Technical tours

The Water Hub, Franschhoek

Date: Thursday, 30 November 2017
Cost: ZAR 1,200.00
Tour departs between 08:00 and returns at 14:00.

The Water Hub is an exciting new collaborative project located in Franschhoek, at the site of the decommissioned wastewater treatment works. It aspires to become South Africa’s leading research and training centre for developing appropriate solutions that showcase innovative research and demonstrate state-of-the-art techniques and technologies suitable for the African context. The Water Hub will connect multiple elements of the urban and regional water cycle and will explore new options for the treatment of contaminated water, including the use of natural systems and bioprocesses in an attempt to promote more liveable and healthier environments. The training and skills development provided at the Water Hub will seek to forge new knowledge about green technologies in water resource management.

Participants in this technical tour will learn about the complex processes that have been / are being followed to develop such a centre of knowledge and learning. The recently-completed biofiltration test cells that are being used to treat stormwater runoff from the nearby informal settlement of Langrug will be the main focus point of the tour and will provide an example of the type of experimentation in nature-based solutions that is being undertaken at the Water Hub.


Includes transport to and from Century City Conference Centre (+- 70km to tour site)  |  Snack packs  |  Entry fees.

What to wear:

Please wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes, bring a hat, sunscreen and water.

Limitations for site visit:

Maximum: 40 people  |  Minimum: 20 people.

Below the Surface – A Reclaim Camissa Tour


Date: Thursday, 30 November 2017
Cost: ZAR 1,600.00
Tour departs between 08:00 and returns at 14:00.

The experience:

Camissa, meaning ‘the place of sweet waters’ is the ancient Khoi name for Cape Town. Embedded, lost and obscured within the city’s fabric this vital ecological and cultural link still exists…. Let’s Reclaim Camissa, Together. Come along and learn about the natural and cultural history of the Mother City, founded and settled due to her water resources.

Our walks cover parts of Camissa and include the explanation of our natural history, some of the cultural stories associated with our water system and the possible way forward to a more sustainable water future in Cape Town, according to Reclaim Camissa’s vision.


Starting in Deer Park at the top of Deer Park Drive at the boom (opposite the SANParks ablution block) we will take a short walk uphill to De Grendel – ‘the lock’. We then commence our descent, following the path of the water passing several beautiful sites of relevance including the last remaining of Cape Town’s water collection points – the Hurling Swaai -Pump; ending at the spring in Weltevreden Street. From here we take you in our minivan to the entrance of a underground walk down the river bed of what was the Varsche Rivier. This walk ending on the lawns of the Castle for a sip of water before we take back to your car in Deer Park.

Come and join us on this enlightening and adventurous excursion following Camissa.

  • Meet in Deer Park, from where we walk uphill to De Grendel.
  • We then commence our descent, as per the water, following the path of least resistance – past the Lower Platteklip Waterfall.
  • Platteklip Dam and its infrastructure.
  • Kramat of Seyed Haq al Quaderi.
  • (Bio) slow sand filter.
  • Platteklip Mill the wash houses and Raaswater.
  • Divert down Gorge Road, past the Kramat of Seyed Abdul Malik.
  • And end up at the manhole on Buitenkant Street to follow the tunnel to the Castle. Map of our walk underground.


Includes transport to and from Century City Conference Centre  |  Snack packs  |  Entry fees  |  Headlamps.

What to bring:

  • A day pack with snacks water/ juice, a sun hat, sunglasses and sun block. Definitely pack your camera and possibly a note pad if you are so inclined.
  • We love them but please DO NOT bring your dog, cat or pet hamster with you on the tour.
  • Fitness: A medium level of fitness is required for this tour.
  • The tour is not wheel chair friendly.
  • The first 15 minutes of the tunnel walk has a height limit of 1.6 meters (5.2 foot) which requires taller persons to walk slightly bent forward for this section. The tunnel height increases thereafter to 2 meters.
  • Please note: The tunnel is not suitable for those with serious back, ankle, hip or knee problems.

What to wear:

Please wear comfortable walking clothes that are weather appropriate. Wear, for the above ground part of the tour, comfortable closed walking shoes WITH socks, preferably not brand new shoes. The tunnel portion will not be cold and could see you getting a little dusty and it’s therefore advisable not to wear your designer outfit.

We prefer you to use our headlamps and gumboots as we have tested these under the relevant conditions.

Limitations for site visit:

Maximum: 40 people  |  Minimum: 20 people.

Genius of SPACE & the Water Hub, Franschhoek

Date: Thursday, 30 November 2017
Cost: ZAR 1,200.00
Tour departs at 08:00 and returns at 14:00.

The two projects were initiated by the Western Cape Government, in partnership with Stellenbosch Municipality.  The projects located in the Franschhoek Valley and are connected by the Stiebeul River which is a tributary of the Berg River.

The Genius of SPACE project was designed, implemented and is now being operated through a collaborative partnership between the Langrug community and the Biomimicry SA project team.  The project was designed by learning from the genius of nature to manage waste and water flows and was further developed by learning from the ingenuity and experience of the Langrug community.

The tour will involve a visit to greywater pilot project which captures greywater, separates this from stormwater flows and diverts the polluted greywater into a number of ecological treatment systems including tree gardens and micro constructed wetlands.  This systems promote greening of the settlement, further enhancing the environment in which the Langrug residents live. As part of the Stormwater management the tour will include elements of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) that were constructed by the community as an alternative to piped drainage.

The GOS project also includes a solid waste programme which has recently been established to promote recycling and upcycling of organic and non organic waste.

The participants will also have an opportunity to meet representatives of the Langrug Community Project Committee (LCPC) and FLOW agents who are the community operators of the system.  There will be opportunity to learn about the Meza2Meza (Neighbour to Neighbour) programme through which the residents are successfully operating the scheme.

The downstream component of the GOS project includes am EcoMachine, based on the ecological treatment systems development by Dr John Todd.  The mobile EcoMachine is scheduled to be commissioned in September 2017 and so the tour will benefit from seeing this technology as the biological treatment process are being established.  The Eco Machine will be located at the Water Hub facility, which enables research demonstration and training, with a specific focus on Ecological water and wastewater treatment.

The Water Hub is located at a decommissioned wastewater treatment works.  The old infrastructure is in the process of being re-purposed to accommodate several water treatment technologies, including planted biofilters, Swales, floating aquatic treatment systems and other SuDS elements.  This emerging research will be conducted in close collaboration with the Western Cape Universities, including the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University and CPUT.  Visitors to this site will see the initial research and understand the future vision of the Water Hub.


Includes transport to and from Century City Conference Centre (66km to tour site)  |  Snack packs  | Entry fees.

Limitations for site visit:

Maximum: 40 people  |  Minimum: 20 people.