Mindful life, harmonious life…
Self sufficiency hardly begins to describe what Huy and Betty have created on their small piece heaven on a mountain top overlooking the Mushroom Rock and St Fort basin. In these days of droughts, water crises, load shedding and shaky infrastructure, who hasn’t wanted to go off grid? For this Vietnamese French couple it seems more like a natural development of their lives than a reaction to the tenuous nature of life in South Africa.
Having moved to Clarens at the end of 2013 they set about finding the perfect piece of land to build their permaculture garden and off-grid life. Harnessing the ways of nature they have an essential oil still, drinkable swimming pool and pond, and a greenhouse full of fresh produce all year round.
The entire place is powered by a roof of solar panels connected to a bank of deep cycle batteries. All their water comes from a natural spring, pumped up to reservoir by solar power, and I can testify that it is some of the sweetest water you’ll ever taste. There is no shortage of power, and the rooms have hair-dryers, fridges and all mod cons, but guests are reminded to be mindful of their consumption.
Their permaculture principals extend to the smallest micro-organisms with Kombucha tea and a meditation building celebrating the minimalist dedication to Tai Chi and contemplation.