Magalies Park Resort – Leading By Example

Nestled at the foothills of the majestic Magaliesberg Mountains and alongside the Magalies River in the North West Province is the Magalies Park Resort – a proclaimed bird sanctuary due to the extensive marshland areas that provide abundant space for birds and wildlife to thrive in their natural habitat.

Initially a humble dairy farm in 1920, the property underwent a visionary transformation into a timeshare resort in 1986. Since its establishment, Magalies Park has been actively involved in environmental initiatives. Being the proud host to over two hundred bird species, is testament to the Resort’s commitment to preserving biodiversity.

Initially, the resort began with a few initiatives aimed at directly benefiting the environment while also saving costs and raising awareness among guests. Today, there is a long list of eco-sensitive projects that form a visible part of the daily resort operations. This gives owners and guests an opportunity to see how simple and feasible it is to incorporate sustainability into their own daily routines when they return home.

A  MEANINGFUL IMPACT

Magalies Park has 1,160 bed nights and being timeshare, it maintains consistently high occupancies throughout the year. So, given the substantial number of daily guests plus two hundred staff, the Resort has the opportunity to make a meaningful impact. By introducing training on sustainable tourism practices, staff are able to talk to owners and guests about the resort’s environmental programme. This knowledge is also a valuable resource to pass onto their own children and to the local communities in which they reside.

AWARD WINNING INNOVATIVE PROJECTS

For their ‘thinking outside the box’ approach to full-scale sustainable operational systems, Magalies Park has been the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the RCI and the Lilizela Tourism Awards for Green Initiatives. These innovative projects include a water management, energy management and waste management programme as well as other environmental initiatives for fish, birds, game, bats, bees and owls amongst others.

Water, Energy and Waste Management

One of the first projects was the onsite recycling plant which sorts the plastic and paper, and the wet waste is collected by a local pig farmer. The restaurant’s leftovers go to a worm farm, which yields excellent liquid fertiliser for the seed cultivation in the nursery. There’s also a herb garden to supply fresh produce to the restaurant.

To enhance energy efficiency, all traditional geysers have been replaced with energy-saving heat pumps, resulting in a substantial reduction in electricity costs and demand. All lights are LED or energy saving and the irrigation timers are set to start outside the peak consumption periods. When the units are unoccupied, the housekeepers switch off the geysers and exterior entrance lights.

An onsite water treatment plant purifies borehole water from the nearby Magalies River, to supply the resort and the nearby community with fresh drinking water.

A seven kilometre sewer pipe system and three sewer plants manage the resort’s waste water. Clean ‘grey’ water is then pumped into a holding dam and used to irrigate the 18-hole golf course and other parts of the resort. To reduce water usage, drought-resistant grass is planted.

A tree management programme removes the alien trees listed on the invasive alien plant list and used for firewood. It used to be a costly exercise to provide guests with a complimentary bag of wood and now the resort provides this gesture without spending a cent.

Nature Conservation

Roaming game such as Wildebeest, Blesbok, Nyalas, Impala and Bushbuck are very much part of the resort family. The arrival of new baby buck always sparks excitement at the resort, where they are nurtured until they are sold to local wildlife breeders. Also part of the family are over eighty feral cats, which hunt mice and rats in the nearby bush. These much-loved cats, the oldest being around sixteen years, have all been sterilised. The shop sells soft cat food so that the guests can spoil them with treats during their stay.

To keep the dams healthy and sustainable, the variety of fish species are redistributed when the dams become over-populated. This fish management programme is overseen by a retired professor who lives near the resort.

The idea of erecting a ‘Bat Hotel’ to attract bats away from the chalets, proved very successful. Similarly, an Owl house is home to a pair of owls who help control rodents on the resort. To lure bees away from the restaurant, a local bee keeper established ten hives in a secluded part of the resort. The hives help with pollination and guests can buy freshly bottled honey from the on-site shop.

COMMUNITY UPLIFTMENT

The Resort’s high occupancy provides a steady stream of owners and guests to the nearby Hartbeespoort area, which is a renowned tourist attraction for African craft markets. By integrating the  the local arts and crafts into its interior design, Magalies Park genuinely embraces its surroundings to provide an authentic destination experience.

Local tourist attractions are also promoted on the Resort’s website and Facebook as well as in the entertainment brochure and on the information board in the reception area. Staff are kept up to date with the local tourist hub so that they can encourage owners and guests to visit the attractions, taste the local cuisine and support the local artists and retail outlets.

Magalies Park also has a ‘use the locals first’ policy when purchasing supplies and stock and as well as for any contracted work. Only when a local supplier cannot assist, does the Resort source vendors outside of the community.

LOOKING AHEAD

Magalies Park is looking to the future with a continued strong commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility as central pillars of their operations. It is their belief that every eco-conscious choice, no matter how small, shapes a brighter future for all.

 

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