My dream is to create a blissful seaside haven that’s vegan inspired and where mindful living principles are promoted and made fun. On the KZN coast in South Africa there lies a sleepy little town called Ballito. It draws beach-lovers and outdoor appreciators to its shores in droves nearly all year round. What was once a sleepy town is now a hub of activity and most exciting of all; the SA vegan community is growing, and people are looking for exactly the type of holiday escape I envision.
What will set my seaside haven apart from other holiday homes in the area is that I will make it first and foremost, vegan-friendly. After all, mindful living should be rewarded. I will include a fun gift for guests, provide a few vegan treats that even non-vegans will love and will adorn the apartment in mindful and thought provoking art and décor – to provide a fun introduction to the lifestyle. Nothing will be pushed - no one will feel judged. Acceptance of all people would be key.
I plan to make the apartment quirky. It will include fun activities to be enjoyed (or not – it’s really up to the guest), quirky furnishings and art that people won’t easily forget, and a few fun features (no giving these away just yet). The apartment will be self-catered while guests are in residence - leaving them to complete privacy with their own oasis just a few steps from the ocean.
I am an artist and writer, so guests can expect for their spoilings to be environmentally friendly, sentimental at heart, and hand-made with love.
Why a Vegan Seaside Haven in South Africa?
Facebook alone shows that there are to date 17, 249 members who are already seriously part of the Vegan Society South Africa. The Vegan Society Awareness page shows over 400,000 members, which only shows that the community is growing in South Africa (I find this VERY exciting). That secures a certain market that I simply know will be interested in my ‘product’. Of course there is the international market which I can only succinctly describe as whopping. I have found that foreigners who live mindfully (I have met many of them) are visiting the shores of Ballito on a regular basis. What if I had something great to offer them? That’s the dream.
I believe that in my country (South Africa) there are certain stigmas attached to being vegan. Those who haven’t taken the plunge believe it’s expensive and follows a boring lifestyle of dos and don’ts, with a bland diet to top it off. They couldn't be more wrong. The lifestyle for me is fun and very rewarding. I want to show locals that haven’t transitioned that there’s a side to vegan and mindful living they are missing out on. I want to do it gently and I want to have an impact by wowing them and providing them with a holiday pad that leaves them with fond memories. I want to treat vegans to an oasis of awesomeness and I want to show non-vegans that mindful living can be colorful, fun, and downright delicious.
The world needs more vegan-inspired spaces that provide an exceptional experience. The holiday market needs more people who care enough to pour their heart and soul into their spaces and provide something that's worth every moment spent there. This is something I want to do.
At heart, I am a beach bum! I love the sea, sand, nature, animals, conservation – these are all my things. I love people too and I want to show them a holiday home that can be amazing. I believe it will be. Because Ballito is somewhat my “home town”, I visit it often and have all too regularly stayed at “affordable” holiday apartments that offer the earth and give little of it. I want to be the change I wish to see in the community. I want to bring something exceptional to the shores.
As a creative (freelance writer) in SA, work is steady but certainly not enough to fund the purchase of a property in Ballito, and the subsequent transformation thereof.
The Market – Is it Viable?
One of the biggest questions I would have to answer is just how viable a holiday home on the KZN coast would be. Ballito and Umdloti Beaches are jam-packed with holiday makers during all the popular holidays: school holidays, religious holidays, and of course, public holidays. But I needed to know what it was like during an average month. I spoke to a local who also owns a holiday apartment and have been assured that holiday bookings are most viable as they are booked up nearly all year round. That’s thanks to the always-sunny and warm weather we have in SA. I am also assured that the holiday apartment owner’s property, which was acquired 4 years ago, has doubled in value. Is it viable? The figures don’t lie.
What Will Funding be Used for?
I am bootstrapping this idea and property on the Ballito coastline does not come cheap. The best advice I have received from my nearest and dearest is to take the plunge and look for angel investors - otherwise this dream may never become a reality.
Funding will cover:
* Purchase of the property.
* Complete inner transformation – painting, wall art, quirky bits and bobs, furnishing.
* Rates and taxes.
* Supplies for gifting of guests and making holiday info booklets.
The initial property investment is the biggest expense to cover.
A Special Shout-Out to My Backers
If you have chosen to back me, words simply cannot express my appreciation. A big thank you that comes from the depths of my heart and soul are already on the way to you. If I could thank you in person, I undoubtedly would. Much love!