CLARENS, in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, is nicknamed the “Jewel of the Eastern Free State”, with its beautiful scenery, friendly townsfolk, a well-known art community and several superb restaurants.

At Ash River Lodge, one of the top guest houses in Clarens, Mike Botha recently installed Eco Wash. He joint-owns the lodge with a partner and has started washing cars for guests at the establishment. The plan is to expand to the busy centre of the small town and the surrounding businesses and lodges.

Mike tells: “Eco Wash has been well received here and I have the community behind me. I hope to send my supervisor and right-hand man Senza and a team into town soon, we’re just getting through some of the red tape. People in the area really appreciate our efforts to save water while offering a top quality wash, they are green conscious.”

Mike comes from the aviation industry, he is a trained pilot who accidentally got involved in the hospitality industry and tells: “I learnt about the industry working at the Mountain View Lodge in Harrismith, constantly very busy with scores of people from all over. We acquired Ash River Lodge last year, it has been here for almost 10 years and we’re doing well.

“Of course this is an altogether different kind of environment with different clientele. We enjoyed a wonderful month of December, we hope to build on that. We have 22 rooms here, three en-suite, in a marvellous location with bed and breakfast. The lodge is within walking distance from the active town centre.

“Weekends in Clarens are always busy, we offer good midweek packages two for travelling reps and families who want to break away,” he says.

You can reach Mike Botha at Ash River Lodge on (058) 256 1717.