I’m an Impact/social entrepreneur with a passion for food and travel, and have stayed in Air BnBs all around the world.
I love the outdoors, hiking and exploring the local Western Cape and feel incredibly lucky to be able to live in this amazing natural setting, yet still be so close to all the amenities and interests in Cape Town.
Having lived away from Cape Town for about 20 years, I try to treat living in Cape Town like a permanent traveller and explore all the city has to offer.
Besides managing the cabins in Hout Bay, I own a consultancy focused on BEE, economic development and social enterprise, as well as an organisation addressing the root causes of youth unemployment in South Africa.
I work from home and live on this property with my soon-to-be-wife, our 3 extroverted and excitable dogs, our substantially less extroverted cat and our two chickens.
I’m an ex-farmer-turned entrepreneur and still breed Manso Brahmans in the calm and fertile fields of the Freestate.
Growing up on a farm in Mpumalanga shaped me into a person who finds herself at home wherever nature begins!
I love to cook and experiment with meat dishes cooked over wood fires – called a braai – and recently started @vleisbos to share my creations. I love to host small groups of people, sharing boerekos (Afrikaans for farm food) with a touch of modern and a lot of wine, in our beautiful setting. Cooking for people who enjoy food, good wine and music makes ‘hospitality’ one of my favourite words.
I am an extreme animal lover, and my favourite place on earth is wherever our little family find themselves to be happy and content
Unique Bunch of Animals
A kind hearted prince charming called Biscuit, always friendly and who wins over even the staunchest of dog skeptics.
The adorable, inquisitive and energetic Raphael, otherwise known as Raffa-Hell.
The adorable caricature-like Bostie Katrien who likes to bark, jump like a springbok and nip at ankles if she feels insecure or overexcited.
The cat, known simply as Kattie, or The Lesser Spotted Grey Tailed Mouse Catcher, who refuses to be evicted from her spot in the Mezannine, even for Sentinel guests (if you don’t like cats, please don’t book the Sentinel without checking to see if we can make an alternative arrangement for her, which we will consider on a case by case basis)
Esmeralda provides us with daily free range eggs and endless entertainment, and loves to visit guests, especially ones with food.
You’re probably better off booking elsewhere if you’re not an animal fan
We are also on the mountain next to a nature reserve and you may encounter frogs, field mice, birds, bugs and occasionally, a few less pleasant critters
When I (Alana) bought a piece of land in Hout Bay, I dreamed of a natural cabin nestled into a mountain-side of fynbos, with views of mountains and sea, and pathways through the natural vegetation to a natural pool, as if on a hike in the country side
My brief to the architect was to create a piece of art on the hillside, using stone, glass, steel and wood, with a loft and using the smallest functional footprint possible
My brief to the designer of the outdoor spaces was to create a piece of mountain-side with a natural pool, rockery and fynbos, plus a food garden – with not a blade of grass permitted
We kept the driveway and parking area as small as possible, not even allowing a turning circle, so that the garden spaces could be maximised. Garages will be relics in the future.
Initially, I had intended to rent out the main house, where we live, only over Christmas holidays, when we are usually travelling. But we have had so much interest in the main house that we sometimes stay in one of the pods, and regularly turn away bookings, which are not always convenient.
The idea to build two tiny houses – the pods – took time to develop, and was also borne out of the cost of building bigger coupled with wanting as much outdoor space as possible. The concept of reclaiming the “lost” space above the water reservoir started as an additional decking and chill area by Carrie, and morphed into a more practical idea of building a work-from-space after I met Melissa, that could double up as additional accommodation. It has, however, been the most popular cabin on the property, so much so that it is now permanently accommodation, and often appeals to people wanting to “work-away-from-home”.
We are now going down a level by building a basement to get more utility space for what has become a busy business.
I always wanted to have three buildings on the property, and to rent some of them to holiday guests. I am so privileged to have been able to develop this property, when so many people in South Africa don’t even have houses, that I wanted to ensure the property was shared with others and also not sitting vacant like with so many “swallow owners”. Since I have an income from my other businesses, I enjoy using proceeds from this property to help others, like building our housekeeper’s own brick house in Hangberg, funding small businesses and helping people with their tertiary studies. Guests who care about poverty and inequality issues in South Africa can know they are also contributing positively to the community when they stay with us.”
- Inspired by the natural mountain rock pools of the Western Cape, our chemical free and extremely pure swimming water is achieved by passing water through a naturally planted wetland filtration system. This provides not only a beautiful and healthy swimming experience, but a sanctuary and habitat for a diverse array of wildlife from frogs to dragonflies.
- Beneath our Reservoir pod sits a large reservoir which is filled by rain water harvested from the main dwelling’s roof. This water recharges the eco-pool and nurtures the vegetable boxes through our hot and dry summer months. The garden is planted with only species occurring on our coastal dune landscape, these plants are all naturally adapted to our local rainfall patterns and free draining soils. We have paid particular attention to mulching our soil so that any rainfall that falls on the property is held in the ground and not lost to evaporation.
Giving Back to Reforestation:
- Once a year we host a reforestation fundraiser that enables 400 trees to be planted into the southern most forest in Africa, the Platbos Forest Reserve. Our fundraiser also aims to provide information and education around sustainable urban/ suburban design and takes the form of a property tour guided by our Architect, Garden Designer, Eco-Pool Specialist and other professionals involved the property’s creation.
- We are very proud to have transformed a once denuded, barren piece of land that had been invaded by alien vegetation into the thriving ecosystem it is today. We believe that biodiversity starts in the soil and have paid particular attention to regenerating our inert, sandy soil by introducing a diversity of microbial life to the soil. Invasive wattle species have been replaced with a broad palette locally indigenous coastal dune species that attract birds and insects to the garden while our eco pool sustains an array of wetland fauna and flora.
In the long term we would love to have a farm in the Overberg, where we are able to combine our love for hospitality, mountains, fynbos and the land with offgrid and sustainable living, ecotourism and the tiny house movement – all of which we believe is going to be a new trend post COVID lockdowns.