Aquila's Eco Synergy Systems
Over 100 edible game trees are planted monthly. At any given time, several hundred trees are tended to and prepared for planting at ARC.
Temperature regulated, the greenhouses maximise the usage and production of ARC’s aquaponics system, fish growth, and fresh fruit & vegetables.
Duckweed is a free organic protein source, used as a low impact feed for ARC’s tilapia fish and chickens. Learn more about our low-impact feed systems.
Manufactured out of recycled shipping containers, the earthworm farm produces compost, bio teas, and organic fertilisers for soil rejuvenation.
Producing 6.5 tons of fish (tilapia & bass) per annum provides ARC with organic fertiliser, fresh fish and nutrient rich water for our greenhouses.
ARC has constructed a 44MW Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) solar plant to provide much-needed power to the Western Cape’s grid.
Aquila has been at the forefront of Cape Town’s sustainable tourism movement, offering local and international visitors a chance to contribute to the Veld Regeneration Project by planting trees in Africa. With a strong commitment to minimising our carbon footprint, we provide an unforgettable African Big 5 safari experience while addressing the need for eco-conscious tourism practices.
What is Veld Regeneration?
Veld Regeneration (Field Regeneration) is a vital environmental initiative aimed at restoring and revitalising South Africa’s natural ecosystems. Achieved by planting indigenous trees, restoring natural habitats, and promoting biodiversity, the goal of veld regeneration is to create a healthier and more resilient landscape, benefitting wildlife, local communities, and the environment as a whole.
Alien Vegetation Removal
Thousands of non-indigenous trees were felled to construct thatch roofs at Aquila Private Game Reserve and Spa. To replenish the land, 2000 indigenous trees were planted in the surrounding veld to increase its “carrying capacity.” Each month, approximately 100 edible trees, suitable for wild game, are planted. At any given time, several hundred trees and shrubs are tended to at ARC and prepared for planting. The process incorporates organic compost from Aquila’s restaurant, along with waste from horses, elephants, and earthworms, to naturally fertilise the new trees.
One remarkable plant, the “Spekboom,” is known for its ability to combat climate change and enhance air quality. It can absorb between 4 and 10 tonnes of carbon per hectare, functioning as a carbon sponge that effectively captures unwanted carbon. Each guest room at Aquila features a small Spekboom plant. As part of our ‘Habitat Restoration Initiative,’ we provide visitors with the unique opportunity to plant a tree in Africa, fostering a personal connection to our conservation efforts.
Aquaculture at ARC and Aquila sustains over 30,000 tilapia fish. Aquila’s sustainably-modified menu aims to include ARC’s projected annual yield of up to 6.5 tons of fresh fish. To meet the ZAR1.7 million worth of organic produce consumed, our eco synergy centre utilises an on-site aquaponics system, reducing our carbon footprint. To make the process sustainable, excess tilapia is supplied to the Food for Litter campaign. The fish are organically fed and, upon slaughter, 30% of their weight is used as feed for Aquila’s Biogas plant. The fish water also serves as organic fertiliser for the greenhouses and tunnel crops.
What is Aquaponics and Aquaculture?
Aquaponics is an innovative and sustainable farming method that combines aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (growing plants without soil). The fish waste, rich in nutrients, is broken down by beneficial bacteria into nitrates and nitrites. These nutrient-rich water byproducts are pumped into hydroponic growing beds, where plants cultivated. The plants absorb the nutrients from the water, naturally filtering and purifying it for the fish. This symbiotic relationship creates a closed-loop system, promoting organic growth and reducing water waste.
In order to provide a sustainable and eco-friendly source of protein for ARC’s tilapia fish and chickens, 50 controlled containers are dedicated to cultivating duckweed. This aquatic plant serves as free organic feed, reducing the environmental impact of traditional protein sources. However, being non-indigenous, uncontrollable, and invasive to South Africa, the Duckweed at ARC has been responsibly harvested from local dams in a conservation effort. By containing its growth in a controlled environment (containers), the spread of duckweed is effectively managed, preventing any negative effects on the surrounding reserve.
In addition to the Eco-Synergy Centre, Aquila has entered into a R3 billion partnership with a leading international renewable energy company. Together, we have constructed a 44MW Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) solar plant on Aquila’s land to provide much-needed power to the Western Cape’s grid amidst the ongoing energy crisis and nationwide load shedding.
A second 120KW CPV solar plant has been established at ARC, featuring 12 large CPV panels. This facility generates on-site renewable energy, which is utilised by both Aquila and ARC, effectively reducing our collective carbon footprint.
Biogas, derived from fish waste, elephant dung, horse manure, and food leftovers at from the game reserve, offers sustainable heat and energy at Aquila. Transitioning from electricity and purchased gas to full biogas production will significantly lower our carbon footprint. The kitchen now operates with an innovative biogas system, preparing 12,000 meals for the soup kitchen.
What is Biogas?
Biogas is a renewable energy source produced from organic waste materials. Through a process called anaerobic digestion, microorganisms break down these waste materials, releasing a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide gases. This biogas can be collected and utilised as a clean, low-impact fuel for cooking, heating, and generating electricity, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional fossil fuels
Our goal is to create a sustainable, low-impact, on-site source of chickens and eggs for Aquila’s restaurant and community soup kitchens. Chicken manure may also be used as a nutrient supply for duckweed, fostering another organic resource for ARC’s Eco Synergy Centre.
ARC’s Food for Litter campaign exchanges ‘litter’ for soup kitchen meals, benefiting 400 children daily throughout the winter months.
What is Waste Management?
Waste Management refers to the systematic collection, transportation, processing, and disposal of waste materials. It involves various methods like recycling, composting, landfilling, and waste-to-energy processes to minimise environmental impacts and promote sustainable practices. Effective waste management aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, conserve resources, and protect public health by managing waste in an organised and responsible manner.
Recycling plays a crucial role in waste management. Reusing materials helps conserve energy and reduces the demand for raw materials. Waste collected at ARC is recycled and sold where possible. Proceeds are donated to a local school in order to fund much needed school teachers and classroom supplies.