Good progress with tourist accommodation at Grootvadersbosch
The Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) has made good progress with transforming 32 former forestry workers’ timber houses at the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve near Heidelberg into “eco-unit” accommodation for tourists. Work on this R14,5 million project commissioned for CapeNature started in April 2015 and reached practical completion this month. This is just in time for CapeNature to welcome festive season visitors.
About 85% of the material used was recycled. Eighteen existing houses on the site were dismantled for this purpose. This World Heritage Site features a 250 ha strip of pristine indigenous forest. Additions to the refurbished buildings include attractive “inside-outside” rooms known as kuier kamers (visiting rooms) which make visitors feel like they are in the bush. These rooms have canvas blinds that can be drawn down and locked.
Carports were added to some units and these can be used as a place for children to play when it is raining. Three of the units cater for users with special needs. In addition to universal access ramps, the counters have been built at a level that wheelchair users can reach. Staff have been trained to deal with people with hearing and visual impairments.
Units have photovoltaic solar panels with batteries that can store up to four hours of power for the lights. Fridges run on conventional electricity and ovens and stoves run on gas. Water comes from nearby reservoirs on the mountain via the existing water purification plant.
DTPW architect Daniel Nugent says local subcontractors were used for various specialist items during construction. “The timber kitchen and bedroom fittings were made by a local joiner, and wash basins were made by a Swellendam-based potter. We aim to assist emerging contractors to benefit from government infrastructure projects in their areas,” he said.
This project reflects DTPW’s commitment to upgrading and maintaining Western Cape Government-owned infrastructure.