Off-Grid Living in Paradise

Picture by Hannes Steyn

Sometimes as an Engineer you are lucky enough to get jobs that take you to places of pure tranquillity and peace. Vergelegen Nature Reserve, just outside of Himeville in the KZN Midlands is one such place.

Accommodation facilities are badly needed for the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Anti-Poaching Game Rangers that protect the reserves nature balance daily. Unfortunately, the old existing house that they currently use is a national heritage building which cannot be upgraded or altered without jumping through MANY loops; and as such a new 4 bed accommodation unit is required.

Due to the remoteness and tranquillity of the site, an off-grid engineering solution is the only option and the units will be equipped with gas heating, solar panels for electricity and water tanks to capture rainwater for any grey water usage. The crystal clear, fresh berg water flowing in the nearby stream is just perfect for drinking and will be piped directly into the house. The access to site is tricky to say the least, and as such innovative construction methods will need to be implemented to maintain the balance of economics, environment and the social needs of the locals – sustainable construction at its best!!!


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