The birth of the PanGoPod

Last Saturday, 22 June 2019, Les Underhill and I were lucky enough to join in for the very special occasion of handing over the keys of PanGoPod Alpha to its first residents, two French students that have been helping Dieter Oschadleus with bird ringing on Fynbos Estate. The day might have been grey, rainy and cold, but it did not dampen our spirits. We forgot the champagne too, but with a glass of delicious Grapetizer each, we celebrated the housewarming of the brand new PanGoPod.

All smiles as we celebrated the birth of PanGoPod Alpha

From its infant stage as a steel structure to a fully fledged eco-home, the PanGoPod was incubated over a few months in the shelter of Unit 4, Gunner’s Park in Epping, Cape Town. Pete Laver and Hendrik Louwrens hand raised PanGoPod Alpha, putting in many long hours, blood, sweat and some tears to produce an absolutely stunning and high quality eco-home.

The PanGoPod in its embryo stage

It was fantastic to see PanGoPod Alpha in its natural habitat, out in the field, at Fynbos Estate. Pete and Hendrik did an amazing job to get the PanGoPod ready and livable on site. Thank you team! The students were very excited to spend their first night in the eco-friendly, off-grid tiny home that runs off of solar panels, rainwater collection, and has a composting loo…..the ingredients for happy inhabitants and a happy Earth.

The beautiful, functional and stylish interior of PanGoPod Alpha

The PanGoPod is an attempt to prototype alternative housing that meets people’s basic needs, is healthy to live in, and has a relatively low impact on the environment. I was amazed at how cozy and well laid out the PanGoPod was. I could see myself living in one of these eco-homes very easily and having some experience with living in all sorts of field research accommodation, the PanGoPod feels like a 5-star hotel. We are very excited to roll-up and roll-out PanGoPods throughout South Africa (and even the rest of Africa, because why not?) as an eco-friendly and affordable housing alternative for field researchers, or anyone that could benefit from having an awesome off grid home like this. Details on how to order your very own PanGoPod will be available soon, so watch this space!

PanGoPod Alpha on site at Fynbos Estate

We would like to give a huge thank you to the wonderful people of Fynbos Estate for providing us with the first field testing site of the PanGoPod. For more BDI news, photos and stories follow us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.

Megan Loftie-Eaton
Megan Loftie-Eaton
Megan is our communications, social media and citizen science coordinator. Prior to her work for the BDI, she coordinated OdonataMAP, the Atlas of African Odonata. A citizen science project run by the Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town and funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. She also coordinated LepiMAP, which is the Atlas on African Lepidoptera. Megan is passionate about biodiversity conservation. She is a firm believer in the power of citizen science and getting the public involved in nature conservation.