Visit or use the Donald Woods Centre at Hobeni

The Donald Woods Centre is the headquarters of the Donald Woods Foundation’s work in and around the Hobeni area in the rural Mbashe district of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.

Not only does the Centre provide a comfortable base for accommodating conferencing, training, strategic planning sessions or conducting fieldwork and research in the wider area, but it is also located in a scenically beautiful area. The Centre is close to the famous Wild Coast, with the pristine Dwesa-Cebe Nature Reserve and its safe beaches, indigenous forests and waterfalls nearby.

The Eastern Cape is a malaria-free area. The Centre is around a one hour drive from Nelson Mandela’s birth and resting places, a 90-minute journey to the closest airport at Mthatha or a four-hour drive to the closest city East London with major air, bus and rail links.

The Donald Woods Centre functions as a training and resource centre as well as a development node for the surrounding area, affording NGOs, Universities, companies, government departments and other bodies comfortable accommodation, conferencing, training and meeting facilities in the fully equipped office and training block called the Wendy Woods House.

The Centre can currently accommodate up to 30 people, visitors can choose to self-cater or catering can be provided by the Foundation by prior arrangement. For more information on options, current rates and bookings, mail Barbara Briceland on barbara@donaldwoods.org

What you can expect at the Centre

The Donald Woods Centre is a safe and functional base with reliable power, ample and high quality water, security, good quality IT infrastructure and comfortable accommodation.

OfficeThe main administrative block – Wendy Woods House – includes an air-conditioned main office for 25 professionals; several smaller offices; a large training and IT Room for up to 150 people; two smaller training rooms for around 25 people each; two server rooms; a library; a reception area; a staff room for drivers and community health outreach workers and importantly a sophisticated IT and communications centre with charging facilities for more than 100 devices for outreach work.

accommodation-bloack-a_10_11_22_proOn the accommodation front there are 30 rooms in a number of accommodation blocks with ample ablution facilities adjacent to the historic main house, where Donald Woods was born and spent his childhood. The well apportioned accommodation blocks are centred around two squares – The Old Courtyard and Lemon Tree Square – which are bounded by treed walkways and beautiful gardens.

Social facilities include a recreational club for after hours relaxation – named Masumpa’s after Donald’s father Jack  together with three spacious lounges (with satellite TV) and a small gym. Bedding and towels are provided and there is a laundry facility.

Logistics 2In terms of utilities and logistics, banks of harvested rainwater tanks provide good and safe water year round, generators provide constant power during outages, a multi-layered security system with access control, a diesel fuelling station, a fleet of 22 4×4 vehicles and a 14-seater minibus for transporting guests to and from regional airports in Mthatha and East London.

Directly in from of the main office block, are four large 85 square metre thatched huts set within a landscaped amphitheatre for traditional meetings, training and after-school clubs such as homework clubs as part of the Foundation’s Schools Programme. The focal point of Heritage Valley will be an outdoor stage with a dedicated PA system for drama, music, school and community events for up to 2 000 people. The outdoor stage area is due for construction in 2016. There is a scenic, forested loop in front of the centre for jogging. Heritage Valley is the background photo behind these tabs.

Centre as a development node

The Donald Woods Centre, with its campus-like feel, has been designed as a development node aimed at catalysing project and small business start-ups in a deeply rural area with education, training and professional development being integral to the Foundation’s approach to growth and community development.

The DWC is a living memorial to Donald and Wendy Woods serving some of the poorest and least developed communities of the Eastern Cape. It is a vehicle through which the Foundation helps government and communities to achieve aspects of the SA Government’s 14 point Programme of Action and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We are headquartered in the heart of where the Foundation works precisely because Foundation trustees and management passionately believe in the principle of rural development programmes being run from the area in which they operate.

In particular, it is the nerve centre from which the DWF strives to achieve its five strategic priorities of contributing to the fight against poverty and under-development in impoverished communities; promoting good health and well-being of people and households; enhancing education, training and awareness in targeted communities together with integrating development initiatives and facilitating economic opportunities and job creation.

Download a brochure on the Donald Woods Centre here which includes a handy list of what to bring.