Take in the South African Countryside in This Shipping Container Eco-Cabin

Take in the South African Countryside in This Shipping Container Eco-Cabin

By Charlotte West / Published by Dwell
Nestled on a family farm, this South African shipping container cabin is completely off the grid.

Located on owner Lucas Steyn’s family farm in Botrivier, a 90-minute drive from Capetown, Copia is an eco-retreat comprised of two shipping container cabins in the South African countryside. Steyn decided to convert the first container after he discovered the wide range of possibilities they offered. After selling his business in 2015, he took the plunge.

The property takes its name from the Latin word copia, meaning "abundance," a nod to the luxurious experience that Steyn strives to create for his guests.  

"Each area in the cabin has large windows allowing loads of light into the cabin, and most importantly, uninterrupted views from every angle," he says.

"I loved the idea of taking a big harsh steel structure and converting it into something functional and beautiful."

Steyn explains that until recently, shipping container architecture in South Africa was mainly used for offices or low cost housing, and he was interested in how they might be used for upscale accommodation. 

The interior of the cabin is open-plan with only three-quarter dividing walls between the living room and bedroom. The highlights of the cabin include a wood-fired hot tub and outdoor barbecue for a traditional South African braai. Copia is entirely off-the-grid and runs on solar power. 

Steyn left the exterior bare so the container would retain some of its original identity. "I chose not to clad the exterior and left all the dents in the container as is, because when you are inside the cabin you have no idea that you are inside a old shipping container," he explains. 

Steyn is currently building a second container cabin, Lone Pine, which will be open to guests in December.  

Nightly rates for Copia Cabin start at R1250 (approximately $92) a night, while rates for Lone Pine Cabin start at R1550 (approximately $114). 

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