With the option to escape monthly service fees and the possible impact on the environment, there are an increasing number of reasons to “off-the-grid” – a term coined to describe a household that does not receive public utility services from their city.
While its certainly easier to ‘escape’ than ever before, going off-the-grid still requires a lot of careful planning and resourcefulness, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
“Most alternative energy and water supplies require a certain type of climate in order to be effective. That is why finding the right location is paramount to successfully maintaining your self-sufficiency,” he said.
Choosing the right location is one of the most important parts of successfully making the transition into an entirely self-sufficient household. We applaud all who have made the eco-conscious decision to stick to an off-the-grid lifestyle.
Below are Goslett’s top four suggestions for the best places in South Africa to get off-the-grid.
Neighbouring on the Kruger National Park and situated at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg, Hoedspruit is a favourite of wilderness lovers.
Being so close to the largest national park in South Africa, Hoedspruit offers many small holding properties that are ideal for potential off-the-grid buyers.
The additional space allows them to install their own water tanks and alternative power generators, and the warm climate makes it the ideal spot for solar-generated electricity.
Riebeek Valley (Western Cape)
An hours drive from Cape Town, this area offers the perfect location for an off-the-grid home that is still within easy access of a bustling metropolis.
“Our underground water, which comes from the Kasteelberg Mountain, is pure and unpolluted, so many of our properties make use of their own borehole water supplies,” explains Anne Ketel, broker owner of RE/MAX Valley Properties.
The Cape’s warm conditions also make it easy for homeowners to make use of solar power.
Natal Midlands (Kwazulu-Natal)
This area is rich in water sources – rivers, lakes, dams and waterfalls flow in abundance here.
The climate is also suitable for self-created electricity sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
“The Midlands is a topographical area rich in natural resources, making it an attractive spot for off-the-grid property buyers,” says Chris Smallie, branch manager at RE/MAX Midlands Howick Branch.
Kuruman (Northern Cape)
This scenic area has a great underwater supply originating from the iconic Eye Fountain, and it is said that the sun shines 340 days of the year here – making it the ideal spot for solar electricity.
“We know of a lot of owners in the area who are trying to get their properties off the electrical grid. Sections of our town were not on the water supply grid, so most of these owners have their own boreholes and many have their own sewage systems too,” says Elretha van der Merwe, broker manager for RE/MAX Kalahari, Kuruman Branch.
She suggests that off-the-grid buyers look at river properties close to Douglas. There are about 40 plots available on a property here called Plaas Zandberg that present the perfect opportunity for sustainable living.