Green Cemetery – A first for South Africa
March 31, 2016
A green cemetery does not mean that everything is painted green, it refers to a new form of burial which allows the body to be recycled into the earth naturally after death. The body is clean with no embalming fluids; the casket is fully biodegradable.
Weisenhof Legacy Park
Weisenhof Legacy Park was South Africa’s first green cemetery and is created within a nature reserve.
About 200 ha of ground has been set aside for both natural burial and the scattering of ashes after cremation. This green cemetery is situated close to Stellenbosch in the Western Cape.
Because it is set in the foothills of the Simonsberg mountains, amidst natural forest and fynbos, people who come here to pay their respects are rewarded with tranquil peace and beautiful scenery.
Features of the Weisenhof Green Cemetery
- Care is taken to maintain the area with as much consideration as possible. The natural beauty of the area is conserved at all costs, in an effort to keep it beautiful and peaceful.
- A special area is reserved for the scattering of ashes, called Fields of Flowers.
- Wildflower seeds are mixed and scattered with the ashes so that the park is filled with flowers each season.
- The ashes may also be scattered over one of the four natural lakes. The scattering is known as a Water Release.
- For babies under the age of 1 as well as stillborns, a special area has been set apart called Twinkle Little Stars.
- The area around the ash plots (graves) can be made as beautiful as the families wish, by planting any of the plants from their approved plant list.
For the memorial services, there are two venues available:
Lakeside Venue – an area covered with a giant marquee tent that can seat up to 500 people.
Mountaintop Venue – situated on top of one of the mountain ranges in Weisenhof, it has breathtaking views over the surrounding area.
One may purchase a single burial plot, or a family tree. Here the loved ones may secure all the space around the tree for their family. All the graves are marked with an indigenous tree planted on them.
Products of Weisenhof Park
- The natural caskets are made of biodegradable materials such as bamboo, seagrass, and coco-palm. The caskets are sturdy, but light, so do not need any machinery to lower them into the grave. They cost a fraction of the price of the ornate, traditional coffins.
- A flat natural stone marker, sourced from the reserve itself, may be placed next to the tree on the grave. Families may engrave the stone with a personal message. All stones are chosen to blend in with the natural environment.
- Placing a bench on the resting place beside the grave, is another option to be considered. The benches are made from aged wood found in the reserve, and are specially handcrafted for this purpose. The benches may be marked with a plaque.
- Eco-friendly urns, made from the same biodegradable materials as the caskets, may be used for both the burial, and the scattering of the ashes after cremation.
Apart from memorial services, there is also an option to buy a funeral policy through them, making use of all the major funeral directors.
Weisenhof Legacy Park is indeed a beautiful natural resting place for a loved one and all your needs in terms of services and products are met ‘under one roof’.
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All info was correct at time of publishing