Long before it has become fashionable to start concentrating on green issues, Eight Bells Mountain Inn has been quietly doing their thing to protect the environment and in doing so have managed to create a full-service hotel in an area were no Municipal services existed.
Water has always been sourced from a stream emanating from a fountain situated higher up in the mountains. This water is gravity fed to a set of tanks from where it is pumped by an old Lister Motor and Pump to a plant were just the necessary additives are added to produce crystal clear, soft and very drinkable tap water.
We do have electricity connected for the essentials, but if the power fails, we again rely on two old Lister motors (run with diesel) to generate enough electricity to provide power to the offices, main building and for all bedroom lighting requirements.
Sewerage needs are looked after by a system installed some years ago but that still adequately services our needs. Everything flows to the tank system which circulates the matter through a special holder containing a range of enzymes which breaks it down and removes all solids. The liquid is then filtered through a gravel bed and then through the roots of Cannas plants before flowing into a tank ready to be used for irrigation.
We have an ongoing campaign eradicating the invading Black Wattle trees found mostly along the river beds in the Western Cape. The trees are chopped down and the wood used for firewood after being split and dried.
There are no geysers used at Eight Bells for our hot water needs as we use the same Black Wattle firewood to stoke the two traditional donkey boilers which burn 24 hours a day keeping our electricity usage as low as possible.
All rooms have the necessary signage explaining the need to conserve energy, water and our natural environment. We also have signage asking guests to assist us in limiting the need to send towels for laundering by re-using towels when possible.
Horse manure is collected, layered with soil, leaves and other vegetable matter, creating our own organic fertilizer used for composting our gardens. Leftover food stuffs are collected on a daily basis by a local pig farmer and all cans and bottles are collected by a local company for recycling.
As far as social responsibility is concerned, we have a programme of supporting the local schools where possible and have provided a fully maintained rugby field close to the local community where our some of our staff and other young men play and practice their sport. The females in the community have not been forgotten as we are currently working on building a netball field for their use.