Moonglow Guest House

Moonglow Guest House is located between Glencairn and Simon’s Town on the slopes of the Glencairn Mountain. With stunning views across False Bay and to the distant Hottentots Holland mountain range, it’s a great base from which guests can explore the entire peninsula, including nearby Boulders Beach penguin colony and Cape Point.

Moonglow is four-star graded and has an elegant yet personal feel. The furniture and decor have been collected through the years to create a homely atmosphere. Guest rooms are all en-suite, have sea views, and are tastefully decorated with hand-embroidered linen and unique, local touches. Gillian and her team will start your day with a cheerful “good morning” and a hearty full English breakfast in the dining room overlooking the bay.

Follow Moonglow on the web

Facebook: Moonglowguesthouse
Twitter: @MoonglowGH

The Journey

  • Overview of Moonglow Guest House

    03, June, 2016

    Turning point, guest house, responsible tourismThe property
    Suburban, landscaped 

    Turning point, guest house, responsible tourismAccommodation
    6 rooms each with a TV, heater, fan, fridge and kettle
    Sleeps up to 12 guests

    Turning point, guest house, responsible tourismMeals
    Breakfast included

     Turning point, guest house, responsible tourismLaundry
    Done by the business on the premises

    Turning point, guest house, responsible tourism


    5 employees

  • History of the business

    03, June, 2016

    The building in which Moonglow is located was once a family residence and when owners, Gillian and Glynn, found themselves in a very large but very empty nest after their kids had grown up and moved away, they decided to convert it into a guest house. Its furniture and fittings have been collected by them through the years, which is partly why Moonglow has such a homely atmosphere.

  • Meet the Moonglow team

    28, June, 2016


    The Moonglow team is very small – represented here by its owner, Gillian, and her valuable colleague, Nomonde. 

  • Moonglow's Hopes For the Challenge

    28, June, 2016

    Gillian and the Moonglow team are passionate about operating as responsibly as they possibly can. For example, the team members are even quick to point out when a colleague has forgotten to switch off a light in a vacant room! They’re excited to share this passion with others and hopefully inspire them to join in. But they are also very eager to learn how they might do better on a more technical level, for example learning about what types of appliances and technology they should be investing in going forward.

  • Baseline scorecard

    08, July, 2016

    At the start of the project, we went on a site visit to Moonglow Guest House and had a long list of questions about the business’s practices. We used the information provided to draw up this scorecard that acts as a baseline – a picture of what the business is doing at the start of the project. We use this baseline to draft a responsible tourism action plan for the business, basically a plan of what more the business can do to operate responsibly. We will also use the baseline to compare the success of the action plan as time progresses.

    Here is a summary of the responsible practices that the Moonglow Guest House were involved at the start of the challenge. 

    moonglow guest house, responsible tourismSaving water

    • The business has a general awareness of how much water is being used.
    • Water use is often, but informally, discussed among management and staff.
    • Taps are fitted with aerators that limit the volume of water flow.
    • All showers have low-flow shower heads.
    • There are no bathtubs in guest bathrooms, only showers.
    • The garden is watered only before 10:00 and after 16:00, and each area is watered for less than 20 minutes. 
    • There are no invasive plant species on the property and the planting of waterwise plants in the garden is prioritised.
    • Water leaks and drips are reported immediately for repair.

    moonglow guest house, responsible tourism Using energy efficiently

    • Apart from dimmers, all lighting is energy efficient.
    • Kettles in guest rooms are small volume.
    • One outdoor light operates on a day/night sensor.
    • Solar jar lanterns are used as backup lighting when needed.
    • Apart from the geysers, appliances are turned off when not in use.
    • Laundry is only tumble dried for 10 minutes after having been mainly air-dried.
    • Vehicle trips are sometimes planned so that the number of trips taken overall is reduced.

    Reducing_managing_wasteReducing and managing waste

    • Different types of waste are separated and recyclable waste is collected by the municipality. 
    • Breakfasts are prepared to order to reduce food waste.
    • Printer cartridges, batteries and spent light bulbs are disposed of at Pick ‘n Pay’s drop-off points.

    moonglow guest house, responsible tourismBuilding communities

    • The business has drafted a written strategy regarding how it contributes to building stronger communities.
    • The business has identified beneficiaries of its strategy and has consulted with them to ensure that there efforts are needed.

    moonglow guest house, responsible tourismDeveloping skills

    • All new staff are given induction training.
    • Staff are made aware of the need to save water and electricity.
    • Staff can give and receive feedback about their job performance; this happens verbally instead of in writing.
    • Additional training is given on an ad hoc basis, or when staff request it.
    • The business has supported several staff members get their driving licence.

    moonglow guest house, responsible tourismBuying responsibly

    • The business has drafted a written purchasing policy that reflects their practice of prioritising local products and those that are produced by community-based initiatives.
    • Staff that do the shopping are aware of this purchasing policy.

    Big backpackers, responsible tourismSupporting enterprise development

    • The business engages with local businesses to support their development by marketing their products / services to their guests, and by giving them verbal feedback on how they might improve.

    moonglow guest house, responsible tourism Operations and management

    • The business has a written statement regarding its commitment to responsible tourism.
    • The business has a procedure in place to get visitor feedback and to respond to any issues that need to be addressed.
  • Responsible tourism strengths at the start of the Challenge

    19, July, 2016

    resMoonglow Guest House is in the fortunate position to be located in an area of Cape Town where kerbside recycling collection is offered by the City. Many households and businesses in these areas, Moonglow included, are therefore very familiar with what types of waste can be recycled – most types of plastic, paper, tin and glass among them.

    Disposing of hazardous waste

    However, many people still have little or no awareness of what special disposal methods some types of non-recyclable waste need, and all too often harmful (and even hazardous) waste gets thrown directly into the bin. The team at Moonglow, however, makes sure that harmful waste is not handled in way that leads it to the landfill. Gillian drops off spent printer cartridges, batteries and lightbulbs at a collection point at her local Pick ‘n Pay. Although this takes a bit of an effort, they’ve simply made it part of their routine when they do the shopping.

    Although the amounts of harmful waste produced by Moonglow (and most guesthouses) may be nominal, appropriate disposal is still extremely important because these types of waste are harmful to human health and the environment. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), for example, contain small amounts of mercury that can leach into the groundwater if a broken lightbulb ends up at the landfill. Old batteries leak acids and other chemicals that are either toxic or corrosive, and are likely to make already dangerous landfill sites even more hazardous.

    Like Gillian and the Moonglow team, we encourage you to collect used batteries, lightbulbs and printer cartridges and take them to the closest collection point. Many of these are found at supermarkets, which makes it easy since you can just drop them off during one of your shopping trips.

    hazardous waste
    Spent batteries, CFL lightbulbs andprinter cartridges can’t be thrown into the bin. There are many drop off points in Cape Town where you can drop them off.

    A different way of building communities

    Moonglow Guest House is a part of Transfrontier Parks Destinations, a group of businesses that shares a passion for ensuring that tourism operates in a way that creates long-term benefits for local communities. TFPD partners with community-owned lodges situated in transfrontier parks (as the name suggests); the positive results of these partnerships are not only voiced by those directly involved, but have also been recognised through receipt of various responsible tourism awards both locally and internationally over the past few years.

    Moonglow’s situation is slightly different from the other TFPD businesses, of course. Located near Simon’s Town, its ‘community’ owners – Gillian and Glynn O’Leary – are team members of the larger TFPD operations. That means a lot of their energy goes towards building stronger communities around the various TFPD lodges in the group. Moonglow has drafted a policy regarding how it contributes both to these broader TFPD initiatives as well what it does in its local vicinity. This contributes to its responsible tourism performance not only in the area of building stronger communities, but also in its responsible procurement and support for enterprise development. Some of the highlights of this policy are below:

    • Prioritising the purchase of goods and services from the local area and community-owned businesses / projects, such as Vezokhule sewing cooperative and Red Cedar natural rooibos products
    • Providing additional market access for goods produced by communities around the TFPD lodges by offering them for sale to its guests; an example is the Kalahari salt produced by San communities
    • Providing in-kind support to other TFPD lodges by advising on how locally produced crafts can be used as décor and design in the lodges (or adapted to do so)

    Where to from here?

    We recorded existing responsible practices at the Moonglow Guest House during the first site visit. This helped us establish a baseline which we then used to draft a responsible tourism action plan for the business, basically ideas of what more the business can do to operate responsibly. We will also use the baseline to compare the success of the action plan.  

    Here are other pictures of the good work Moonglow Guest House is doing.  

    Responsible tourism at Moonglow Guest House
    The dishwasher has a setting to save both water and electricity.
    Responsible tourism at Moonglow Guest House
    Signage asks guests to save water and tells them how to do it.
    Responsible tourism at Moonglow Guest House
    As much as possible, laundry is air dried.
    Responsible tourism at Moonglow Guest House
    Solar jars are used during loadshedding,
    Responsible tourism at Moonglow Guest House
    A bottle of water is placed in each cistern to reduce its volume
    Responsible tourism at Moonglow Guest House
    Guest amenities are provided in refillable bottles