Top Pick: Eco Accommodation, McGregor
Set on the edge of McGregor, Little Cottage makes the most of all-encompassing views over the Krans Nature Reserve.
But fortunately, Little Cottage is not a so-called eco-lodge where the views and proximity to nature maketh the place - it's the very essence of ecological living. But before I get caught up in what makes it eco, let's cover the basics:
Little Cottage offers two spacious bedrooms (queen and two singles) and a loft (single bed) equipped with crisp white linen, an open-plan living room and fully-equipped kitchen as well as an outdoor braai area - all tastefully decorated and furnished with all the creature comforts you'd expect from mid-range guest accommodation.
The quaint cottage is surrounded by fruit trees and permaculture gardens, making it independent in terms of food production - and providing tasty, organic snacks for grazing guests.
Little Cottage is completely off-the-grid - with solar panels and wind turbines to meet its energy requirements. Guests will be able to monitor their usage - while having enough power for lights, radios, computers etc.
The solar system is a 12 volt system with an inverter to meet the 220 volt requirements of other appliances.
But what makes it so unique is that Little Cottage has been built out of cob (clay and straw), stone and raw timber, which keeps it cool in summer and cosy in winter.
Recycled glass bottles and car windows have been used to great effect - decorating the walls and offering a different perspective on the usual cold modern design.
An indoor fireplace gives it that warm, romantic feel no cottage would be complete without, while guests needn't worry about sacrificing on comfort - showers are piping hot (heated with natural gas).
Guests can also pat themselves on the back every time they run water - rather than draining away it goes directly onto the garden - which is why Jill provides eco-friendly guest soaps and toothpaste to ensure zero harmful impact.
Though most urbanites might be scared of dry, composting toilets, I'm here to attest that these are complely odourless and hygienic - they're indoors and decidely preferable to most other options you've probably encountered in your life.
It's surprising to discover that Little Cottage is only 40sqm - while the cottage showcases sustainable living it's also a demo for what can be done with low-cost (RDP) housing and a little bit of eco-consciousness.
It's also part of the McGregor Alternative Technology Centre - a larger project focused on promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle - sharing knowledge and resources on sustainable building practices, renewable energy, permaculture and holistic healing.
If guests are as lucky as we were, they might even be able to join a natural building workshop where local kids build a miniature cob house.
There's no shortage of things to do in the area - birdwatching or hiking the Krans Nature Reserve just out your back door, cycling and scenic drives, village tours, wine or olive tasting, and visiting a donkey sanctuary are just some of the activities on offer.
Owner Jill Hogan is always keen for a chat over a cuppa - sharing stories about her labour of love and living life with a little bit of country flair.
Alternatively, just take some time out, relax, and enjoy the tranquil and timeless surroundings.
Meet Jill Hogan and get more information on the McGregor Alternative Technology Centre, take a photographic tour of Jill's home, Cobbits Cottage and a miniature cob building workshop.
Little Cottage Quick Facts:
Acccommodation type: Self-catering 2-bed cottage
Where: Just outside McGregor
GPS Coordinates: S33°56'44" E19°49'27"
Sleeps: 5 (1 double, two single beds and a loft bed for an agile youngster)
Rates: R250pp nightly sharing; children under 12 half-price; R300 nightly for singles; stay 3 nights and get the 3rd night at 50% (applies year-round)
Secure Parking: Yes
Green in Africa Eco-rating: 5/5
Go to McGregor Alternative Technology Centre
Return from Little Cottage to Our Trip
Return from Little Cottage to Eco-friendly Africa Travel