Siyakhula (“It is growing”)

 

Most people have heard of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, one of National Geographic ‘Unique Lodges of the World’, but many are not aware of how they’re making a difference by building economic growth and addressing a range of social needs including education, health, social protection and job opportunities whilst tackling climate change and environmental protection.

The Grootbos Foundation was created in 2003, a non-profit organisation that works to conserve the critically endangered fynbos, while also focusing on the training and skills development of the surrounding communities.

The Foundation consists of three programmes;

  • The Football Foundation - the flagship programme that works to promote education, health, social integration and participation through sports.

  • Green Futures - focusing on all initiatives with a core conservation focus, including award-winning research projects.

  • Siyakhula (an isiXhosa word meaning “It is growing”) - The Foundation’s benchmark enterprise development and entrepreneurship programme.

When staying at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, guests are given the opportunity to visit the Siyakhula Farm. On a Progressive Tourism Tour, guests learn about some of the great things happening on the farm and how their stay influences it all.

The farm, established in 2009, initially provided skills development in organic agriculture, sustainable animal husbandry and beekeeping to members from the local community — particularly women. Today the farm employs a full-time staff of eight, and is run as a commercial enterprise to provide an income for Foundation projects. All vegetables, herbs, lettuces, fruit, eggs, honey and preserves produced at this farm are sold to the Grootbos Lodges.

Apart from food farming, the farm supports the Siyakhula candle making initiative encouraging sustainability and enterprise development while simultaneously targeting waste management. After noticing how much candle wax was being disposed of by the Grootbos’ Lodges each day, the Siyakhula programme implemented a candle recycling project that produces 200 handmade candles each day that supply the Grootbos lodges in a sustainable manner. Each candle consists of 50% recycled wax. This project also provides for jobs to local community members.

The farm is home to 220 beehives and produces both regular fynbos honey as well as single blossom honey. The latter is completely unique and made by Grootbos’ resident bees from Erica Irregularis fynbos — an endemic plant species that grows predominantly on Grootbos. The honey has a wonderful, rich quality and is more bitter than regular fynbos honey (a bit like dark chocolate vs milk chocolate). It is also extremely healthy. The honey is 100% organic (because there are no chemicals or pesticides on the farm or reserve), raw and unfiltered.

For more details about the Grootbos Foundation or Siyakhula Farm, send us an email for more details.

 
Dylan Cox