In 2021, some camps are organising camp experiences for you to participate in. We are hopeful that they will be able to go ahead. Camps will follow the local conditions closely, and may have to cancel activities if the local COVID-19 situation forces them to do so. If you have already signed up for a camp-activity you will be informed when this happens. We will update the website also, when such decisions are taken. Please check your own local authority travel advisory to see if you can travel to or return from the camp after the activity. At all times, when at camps, please observe it’s COVID-19 policy (such as wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, etc). 

CAMP TLHOLEGO ECOVILLAGE
Rustenburg, South Africa

“Our journey has followed a calling from this land. The land chose us.”

The Rural Educational Development Corporation (Rucore) was founded in 1991 as a non-profit organisation with a mission of promoting holistic approaches to community development and education in post-apartheid South Africa. At this time, of great importance for Rucore, was a growing awareness of the increasing probability that within the coming decades, human society would face serious breakdowns in its economic, social and ecological systems.

Rucore’s founders believed in the importance of establishing ‘centres of learning’ where local innovation could focus on overcoming historic inequalities and where a more inclusive development could be put into practice. Their aim was to connect our land and people with local livelihoods and environmental health, in a way that is learned, lived and replicated widely.

 It is from here that the Tlholego Ecovillage and Learning Centre began its life on an neglected 150 Ha cattle farm near the town of Rustenburg (Northwest Province, South Africa), nestled on the western slopes of the ancient Magaliesberg Mountains. Tlholego is a Setswana word meaning ‘creation with nature’- fitting well with our overall mission to restore our ecosystems, create local livelihoods and learn from the gifts of nature.

 Over the past twenty years, Tlholego has supported itself through hosting training programs, workshops and events, as well as fundraising for specific projects. The development of community businesses in livestock and organic value added products has developed over the past decade.

 More recently, interest in our work has been growing. People are learning of the many practical solutions available that meet everyday challenges from restoring damaged land, water harvesting and growing food in healthy soil, to housing, sanitation and the Ubuntu skills of working together successfully towards a common good.

The Tlholego Ecovillage Camp has been created to introduce activities that stimulate a culture of reconnecting with our earth and spiritual heritage. Building on these relationships is our way of returning home to a more natural experience of being alive. 

 

 

 

Who is needed

The camp needs volunteers who are skilled in permaculture, monitoring and evaluation, ecosystem planning, and administration. Camp Tlholego also welcomes camp managers, construction workers, and rural livelihood teachers. 

Camper Opportunities

Come and exchange your talents at Tlholego and immerse yourself in our activities around restoring health to land and community. Learn how to engage with every drop of water and every inch of soil.

We work on restoring our damaged lands focussing on rainwater harvesting, revegetation and holistic livestock management. Examples of activities include herding Nguni cattle, re-seeding grasses, building swales and gabions and working around the village homesteads. New activities are continually emerging. Teamwork is more than fun, so come and join us.

Vision and Socio-economic context

Tlholego Ecovillage Camp is a place where learning how to restore degraded land goes hand in hand with exploring new ways of living together. It is a place where past wounds from inherent social, environmental and racial injustices are seen, held, and healed together, and this process is considered key in the development of a regenerative culture. The camp exists to integrate African wisdom and indigenous knowledge with the restoration of the land, community and livelihoods.

Tlholego aims to provide campers with opportunities to remember their own deep connection with land as they take part in the restoration of this region. New skills for how to restore degraded lands are learned through praxis. Campers will take home with them crucial knowledge and experience to continue and expand this work with the world around them. In doing so, this allows our global community to embrace more of their potential, reconnect to their cultures, ancestry, spirituality and our beautiful Gaia – participating in activities to bring ourselves back to health, and in turn finding deeper meaning, purpose, and joy within themselves.

What to expect at Camp Tlholego Ecovillage

Tlholego land is nestled on a 150 Ha site, a combination of bushveld and savanna grassland with riverine forest walks as well as a learning journey through the cultivated organic food and herb gardens. Campers will enjoy a combination of nutritious, locally sourced meals. Meals are often shared around the fireplace where we experience cultural sharing, socialising, and some well-deserved relaxation time.

Tlholego is located on the western slopes of the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve and a half hours drive from the Pilanesberg big 5 wildlife area, Molokwane Iron Age City, and the Cradle of Humankind , and well as many other cultural, educational and tourism experiences.

 We recommend a minimum stay of 2 weeks to receive a meaningful and holistic experience of the Eco restoration program. Costs differ depending on length of stay and contribution to overall goals of Tlholego.

Upcoming independent events, workshops and experiences:

Seedling camp

Facilities

Camping (basic)-bring your own tent   
Camping-advanced/covered accommodation
Cell phone/mobile signal 
Wifi                           

Learning centre

Restoration Activities

Water retention
Tree planting 
Composting
Soil restoration
Regenerative Entrepreneurialism
Food planting
Community building
Erosion prevention 
Natural building
Fire prevention
Restoration of livelihoods
Agroforestry

                                                                                   

Latest News from the Camp 
  • Tlholego Village Permaculture Design and Implementation – ongoing.
  • School Holiday Camp, for local and visiting children – December 2021.
  • Ecovillage Design Education (EDE), 4-week comprehensive course in the fundamentals of sustainability design – April/May 2022.

 Regular experiences vary depending on seasons and interest:

  • African ceremonial gatherings
  • Full moon gatherings
  • Sweat lodges
  • Yoga
  • Tai Ji

Acheivements to date:

Tlholego’s achievements go back to its founding in the late 1980’s. As one of the newer formed Ecosystem Restoration Camps in South Africa we are looking forward to expanding our reach and bringing ecosystem restoration to the many villages and community projects in our region.

Testimonials from the community:

  1. “This government recognises the important work Tlholego is doing in the development of rural learning infrastructure, and its capacity to translate development objectives into practical on the ground programs.” Peter Verrijdt, special envoy of the Premier of Northwest Province, June 1996
  1. “I am pleased to recommend Tlholego as a good example of people-centred, sustainable community development.” Hamish Stewart, General Secretary of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) International, November 1997
  1. “Tlholego’s layout and architecture provides a unique space for dialogue and reflection. Whereas most other attempts at so-called ‘African design’ either lack authenticity and/or are just for the effect, Tlholego is what it is without having to try too hard. The sense of connectedness to its local context via the school and the local community, and the continuity it achieves to an ancient past, makes for a special place that needs to be protected and preserved”.  Mark Swilling, Academic Head Sustainability Institute, October 2002
  1. “Tlholego Village is a space were belief in community development and innovation is alive. As an educational facility, Tlholego believes that our actions as human beings stem from our shared values, and that both tradition and innovation provide a strong platform for human beings to cohabit with nature. They have built a connected, informed and engaged community of Africans who are interested in developing beyond their own communities. One of the defining features of Tlholego Village is their passion for environmental justice. Justice is about protecting individuals and communities from the things that impact negatively on their well-being. They have certainly lived up to the imperatives of Tlholego! Thebe Morake, Deputy Head of Lebone 11 College of the Royal Bafokeng, June 2019
  1. “Tlholego stands as an example of what is possible for rural communities in the dry regions of Southern Africa and is a vital node in an emerging Learning Network around sustainable livelihoods. The beautifully designed accommodation demonstrates the versatility and strength of earth building techniques, and the viability of composting toilets. Visitors may gain practical skills in many facets of organic farming and permaculture design, as well as insights into the possibilities of renewable energy. This is an ideal venue for organizational retreats and participatory learning process, since the village can host groups of 25 people at a time. The communal meeting spaces encourage deep discussion and fellowship, while the culture of cheerful hard work and collegial self-management is compelling and contagious. Tlholego is an inspirational community initiative!” Mkhulu Gavin Anderson, Community development strategist, March 2020

 

 

How to apply

Please complete the form below to express your interest in joining the team at Camp Tlholego Ecovillage

What you must do to ensure your own safety at an Ecosystem Restoration Camp

Your safety is very important to us. Most camps are in locations that are completely safe for you to travel to. Some camps are in locations where there is civil unrest, higher levels of crime, or in areas where there could be severe nature events (earthquakes, tornados, vulcanic eruptions). We strongly advise you to check with your national authority’s travel advisory service to see if there are specific travel advisories for the region you are travelling to. We strongly advise you to comply with that travel advisory. If there is a negative travel advisory for the area you plan to go to, we want to impress on you that it is your decision to not heed the warnings and go. ERC can then not be liable in that situation if something happens to you.

Work at camps is usually safe. The camp coordinators make your safety their highest priority too. But you will be working with tools and sometimes even (heavy) machinery. Sometimes the terrain can be slightly treacherous. Heat or cold can become a problem for people at work that do not take the necessary measures to prevent injury from weather conditions. Especially in remote locations, all people at an Ecosystem Restoration Camp will need to watch out for eachother’s safety. For this reason we ask you to also sign our Code of Conduct, through which you commit to contributing to a safe environment at camps for all that are there with you. Take yours and all other camper’s safety seriously! Together, while watching over eachother, we can restore our ecosystems safely and successfully.

Contact us:

info@ecosystemrestorationcamps.org

Stichting Ecosystem Restoration Foundation /
Ecosystem Restoration Camps 2020

Joppelaan 77
7215 AD Joppe
The Netherlands

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