Published: 30-Apr-2020

Eco-friendly accommodation on the Garden Route

Debbie Nortje and her husband, Marc, run a luxurious holiday villa on the Garden Route. If you are a responsible traveller and value the eco-credentials of your destination, Treedom is the perfect example that eco-friendly accommodation doesn’t mean you need to forfeit comfort and luxury.

‘After leaving Cape Town and making the decision to purchase land and build this dream, we also wanted to be as self-sustainable as possible and have a complete change of lifestyle. This new way of living included eating organic food grown on our own land and reducing our contribution to landfills,’ the couple explains.

What is being eco-friendly?

The simplest way to define what being eco-friendly means, is to say that it is the act of living with intent. The intent is focused on not creating harm to environment, and to prevent as much harm from occurring to the environment through your interactions with it. Debbie and Marc are fuelled by a passion and love for the environment and live every day with this intent.

Building an eco-friendly villa

‘I was inspired by Pete Nelson from Treehouse Masters and his passion for living up in the trees. Since then, our dream has been to live in a forest and be elevated among the trees.’ Treedom is exactly that – luxury accommodation in a treehouse, which blends perfectly into the surrounding forest.

Eco-friendly accommodation and power

Treedom uses gas wherever possible, and the plan is to move over to solar power and eventually be completely off the grid. Debbie is a trained chef and knows that a gas stove is a mandatory requirement to produce delicious meals. On the stove top is an Italian mocha jar, ensuring a great cup of high-quality coffee is always on hand.

The treehouse is designed with big windows making you feel like you are part of the forest. In Summer, the windows encourage lots of air movement ensuring you are cool and comfortable. And in Winter the villa has a gorgeous fireplace warming up your accommodation inside and out, so there is no need for electric heaters. Close all the blinds on the patio, open the sliding doors, pour a glass of red wine and lie back and enjoy being immersed in nature.

Eco-friendly accommodation and water

Debbie and Marc have invested in tanks for rain harvesting and now have capacity to store 45,000 litres on site. They have also installed a 4-tank system for recycling water. The system takes all the water from the toilets, laundry and kitchens and filters it through the bio-tanks. The tanks are fed with live organisms once a month which keeps the tanks healthy and doing their job properly.

Eco-friendly accommodation and gardening

“Our gardens love the grey water so much! Everything grows like weeds here and is full of the vitamins and minerals that feed the soil,” says Debbie. The gardens are watered on a 2-1 basis: water twice with grey water and once with fresh water. One week before the plants are harvested, they are fed with only fresh water. Treedom is built in an indigenous forest, so only the vegetable garden and some potted flowers need to be watered.

No pesticides are used at Treedom. A large compost heap, fed with horse and chicken manure, is used for making new beds for vegetables. Managing pests can be a full-time job, so we only grow vegetables that can grow well in the area and do not require pesticides.

Eco-friendly accommodation and recycling

We are extremely strict about recycling. There are several large separate bins for tin, paper, glass, plastic and wood. Marc takes it to recycling plant in George, where it is disposed of correctly.. Leftover wood from the building is also recycled and used to make tables, shelves and benches. Christmas decorations at Treedom were homemade from alien pine trees. Huge shooting stars and decorative Christmas trees hung on the trees and surrounding the villa, wrapped in solar fairy lights to reduce the plastic and tinsel.

Eco-friendly accommodation and delicious food

Treedom has 6 hens and 1 rooster who are free range and give us 6 eggs per day! We get honey from our neighbours’ bees and fresh milk from a friends’ farm. Our guests are treated to this in a welcome pack, with the unbelievably delicious Treedom Doughnuts made by Christine, our housekeeper. They are to die for!

We look forward to welcoming you one day to Treedom. We promise you an enjoyable stay in our eco-friendly accommodation on the beautiful Garden Route.


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Useful links: A Luxury Villa on the Garden Route; Treehouse villa in Wilderness; Rates for our Treehouse Villa; Things to do in Wilderness; About Treedom; Visit Treedom


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