The Animal Rescue Centre (ARC) is home to a state-of-the-art greenhouse complex that plays a vital role in the reserve’s sustainability and waste management initiatives. These eco-friendly structures not only provide a year-round supply of fresh produce for the reserve’s restaurants, but also serve as an educational facility and community centre, demonstrating the potential of sustainable practices to protect the environment and promote resource conservation in the heart of the Karoo.
The greenhouses at Aquila Private Game Reserve & Spa are powered completely off-the-grid, harnessing solar energy from the sun. Upcycled soda cans, tinned food cans, reclaimed wood, and recycled cardboard have been ingeniously transformed into solar heaters. These eco-friendly devices efficiently capture and transfer the sun’s warmth, ensuring the aquaculture and greenhouse systems maintain an ideal fish breeding temperature of 26 degrees Celsius throughout the year.
The greenhouses are designed to minimise their environmental impact while maximising their productivity. They utilise natural light and ventilation to reduce energy consumption, and they employ drip irrigation systems (connected to the centre’s intricate aquaponics system) to conserve water and recycle nutrients. To complete this sustainable cycle, organic produce and seasonal harvests are used within the reserve’s kitchens and culinary offerings. From salads to desserts, guests can enjoy fresh delights from our greenhouses.
The ARC eco-farming practices exemplify Aquila Private Game Reserve’s holistic approach to conservation. By integrating sustainable practices into its operations, the reserve demonstrates that conservation and environmental stewardship are not just about protecting wildlife but also about promoting sustainable living practices that benefit both the environment and the local communities that depend on it.
The implementation of self-sustainable sources of fresh produce extends far beyond the plate at Aquila Private Game Reserve. The reserve’s Animal Rescue Centre (ARC), safari lodge, and kitchens depend on a consistent supply of organic and nutritious ingredients. By supplementing the reserve’s supply of fresh produce from its on-site farms, Aquila is able to achieve several key sustainability goals:
By growing its own food, Aquila significantly reduces its carbon footprint associated with transporting produce from Cape Town via trucks. This not only lowers greenhouse gas emissions but also helps combat climate change.
Aquila’s on-site farms employ organic pest control methods, ensuring that the produce grown is free from harmful chemicals. This not only benefits the environment but also promotes the health of the reserve’s animals and the wider ecosystem.
By embracing sustainable agricultural practices, Aquila sets an example for other farms and businesses in the region. This helps to promote a more harmonious relationship between human activities and the natural environment.
Yes, you can absolutely visit the greenhouses! ARC’s greenhouses are not only a source of organic produce for the reserve’s kitchens, but also serve as an educational hub for visitors and safari guests. Guided tours of the greenhouses and Eco-Synergy Centre provide insight into some of the many sustainable practices employed in Aquila’s operations, highlighting the importance of conservation, eco-tourism, and environmental preservation.
The produce farmed at Aquila Private Game Reserve & Spa forms a vital component of the reserve’s sustainability practices and waste management programme, so it is not available for the public to purchase. However, guests at the reserve can still enjoy the fruits of ARC’s on-site farming systems, as the greenhouses supply Aquila’s Kitchens and restaurants with fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and garnishes throughout the year.
While not available for the public to purchase, excess produce from Aquila’s greenhouses go towards ARC’s ‘Food for Litter’ campaign, which aims at feeding and supporting local schools in need with nutritious meals and warm soups, especially during the winter months.