Our Aim

To Preserve the Natural Environment and Wildlife of the Nkutu Nature Reserve.

The Waterfall Retreat contains a wealth of wildlife, flora and fauna, breathtaking views of the Nkutu valley reserve and Kloof Gorge, walking trails from gentle to arduous, a stream and many waterfalls. The centre is committed to protecting and preserving the amazing biodiversity that is found within this beautiful area. The focus of our environmental work is the ongoing removal of alien plants in order to restore and maintain the beautiful indigenous forests and protected grasslands of the reserve. Dharma days invite volunteers to assist in maintaining pathways, removing alien plants, planting indigenous cuttings and working in the veggie gardens amongst others. To receive updates on the environmental work we do please like us on facebook. If you would like to volunteer to join a Dharma day in the environment please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our Environment

Our ancestors viewed the earth as rich and bountiful, which it is. Many people in the past also saw nature as inexhaustibly sustainable, which we now know is the case only if we care for it. It is not difficult to forgive destruction in the past that resulted from ignorance. Today however, we have access to more information, and it is essential that we re-examine ethically what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to coming generations.

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama

Dependent Arising

We know that our sense of self is misleading. In fact, what is self is not independent from the rest of life around us. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the books we read are produced by other living beings. Even the source of the air we breathe is elsewhere and not within us.



This understanding of interdependence makes us aware that all of life is connected and that our individual actions have immediate consequences in the larger world. This cause and effect is karma. Natural catastrophes around the world are extensive and on the rise. Every day, we hear of floods, hurricanes, and droughts and watch people suffer as a result. Much of this suffering is caused by or worsened by human activity and puts the entire planet at risk. As practitioners we have a responsibility to reverse negative actions through skillful means so that there is a healthy and balanced future for all life.

Most practitioners want to contribute positively to preserving the environment, but unless we all work together, no solution will be found. Moreover, although we have begun to learn lessons from what has already taken place, good wishes alone are not enough to bring about change. We have to assume active responsibility.


Environmental Protection Guidelines

From the proceedings of the first conference on environmental protection for Kagyu monasteries and centres held from 21 – 25 March 2009 at the Vajra Vidya institute, Sarnath India:

1. Create a mandala of nature. It should be a special place on your property that is an offering of all the wonderful things in nature; flowers, trees, water; recognising that the earth itself is an offering. If you do not own enough land for such a project, please consider a rooftop or balcony garden.
2. Everybody should create a vegetable garden. Another option is to build it with your local community on common lands. The result should be a healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle.
3. Don’t buy many vehicles. Keep in mind how harmful vehicles are for the environment; they emit carbon and contribute to climate change greatly. Therefore you should think twice about buying one and if you do, research for vehicles with the smallest emissions.
4. Reduce and eventually eliminate the use of plastic; whether it is bottled or plastic wrapped fruit and sweet. Plastic is always harmful, there is NO safe plastic. In all cases, please make the effort, when shopping to buy the option that has the least packaging.
5. Do not waste food. Spoilt leftovers and kitchen waste can be recycled in your wormery or compost bin.
6. Be interested where your daily food comes from. Vegetarians should differentiate between the different types of eggs that are available. Make sure that the laying hens are free-range and not caged. If you do eat meat, reduce the frequency and make sure the meat comes from a farm where the animals are treated with respect. (Veld reared, free range, organic)
7. We should do our best to use solar, water and wind power and thus, reduce our dependence on harmful types of energy. There are many options available for alternative energy installations. As a minimum consider a solar geyser, which will reduce your electricity bill by up to 50% and the investment is paid back in 3-4 years.
8. It is clear that the forests are very important for all life on earth. Plant at least 20 indigenous fruit/nut bearing trees per year for at least 5 years and care for them to maturity. Alternatively donate the trees and time to a worthy cause that is planting trees for the community.
I hereby commit all centres and members of Kagyu Africa to pursue these strategies wherever possible and in good faith.
Signed on the day of Losar 14 February 2010 at Tara Rokpa Centre, Groot Marico, South Africa by
The Honourable Akong Rinpoche (Tulku)