover over the coming years.
Outside of the garden (and quite often also in the garden) you may see a large variety of antelope including Kudu, impala, sable, eland, wildebeest, mountain reedbuck, bushbuck, klipspringers etc, as well as zebra, giraffe, cape buffalo, ostrich, warthogs, honey badgers and aardvarks and more.
I studied ecology at degree level and have a very wide knowledge of all subjects nature based. Since leaving university I have worked in gardening and horticulture and also have a wide knowledge of these subjects and am passionate about growing vegetables/fruit, looking after the soil and generally trying to live in a gentle manner without harming nature. I've also travelled extensively around the world, visiting around 60 countries in the last twenty years with a good amount of this time spent in India. During these years I was lucky enough to do some long distance bicycle, motorbike and kayak trips and maybe in the future will be lucky enough to explore some of Africa by vehicle or bicycle because at the moment my experiences are limited on this amazing continent.
Presently however, I wish to put my effort into the farm house and surrounds to transform it back to the Eden it once was when my grandparents were still alive. As a child I remember the garden brimming with a huge variety of fruit trees, full of singing birds, and to roam around picking fruit was pure joy. I look forward to sharing this experience with others and hopefully making some long and lasting friendships along the way.
Ajuda em projetos ambientais
Projetos de construção/faça você mesmo
Ajuda em fazenda
Criar/cozinhar refeições caseiras
Ajuda a cuidar da casa
Ajuda com computadores/internet
There is a vast amount to learn during a stay with me on the farm. I have a very detailed knowledge of the fauna and flora, with a specialist knowledge of butterflies and am very happy to share and teach this to guests. I also would love to share my lifetime's knowledge of gardening/horticulture/composting/permaculture with guests and hopefully inspire people to have a go at their own food gardens.
Where I live is very peaceful and serene and I believe guests will benefit from immersion in this environment. People who are looking for this environment will thrive here, but others who are looking for a party place with music and alcohol might prefer to look elsewhere. This is a place to reflect, grow and appreciate nature. Its a place to be away from the modern world, to improve yourself and share experience.
Guests will also have the chance to meet some of the locals and possibly some of my family (depending when they visit). The area is made up of game farms and for those who wish, can get involved a little with this in their spare time and learn about the industry.
Personally I'm not into hunting but being an ecologist I have a good rounded knowledge on the subject and also of other activities in the area. One of my neighbours runs an animal rehabilitation centre and there might be a chance to visit.
I spent the early part of 2020 painting the house and other buildings and then around a month building a large vegetable patch which quickly started supplying me with quality organic produce. When I arrive, usually in November the first job is to get the veg patch up and running which takes about a week, and then after I can start focusing on other jobs.
The next larger jobs I plan to tackle are fencing the entire garden area, extending the vegetable growing area, preparing to plant fruit trees and then renovations to the accommodation and main house.
My list of jobs is long and diverse and there is something to suit most people and we can mix and match jobs depending on volunteers interests/skill levels. To complete all this I would love to have some willing volunteers to help with the work (and also to exchange knowledge and ideas) because alone the project seems a little daunting!
Along with the house and garden, in the coming years I also would like to complete some rehabilitation work around the farm. In years past some parts were overgrazed by the cattle and these areas need a helping hand in the right direction -some anti erosion work and water management to allow the grasses and vegetation to return. We may also occasionally do some other work outside the house and garden area which might include things like road renovations and cleaning out earth dams.
I will happily consider any volunteers who have the right attitude (will do their best, happy, interested, keen) and would specially appreciate people with specific skills who can help with jobs such as tiling/plumbing/carpentry/electrics/mechanics.... I have some experience in these areas but could do with learning a lot more!! In return I have a lot to teach about the greener side of life!
And I Would also really appreciate experts in any nature related disciplines to contact me. A long term plan is to compile a detailed list of species residing on the farm. Already trees, birds and butterflies have been recorded but there is so much more to explore. Its such a biodiverse area that most naturalists will be in heaven. I've studied the butterflies in the area for thirty years and at the moment I am trying to photograph them with the aim to compile a booklet. Help with this would be great, but I'm afraid it won't fall under work time!!
Este anfitrião oferece intercâmbio de idiomas
I'm happy to host volunteers who are not fluent in English
There is a cottage with two rooms and a shared bathroom. Each room has two beds so can suit a single person or couple. Also there is a stand alone room and one more bedroom in the main house. Camping can also be an option - plenty of space for this (but you have to be a little brave because of the night noises!!!).
There is plenty of parking for camper vans.
I am a vegetarian but will very occasionally eat meat, perhaps once a month on the BBQ/Braai. Generally I eat large salads, veg/lentil curries and often a large fruit salad in the morning, but often I will skip breakfast and have a first meal at lunch.
For myself, I stick to a very healthy and simple diet and I'm very happy for guests to join me in this. I realise though, that a person's diet is very important to their day to day life and I'm happy to consider any requests for food, as long as it fits into my budget.
I hope to provide lots of quality organic veg/salad from the garden and in time also fruit. But until the garden is more established most of the food we consume will come from the local shops. Because of the distance, we pay a visit to the local town once a week, or sometimes once every two weeks. This is not set in stone and shopping trips also depend on other factors such as building materials needed etc. So please bear this in mind!! if you have run out of your favourite chocolate then there might be a considerable wait before stock can be replenished.
I will provide volunteers with cereals, bread, eggs, fruit and spreads for breakfast, and for other meals there will be dry staple ingredients such as rice, pasta, flour and a variety of vegetables which are available from the local shop. I will be prepared to buy a weekly allowance of meat but will not spend out on expensive steaks and other cuts because my budget does not stretch that far. Other similarly expensive foods such as blue cheese etc will not be on the list either, but I will buy cheddar for example..
For more expensive items you can't live without, I am happy for you to purchase and cook. For overall cohesion of living I'm not encouraging hardcore carnivores to volunteer at my place. And this brings me on to Alcohol. I don't drink much, perhaps a beer or two a month and sometimes less. I would appreciate people could respect this and keep drinking to a minimum. A couple of drinks in the evening is fine and perhaps a few at the weekend. And I expect anyone who wants to drink to buy their own alcohol and also to clear the bottles/cans away before bed.
The nearest towns to my place are Thabazimbi or Northam. Reach either of these when I'm there for shopping and you can jump in with me to get a lift home. If I have to make a special trip to pick you up, then I will ask you to cover petrol because it's a two and a half hour round trip. At the moment I won't personally collect volunteers from the airport because this is a day written off for me which I would prefer not to loose.
From Johannesburg I have a very reliable, knowledgeable and friendly taxi driver who will pick you up and drop you either at the farm or close by where I can meet you.
There are also local taxis - usually Toyota minibuses. This transport is for the more experienced traveller, and its worth thinking about the safety aspects, and time it may take reach the destination. Its very doable with a local taxi but please be aware of all aspects before using one.
Near the farm there are some interesting places to visit. But to be completely honest I haven't ever explored the local area much because simply I am extremely content on the farm - There are national parks close by and I do visit Marakele national park regularly (1.5hr drive). It is well worth a day trip and I am very open to visit with guests at weekends. It is truly a stunning set of different ecosystems and is usually very quiet and plenty of animals can be spotted including elephants, rhinos and lions. One of the largest colonies of vultures also live on the basalt cliffs in the park and provide a very memorable sight to those lucky enough to see them.
Then of course there is Kruger and a host of other possibilities. To visit places further afield guests will need their own transport or organise through a tour company.
There is also a river about 45 minutes away where we can spend an evening fishing and birdwatching.
The Farm is very big and there is unlimited walking, camping and photography potential. I hope soon to get some bicycles and a couple more tents for volunteers to make the most of the place. It is perfectly safe to walk around the farm but of course it is good to be sensible and I can explain this in greater detail to any one who stays. There is a network of roads and for those more adventurous walkers, off-road routes over the mountains and up the valleys. I have walked the entire farm and although the 'off-roading' is not for everyone, it is very rewarding with the views and interesting finds along the way.
A FEW MORE WORDS;
Where I live is a very wild place and is not for everyone. In the past many guests who 'believe' they love wild places find out quickly its not quite what they expect so I feel I must highlight this aspect. If on the other hand you enjoy the wild and everything which comes with it, then you will probably love my place.
My house does need modernising - the kitchen is fine but not five star. I have two fridges, wood stove, gas stove and freezers. Accommodation is clean and freshy painted. At the moment there is only one fully functioning bathroom but there is another outside toilet, so some sharing will be necessary. (one of my jobs is to fix the bathroom in the main house). Its worth bearing in mind at this point that my house is in the middle of the bush and the inhabitants of the surrounds don't understand there is an invisible line between where they live and where we live. Expect to have lots of insects and some frogs, toads and snakes entering the buildings. Its important to keep doors closed if this might bother you. There are poisonous snakes around and it is important to be aware of this but not alarmed. Its rare to see one in the house and anyway if you do visit I will explain further about precautions etc.
There are also the monkeys to be aware of. I absolutely love the monkey troop because we get to know each other very well when I stay at the house alone. But as I said above, they don't realise there are invisible lines which shouldn't be crossed. If the kitchen door or windows are left open when no one is about then the monkeys will find their way in, and if this happens a monkey fruit party will happen meaning much cleaning for us afterwards. So obviously no feeding the sweet monkeys.
At the moment all the water for the garden and domestic purposes comes from a borehole which needs electricity to pump it out. Because of this, its important to be aware and careful with water usage. Short showers, and taps definitely not left running. Same goes for electricity because its pretty pricey and I don't have solar yet. Lights off when you aren't in the room. The shower is heated by a 'geyser' and this uses a lot of electricity and so we will turn this on morning and evening. Because the water tank is small if everyone wants a hot shower we need to each keep it short.
I expect volunteers to keep their rooms and bathrooms tidy at all times. This 'tidying' time will not fall under your 5 hours of work time per day. It is your personal responsibility and because we have to share some areas such as the bathroom/kitchen everything needs to be kept clean to avoid any unnecessary conflict. Another point to note here is if you leave your clothes on your bedroom floor, then you may discover the hard way that some insect or other has taken up residence in your trouser leg.
Same goes for food preparation. This will not fall under 'work time'. Usually we will start work at 8am or earlier if the day is hot so I expect volunteers to have had their breakfast and tidied the kitchen before that. I really struggle with tardiness and expect people to be on time. If the day is too hot we may break worktime into two slots - Morning and late afternoon. I may work through depending on what I want to achieve on the day.
I hope meal times can be a shared experience and bring everyone together. However if guests have very different food preferences they may have to rely on themselves to prepare it. I will usually prepare a big and wholesome salad and will often make a veg curry/dal which can then be eaten on more than one occasion. While I've been staying at the farm alone I've kept my meals simple for convenience but look forward to sharing ideas/responsibility for cooking. Salads will feature a lot in my day to day diet and I apologise if this is boring!! I'm sure though we can come to a good plan for everyone and have a good time doing it!
Town is around an hour away and reached via fairly rough roads and for this reason I don't go there very often- usually once a week or once a fortnight. Thabazimbi is a pleasant town and most things can be found there but specialist items should be brought with or will have to be ordered/bought in johannesburg.
Also at the moment I only have a toyota Hilux pickup truck which seats three, so for this reason not everyone may be able to go to town
The farm is QUIET!! For a lot of people, staying in this environment will be a big adjustment, so please consider this. If you get bored easily and get your kicks from shopping and hanging out in restaurants then this might not be the place for you.
INTERNET: This might be the most important section for a lot of people so read it very carefully and consider what you have read. At the house I DO NOT have any internet at the moment. This means you will not be able to do anything on your phone. I know these days many people suffer phone addictions, so if this is a real concern for you then think carefully!!. If on the other hand a free digital detox is appealing then this might be a very attractive place to stay. Please consider this carefully because I can't bare listening to people complain that there is no connectivity. I will also ask people not to post photos of my place on social media. I am happy if guests send photos directly to friends and family but please not in the wider sphere. This is a very special place for me and for various reasons I don't feel happy with pictures of my home floating around in cyber space probably with intention to simply generate a few 'likes'. If you are a blogger/social media guru/addict then please talk to me first about this.
There is however internet a fairly short walk away - a little way up a mountainside (4g usually, but no guarantee). This is where I go when I need to make a call or sort something basic out on the net. For more serious work there is wifi at a neighbours, but this is for important things such as booking plane tickets etc. Bear in mind to reach the mountain wifi you must walk through the bush (mainly along the track) so at night time most people might give this option a miss and for that reason you might be limited to day usage.
I am thinking about getting wifi installed at some point and obviously will amend this section if that happens.
Please read this last paragraph carefully: My house and garden are very important to me because of my family history and also because of the general setting and uniqueness of the situation. I have travelled widely and its very difficult to find a spot such as this - one which is quiet, clean and has a good energy. I really love the opportunity given by this site to share this with like-minded and respectful people because there is a vast amount we can all gain from the experience. Please read my whole profile carefully and take the time to try and understand the sort of person I am. My friends describe me as very laid back and calm which I guess is a good starting point to my character. But also I do not suffer fools lightly and I will not tolerate anyone upsetting the equilibrium of my environment. If you are keen to do your best, are respectful, thoughtful and are willing to learn I am very happy to share my time and place with you. I also really look forward to learning from you and making new friends along the way.
If you are interested to come and stay I will ask you to tell me a little more about yourself (if your profile isn't very detailed) so I can judge if we will 'fit'. Because we will be living in close proximity, I think it is very important to get a good feeling for each other before, so there is no bad vibes later on. I will also ask people to consider a minimum of 2 weeks stay because of logistics/distances/induction time etc.
Acesso à internet
Acesso à internet limitado
Pode hospedar famílias
Vans are welcome but please bare in mind there is 30km of rough dirt road to reach my place.
Please contact me and discuss first if you have a pet
Mais de 2
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week