Water conservation at Kwetu
The why’s and how
Many of you who walk, or stroll the farm may wonder at certain odd aspects of the landscape of our guest farm.
The ditches you may notice are actually called swales, and they’re infiltration basins designed for water retention and slow water release during the dry season.
They enhance soil conservation and prevent erosion. We’ve filled them up with organic material, usually old logs, dead branches, leaves, which act as a sponge and soak the water that accumulates in the swales during the rainy season, and slowly release it during the dryer months. Plants and trees below this structure benefit from it a great deal, saving us on irrigation costs, and providing the animals with a much more natural landscape and much needed food.
It’s true, we’ve received some complaints regarding our Jojo tanks. It ‘s not always easy providing cheap accommodation that is both comfortable and affordable accommodation in Swellendam. Traditionally, I keep those emails as a badge of honor. We’ve installed them all over the farm to maximize rain capture when we can, allowing us a great deal of independence, especially during this period of drought. Considering the current water crisis, all holiday accommodation in the Western Cape should be equipped with rain gutters, and that water should be stored for future use.
While waking the farm, by looking at some of our trees and the broken branches that surround them, you may mistake us for a cheap farm stay in Swellendam.
We often surround our new saplings by trimmings from thorn trees for their own protection from the animals on the farm. Part of our responsibility in being an eco friendly holiday and farm is acting wisely towards the environment. By using biodegradable material, such as broken branches from other trees, we’re allowing new growths to be protected from the game, we’re using them as sacrificial leaves, and as the branches break down, they provide long term nutrients for the growing bush, mulch for water retention, not to mention we save on our compost
material. A few years back, before our time, Kwetu Guest Farm suffered a devastating fire which destroyed most of the vegetation on the top of the farm. Thanks mostly the wonderful assistance of the local farmers, Kwetu or Quinlands as it was then known, was spared to live and see another day.
The previous owner, Steve, was dedicated to restoring its natural flora and fauna, and so are we. Considering the current climate issues in the Western Cape, we ve mostly continued along that path and planted water resilient trees, paper bark, fever trees, and thorn trees to name a few. Once established, they will play their part in soil restoration, and provide much needed food and shade for the animals, big and small. We also encourage mulching, and we use no pesticides anywhere on the farm. We’ve also created 3 organic gardens for you and your families to enjoy. If it’s in season, you’re welcome to pick up anything for lunch or dinner in our simple but wonderful gardens.
We’re dedicated to making your farm holiday an educational one, and we invite you to ask and explore, and even part take in advise or simply join us on any farm activity with your children. We are here to listen and learn.
During the game drives we’ve done with our visitors, we’ve been gifted amazing recommendations by many of our guests, from the youngest to the oldest, and we’re often in awe at these wonderful and enthusiastic ideas people bring us from the furthest parts of the world.
We welcome them and we love them. Talk to us, critique us, show us our weaknesses, our mistakes, share with it all with us so we can make Kwetu a better place for all. When you stroll onto your farm holiday, we truly want to walk that road with you. I am certain you will love it as much as we do.
Making Kwetu Guest farm a sustainable and responsible holiday farm is part of our mission statement. Help us achieve that, and help us improve. We’re making our guesthouse a better place one day at a time. It’s a slow journey but we will get there.
Have a great week.