Honeyville – a sustainable community in a bio diverse landscape

Honeyville Nature Reserve and Ecovillage is an off grid, low impact property and sustainable agriculture development in the Eastern Cape. Honeyville is one hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth, and 25 min from the coast between St Francis Bay and internationally known surf-hotspot Jeffery’s Bay.

It is situated inland from Humansdorp on the road to the magnificent Baviaans Kloof Mega Reserve and World Heritage Site, within which seven of South Africa’s eight biomes are represented – Fynbos, Forest, Grassland, Succulent Karoo, Nama-Karoo, Subtropical Thicket and Savanna. Honeyville comprises approximately 800 Hectares of regenerating Fynbos vegetation and Subtropical Riverine thicket, and includes one of the last remnants of the threatened grassy fynbos. Forty Hectares of the land was previously used for agriculture is arable and is suitable for food gardens and permaculture development. The land has two flowing perennial rivers, good soils and an all year rainfall.

There are two primary zones in Honeyville, a nature conservation zone and a development node zone. Within the development node, which includes a limited number of sites for dwellings, a sustainable organic and permaculture enterprise is being created, with key-line dams, swales and food agro-forests. The Nature Reserve is managed under a joint Biodiversity Stewardship agreement with the Eastern Cape Parks Board’s Biodiversity Stewardship Programme. All dwelling sites are being sold on a freehold basis and each purchaser will obtain a separate Title Deed. For those looking to ‘get away from it all’, to lower and minimize their ecological footprint and become part of a 21st-century sustainable living enterprise, Honeyville is offering the opportunity to do so.


Jumping off the edge into the arms of off grid living – volunteering

Check out the link below for blogging broadcast from volunteer couple Gonda and Dyl who are joining us this week for three months. 

We started the volunteer action less than two months ago and our first two volunteers Jaco and Neil have been with us for five weeks now. It has been so wonderful to have young energy and share daily activity and chores at Honeyville. New planting beds have  been built, prepping established beds in the kraal garden for new seedlings, rescuing (from the local dump) and planting eleven ficus trees. A lot of digging guys. The holes were huge! 

The roof is on the extra dorm however this is a stop and start project as certain materials are required to be bought and we are dependent on cash flow. 

We were very fortunate to have Pierre join us for two weeks to volunteer his tools and time so the kitchen and sunset lounge roof and one wall was erected from up cycled glass doors. It’s evolving!

Volunteers with carpentry skills are definitely big on the wish list at the moment. 

Woofers and Volunteers

Honeyville volunteer programme expectations

We welcome volunteers who have a similar ethos or i
nterest in sustainable off grid living, nutrition and water security. We follow a guideline of permaculture principles and we expect volunteers to work within this framework. We are learning as we go along and want to share with you as well as learn from you. 
We all have different skills and that is why we need each other. Together we will make a change and we are ready to deepen the Honeyville vision and get her projects off the ground. The Honeyville eco village zoning is unique and the first in the country as it is a Nature reserve with ‘special rights’ for organic permaculture farming practice for sustainability and approved subdivisions for those who want to invest in this lifestyle. 
Come join us and be a part of a new future. 
We offer very basic accommodation in a wonderful setting and an opportunity to experience being a part of the Honeyville projects foundation phase in exchange for your time and skills. 

You must be financially independent and responsible for your own wellbeing. We will provide access to a library of knowledge, our own time and experience.

 You will be expected to work with us when called for and without facilitation once your chores are outlined. You are expected to be interested, energetic and motivated. A minimum of 4 hours a day is expected and more if you wish.

Honeyville Volunteer protocol and projects

Take responsibility for your belongings

Keep your bed and area tidy at all times

Be on time for daily chores and complete tasks set for that day

Cooking will be shared amongst volunteers. Food can be bought together or as discussed amongst you. 

Kitchen, ablution, sleeping dorm and lounge area to be kept clean by use of a rotational roster. Cleaning supplies will be provided.

Organic toiletries and washing powder and soap to be used. If you need please ask as I can supply.

Any disputes to be discussed openly amongst volunteers and diplomatically resolved

We encourage conscious healthy eating as in plant based or vegetarian. 

Organic hormone free available at butcher in Humansdorp if meat is part of your diet. We do not have a freezer.

Current projects

Cultivating zone 1: Food garden 

weeding, bed prepping, path clearing, irrigation, direct seed planting, harvesting, 

Establishing Zone 2: food forest, Keyline dams and Swales 

Trellise building 

Plant propagation

Nursery management 

Seedling management 

Fence and stone wall repair

Complete build of additional sleeping quarters

Repair of broken windows and woodwork in lounge area

Cleaning planning and prepping of off offgrid kitchen build

Chicken tractor build and programme


Worm farm management

Green manure tea 

Natural fertilizers and pest control 

Tree planting fruit and nut and indigenous trees

Weekly tree irrigation 

Fire wood chopping

Clearing river of alien tree seedlings and bramble

Clearing walking paths

Making mountain paths for hiking

Erecting of Teepees 

Cutting and cleaning of bamboo poles

General maintenance of property and buildings, lime wash, window repair 

Sleeping arrangements

The Thatch Dorm currently sleeps four until we have bunk beds then will sleep 6. We are busy building more sleeping quarters which will will sleep another 6 to 8. 

We have an ablution with two toilets and two showers.

Clothing and 
Winter and Summer : 

sun hat/peak

Slip on sandals

vests and long sleeve tops

Swimming costume

Warm jacket and jersey

rain jacket, gumboots

Bedding sleeping bag/ duvet, pillow and blanket

A pair of working gloves for gardening and a pair for handling heavier work.

Toiletries must be organic 

Hand washing powder or soap must be Biodegradable 

Washing machine at main house for once a week clothes and bed linen will be done by me. 

Bring your Bicycle and surfboard if you’re a surfer. Jbay and st Francis are only 25 min away.
The following are questions posed by volunteers

Honeyville Volunteer Questions and Answers

1. Is there steady cellphone & internet reception there? We are keen vloggers (video bloggers, just starting out) and also making a small income from our freelance social media services so will need to be able to access the internet(of course in our free time). We have our own wifi router however any tips on which service provider gets the best signal would be helpful to us.

  • Cellphone reception is sporadic and we don’t rely on it at our home however there are some reliable points of reception on the land. Sometimes folk have messages come in whilst walking about. MTN seems best for areas that are difficult and then Vodacom reception is strong on the fields. 
  • We do have internet at the main house for our personal use and at our Airbnb cottage serviced by Igen. We will be getting a wifi spot setup for volunteer access but this will be when it is deemed necessary and will be at a fee. 

2. We are both Vegan and enjoy a 100% plant based diet, we would very much like to know what kind of harvests we can expect from the communal garden from day 1. We have been stockpiling many of our dried staples and we are happy to provide food for ourselves but we are hoping for some semi regular fruit and/or veg from the garden. 

  • Regular vegetable harvesting from the garden is all about bed prepping, planting and irrigating so fresh produce will depend entirely on volunteer input. As we are only two here right now. There is always spinach and spring onion available. Currently we are harvesting a second run of potatoes , kale and onions. 
  • A lack of human presence in the garden has meant we continue to lose our carrots and butternut, bananas to the monkeys and all our gooseberries (lots) and tomatoes to the mouse birds as well as our bean trellises being freely harvested. The permaculture garden is also evolving and there is some self propagation so we have surprises.
  • To grow food in a way as to manage a kitchen requires constant management which we is why we need you and others here. All the nut trees are infants and our peaches get eaten by the birds and monkeys. Our Tree tomato “tomatillo tree” is huge so we manage to share those with the monkeys. And our granadillas and guavadillas , bananas are abundant when fruiting. There is a very active lime tree.  Lots of elderberry flowers….good to make elderflower champagne. Really easy to make.
  • To avoid the veges and fruit being eaten by birds and monkeys, human presence is needed and certain areas need to be netted. 
  • We will continue to plant out winter veg as required by our numbers of volunteers

3. We do have a vehicle, how are the roads and is there any small shop closer than Humansdorp?

  • We are fifteen minutes from Humansdorp, the closest shop . Only 7km (R322) off the R330 is gravel. Sections of this rd can get quite corrugated at times and then it is regraded.

4. We are both hand rolled tobacco smokers – we hope you are okay with this.

  • We don’t smoke at all but ok if you do. Just don’t smoke in the buildings. If you partake in weed or alcohol we don’t want it to influence your responsibilities and prefer you to do it in your private time off the premises.

5. ​I would like to bring my portable massage bed which I use for Reiki & Crystal healing. How do you feel about this?

  • By all means do so. Will be wonderful!

6. What is your main source of water & do you harvest rainwater for the garden?

  • We have a solar pump that pumps water from an aqua fera and then is gravity fed to all the buildings and the gardens. We have enough water provided we don’t exceed daily rations for household use and irrigation due to tank holding capacity. We have too few rainwater tanks at this stage due to finance. We have two converging perennial rivers. 

7. Is there a dam or swimming pond?

  • There is a swimming pond which we swim in which is full of water lilies. We keep the middle lane clear for swimming.

8. What is the main source of power and how do we access it in the dorm?

  • We are 100 percent offgrid and have no Eskom lines. Our house is solar powered John is fitting a solar system to the volunteer lounge space. Currently the dorm space is offgrid and has the use of a portable solar powered battery charged daily in the sun. It has two USB ports for charging phones and serves as a source of adequate light for the evenings . The solar system set up in the lounge space will have plug points. 

8. What cooking facilities will be available to us and is there any form of cold storage or refrigeration?

  • Currently we provide gas bottle and stove plates and gas fridge. 
  • With the help of volunteers we will be building an offgrid wood fired kitchen including bread/pizza oven, rocket stoves and outside drip cooling cold storage facility. 
  • When the solar system is up a juicer will be provided for juicing.
  • We have 2 solar ovens and a hotbox

This is for real! It’s official! What’s on offer?

To all investors who have bought into Honeyville and to those who have been waiting for this day to arrive to invest in the Honeyville vision can now do so without reservation. The Honeyville projects land zoning with special rights have been certificated by the local municipality which means that transfers of Title deeds can now take place without further delay. The building of private homes and investment in communal based projects can begin.
Let’s make this happen. We are here and we are ready for your participation in the first crucial steps and growth of the Honeyville village on this unique platform. What we need is an active group of foundation members who will make creative decisions together. We have created a plan and fulfilled all legislative requirements to give us all an opprtunity to make a change, develop a different more sustainable way of living, for those who choose an alternative. 

All details of the development can be read in depth in the development plan. But simply put The Honeyville model plan depicts that of the 800 hectares of land, 700 hectares of virgin land is in protected Nature Reserve status, 100 hectares is reserved for living and for sustainable farming practice based on Permaculture principles. We have 2 perennial streams, the Diep Rivier and the Palmiet Rivier that flow into 2 marine reserves, the Kabeljou and the Seekoei. We have a solar pump borehole (aquifer) which pumps water to holding tanks which gravity feed to all the existing buildings. 

We have a number of existing buildings on erfs which are for sale in the original farm hub as well as properties on virgin land both in and out of the protected reserve area. 

The Title Deed holders will form the village foundation group. 

Village members can form a collective farming cooperative and create a joined venture

There will be Opportunity for self driven privately owned enterprises wherein one could hire land from the Honeyville Foundation; proceeds going back into necessary infrastructure such as building of  Keyline dams, Swales and planting of food forests. Game fencing the entire farm would enable The reserve to receive endemic game from eastern cape Parks Board as stated in the stewardship agreement. The prodigy to be shared annually. 

There is currently a communal food garden in which all members can participate in time or a levy to enjoy the harvest of organic produce.

Honeyville has special rights in place for sustainable farming , building of yoga centre, an education centre with a focus on Agri conservation, permaculture and natural building practice.

Woofer activation programme 2018

News Flash! Young blood!   Astrologically this year 2018 is about creativity

We are all for creativity. As in create – Honeyville is ready to re activate the Woofer programme so that we can have many hands making light work, putting young passionate energy local and international into the earth, taking care of the food garden, seedlings, harvesting and packaging of seed, compost building, mulching, general nursery and hot house care, planting of trees, building of rocket oven and complete complete building of unfinished woofer kitchen. Evolve the communal living area inside and out. Stone wall repair and building, building of additional Woofer dorm on already prepared platform. Creating hiking trails, fire break management, clearing of alien bush, collecting firewood, chopping wood. 

If you want to step out of the city, you don’t know what to do for the next few months or the rest of this year.

Feeling confused! Or you just feel that some time spent productively in nature will benefit your wellbeing 

 We can offer you a shelter, water, any food you grow out of the garden, inspiration, guidance, direction, knowledge on all the above.

IF you have loads of passion, are committed to change on the planet and in your heart, you want to be one with nature then this is the experience for you.

 If you have skills in anything listed that would be a bonus. 
If you are interested please email us Or SHARE! Thank you! and see you SOON!
What you need is a sleeping bag, pillow, blanket and a food allowance. Meals will be communal and prepared by woofers.

Finally we have the Green light!

Today is a day of celebration! 20-11-2017 Official date of approval on letter received today 15-11-2017 (9)

Honeyville is officially ACTIVE! I want to cry, laugh, dance, collapse from exhaustion. The holding of the Honeyville dream has been the biggest challenge yet, a pregnancy with a forever extended long overdue date. 

The approval of the Honeyville project by the Department of Environment two years ago after five years of application process was held back by the need for a letter from the Department of Agriculture that we have received today. 
This is A HUGE feat and NEW zoning for us, for you, for the country. 
Transfers can now take place, activation of interested projects on the land. We welcome interested parties, devotees, investors, the like to join us on this journey!

Thank you to those who believed and thank you to those of you who have experienced the struggle with us.