Home Forums Student Introductions Sending you guys some Green Love from South Africa!

This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Francesca 2 weeks, 3 days ago.

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    Francesca Compaan

    Hello all you fellow Green lovers! A quick meet and greet from my side: I am a 27 year old female living in SA and my dream is to Open a fully Sustainable Eco-Backpackers in the next 3 years, this has been my dream for as long as I can remember and I am so happy that I finally found this site! It is just the first step of many so I hope I will get to know some of you no matter where in the world you are!

    I absolutely love brainstorming new ideas so give me a shout if you have a passion for Nature and would like to discuss ideas and designs.



    Hi Francesca! I love backpacking and am wondering about your ideas. What would sustainable backpacking look like? Here (Colorado, US) the emphasis is on leaving no trace so that means bringing gas canisters for cooking.


    Francesca Compaan

    Hi Helen!

    Regarding energy for cooking I would really like to explore the option of Methane Gas that can be produced from animal and human waste. I would like to combine it with Solar and wind power and maybe experiment with a few new prototypes for generating power.

    I have a very helpful pdf that is being used for developing eco-villages in China, there are quite a few ideas on different models that can be used.

    The eco backpackers would be developed on a similar model as any other eco development but the big difference would come in regarding permanent residents as there would be quite a few less, being replaced instead by volunteers that are travelling through the country or any person who just needs a break from the rat race, this allows for a virtual flood gate of skill development that can be passed along between volunteers.

    https://nomadsworld.com/arts-factory/ here is a link to an amazing Backpackers in Australia with almost no permanent staff.

    South Africa currently has some amazing backpackers and I have travelled to quite a few of them over the last few years, it opens your eyes to see that there is always more than one way to do things!

    I would love to have greenhouses in conjunction with food forests for food production, a Telapia dam and Salmon dam and Chickens for Protein, we would also like to eventually produce our own cheeses and add a bakery in the final stages.

    The benefit of using the backpackers system is that it uses community living but still incorporate individual participation in everyday tasks leaving the afternoons mostly free to enjoy nature and be creative.

    Please give me some feedback as I feel like a mad scientist some days! hahaha

    There is so much to think of but this has been running through my head for years now!



    Did you also think about financial sustainability? This is what I am interested in, based on everything connected to permaculture and communities and nature. I just get started in this…



    Sorry, Francesca, my name is Christine and I live in NOrthern California, immigrated there from Austria.


    Francesca Compaan

    Hi Christine!

    I’m sure that with any project we get involved in we would like it to be financially sustainable in the end of the day, obviously in order to get it to that stage it will take a few years of blood, sweat and tears with little financial reward as we would have to build a lot of the accommodation and facilities from scratch unless we can get a piece of land that is already off the grid and partly self sustainable.

    Also you have to consider if you are buying the land cash or getting it financed, it can take a lot of pressure off the project if you don’t have big financial deadlines too meet in the end of every month because I would like to get a bunch of like minded people together that are there because it’s what they love to do.

    When running an eco-backpackers most of your money will be made off food and alcohol, just take into consideration that by now your food gardens and greenhouses should be fully operational and self-sustainable, having a little micro brewery could add a different dimension and pull too your community but marketing is what is going to make or break your Eco-backpackers in the first few years because in the end of the day it won’t matter if you have the most amazing place in the whole world if no one knows about it.

    I think the financial sustainability will also depend on what activities you have available. Will you be hosting an annual music festival? Will you be hosting Spiritual Retreats? What will be the big draw and how will you get the message out there?

    What group of people will you be catering for? I am a backpacker at heart, so I will definitely be targeting other backpackers. People are battling financially and a lot of people don’t have the extra cash lying around to go on luxurious holidays any more. People are looking for new and exciting options that won’t break the bank- please also remember that just because someone is saving money it doesn’t mean they don’t want comfort. So my goal is to find that balance.

    So in the end of the day are you doing it because you want to get rich or live off the earth? I want a balance between the two, even though I’m a total hippie peace freak in the end of the day a business needs to be run as a business (especially if other peoples livelihoods depends on this project), so the goal is to make it as self-sustainable as possible whilst bringing in enough money to cover any shortfalls without living month-to-month.

    All food produced that can not be used or stored will have to be sold, that is also why location will be such an important factor when planning the backpackers. It will be smart to maybe start a farmers market at the backpackers for the surrounding community because those will be the people that make or break your business, in low season can you get the locals through your doors?

    So I guess it will rely largely on your monthly overheads, the less overheads you have the easier it is to make it financially sustainable. So my goal would be to make those overheads as little as possible from the very start to take the pressure off in the long haul.

    Please let me know if you feel that I have missed what you were asking as English is only my second language and there is always room for error in my interpretations of subject matter.



    Hi Francesca

    What a great dream to have! I love SA and plan to be back for a month next March time – starting in Cape Town and road tripping up the Eastern Cape all the way to Timbavaati and Mpumalanga. Whereabouts are you?

    Hehe my name is also Francesca!


    Francesca Compaan

    Hello Francesca!

    I just love your name! I am living in KZN – Durban currently.

    Have you been to Hogsback yet? It is a few hours away from Port Elizabeth which you will pass on your travels. If you can stop at Hogsback then definitely do so! One of the most amazing places in South Africa!






    Not been there yet – stayed in Cape Town and went travelling to Kuruman to meet Credo Mutwa. Will take you up on your advice and visit Hogsback.

    I’d love to chat further about your eco-backpackers vision too.

    Cheers Francesca



    Welcome to the Online Permaculture course Francesca Compaan – we’re thrilled to have you join us!

    I want to check in to see how you’re progressing with the course and to inquire if you’re intending to pursue certification with us? Have you seen the other forums here? With tens of thousands of people now enrolled in the course, the forums are rapidly becoming a fantastic resource to ask questions and to meet other people studying permaculture (many likely in YOUR area!).

    CERTIFICATION LAUNCH DISCOUNT: While the online course continues to be 100% free, we are about to launch our online certification track which builds on the existing content, adding a design project + an examination and leading to the internationally-standard Permaculture Design Certification. I am not sure if you saw our e-mails, but if you order the certification by end of day tomorrow (Friday), it’s just $249 (regular rate will be $389). You can sign up for certification @ https://regenerative.com/certification

    As a sidenote, we’re about to film a bunch of new content, this time specifically for-video (rather than being film of in-person course). That content will get launched over the next few weeks.

    Would love to hear if you have any feedback about the course and whether you’re planning on signing up for certification with us! Cheers and again, welcome on-board!

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