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The first step to hosting an eco-friendly wedding is to source a venue that follows environmental practises. Even though this deems to be an impossible ask, you will be surprised to see how many wedding venues in and around South Africa support sustainability. Today we take a look at how three of our favourite venues not only hosts beautiful weddings, but also do their part to conserve Mother Earth.

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Savannah Game and River Retreat Wedding Venue

In the heart of the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, lies the Savannah Game and River Retreat. Tranquilly situated under ancient white stink wood trees on 3500 acres of unspoilt game reserve, brides can expect a one-of-a-kind, unspoilt African experience where animals and man co-exist in peace and at one with nature.

1. What green practices does Savannah include:
No is no interference with nature at all. Savannah offers an unspoilt piece of Africa where 22 mammal species roam without any fear.
The reserve is a great educational facility used by many schools.
Windmills are used to produce animal water
Noise is limited with no traffic and no motor cycles – the venue thrives on the peace and quiet produced by nature.
Savannah opts for gas geysers and uses generators at their wedding venue, with no reliance on ESKOM

2. How does the venue limit waste:
Recycling and use of Municipal dump

3. How does the venue conserve vital environmental resources:
No trees are cut down unless it is an invasive species
No hunting is allowed on the reserve
All water is bottled for drinking
There is no irrigation and no littering
Savannah also only allows biodegradable confetti

4. How does the venue support organic / green catering:
Offering 100% organic catering deems to be a difficult task as catering is client dependant, however, our caterers do offer free range chicken, beef and eggs - as well as vegetables! But this comes at a price premium, which is unfortunately not often utilised.

5. Which wedding facilities does the venue offer:
Exclusivity – on your big day you will be the only guests utilising the venue.
Activities such a hiking, nature watching and river rafting
Accomodation for 36 pax
A chapel under the white stink wood trees with a capacity of 300 pax
A reception venue on the banks of Vaal River with a capacity of 300 pax
Special honeymoon suite in the middle of the bush, operated with gas and candles only
A vast variety of menus to meet all catering budgets
Picturesque photographic opportunities with spectacular, natural surroundings. These include sunset photos over the Vredefort dome, a backdrop of the red sand of an Old Sotho Village, photos with tamed wildlife, on the river banks.

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Wolfkop Camping Villages

Lying 5km from Citrusdal, at the foothills of the Cederberg, Wolfkop is a 450 hectar reserve, featuring privately appointed cottages and camping village. Wolfkop is the ideal weekend wedding venue for the free spirited bride and groom, who want to spoil their guests with a unique weekend get-away.

1. How to does the venue support sustainability:
We use recycled pallet wooded tables and to limit waste, we recycle all our waste and encourage visitors to do the same.

2. What green practices does the venue include:
We work with alien wood to build structures and therefore encourage indigenous plant growth.

3. What impact does the venue have on the community:
Wolfkop creates jobs on the premises and also support the local old age home in every possible way we can.

4. Which wedding facilities does the venue offer:
A phenomenal reception venue in a comfortable Bedouin tent with dance floors, tables, chairs and lighting
Wolfkop can accommodate from 60 to 160 guests with accommodation in luxury tents
The farm also boasts with four divine cottages
Canoes are available for each cottage to use on the dam.
Other farm activities include mind boggling hiking trails, swimming, fly-fishing and braai areas at the dam.

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Towerbosch Earth Kitchen @ Knorhoek

On the renowned Stellenbosch wine route, Towerbosch at Knorhoek is any bridal couple's dream. Different to your standard canvas wedding venue, which needs thousands of rands to decorate, we have designed an invigorating space that is ready and beautiful to use with no additional décor needed. This ensures that our brides have minimal costs and troubles to add to their most special day.

1. How does the venue support sustainability:
At Knorhoek we strongly believe in the recycling of used products and we dispose them in an appropriate, environmentally friendly way. The world is beginning to realise the importance of recycling, however, there are many members of the population that remain unaware or simply think it is too much of a hassle. The workplace offers many opportunities to be responsible when it comes to helping the environment.

2. What green practices does the venue include and how does the venue support organic / green catering:
Knorhoek Bokashi Garden: Knorhoek's organic garden consists of amazing flavoursome herbs, tasty vegetables and beautiful flowers. The aim of our garden is to ultimately grow all of this vegetation to be used regularly at our Towerbosch Earth Kitchen and the Country Guesthouse.
Bokashi is used to speed up the fermentation process of the food waste, which in turn provides us with compost to use in our garden. This also reduces the foul smells which normally derive from compost, as well as keep all the insects away from our beautiful and succulent veggies.
We use anything from old newspaper and egg shells to the leftover food waste from our restaurant to add to the layers of our organic garden bedding.

3. How does the venue limit waste:
At Knorhoek we separate items such as food wastage, glass, plastic and carton from our regular trash and put them in clearly marked bins for employees.
Getting the process up and running takes time and a lot of discipline and encouragement, but the result is very rewarding and ultimately we are reducing our carbon footprint.

4. What impact does the venue have on the community:
The Stellenbosch Night shelter: The Stellenbosch Night shelter has been around since 1991 and they provide overnight facilities and basic care for the increasing number of homeless people in Stellenbosch. It is run by a volunteer committee who are not paid for their time or services, nor reimbursed for any expenses incurred.
By sponsoring food on a regular basis, Knorhoek tries to make a difference to the lives of the homeless people as well as the caring voluntary staff at the shelter.
By doing this we also teach our own staff about the importance of giving to others in need.

5. Which wedding facilities does the venue offer:
Indoor and outdoor ceremony areas
Reception venue: A bespoke ceiling chandelier installation made of farm twigs painted white and draped with vintage treasures, old crockery and family trinkets. The floor is filled with unique chairs and tables of all shapes and sizes that give it an eclectic yet inviting feel. An array of family silverware and mixed china sourced from nearest and dearest cupboards adorns the tables. A large fireplace and comfy library nook with old books and oversized leather sofas, round off a relaxed, homely ambience.
Country Guesthouse Accommodation: Knorhoek Country Guesthouse is a REGIONAL FINALIST in the 2012 AA Quality Assured Accommodation Awards in the category Guest House with Breakfast. We have also been awarded a certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor in 2013!
Catering: An unpretentious, enchanting haven of old-fashioned culinary bliss. Everything is cooked to perfection at a slow pace, with the meaty mains as special as the vegetable accompaniments. No French terms, no fusion of any kind, no fuss, only honest food cooked with the best local ingredients with the smallest carbon footprint.
Child-friendly: Our thatch-roofed restaurant is situated in the bend of a mountain stream, flanked by nasturtium carpeted wood and sweeping lawns. The rock pool and playground will keep children busy while adults can celebrate your special day.