Permaculture Design Course (PDC)

with Tichafa Makovere

1st - 12th of September 2017









What is perma-culture?




Permaculture offers practical skills and methods for designing and creating sustainable living systems, integrating human needs with the ecosystems in which we are rooted.

It is a theory of ecological design which seeks to develop sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems, by modelling them on the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.

The Permaculture Design Course (PDC) is a 72-hour certified and holistic course encompassing a wide range of topics that demonstrate how to work with our ecological and social environment. The PDC will be composed of lectures, discussions, practical activities, and design exercises. 

Participants will gain knowledge and skills to enable them to design and implement the principles of permaculture in the creation of truly sustainable systems that can enable us to live well and with respect for each other and the earth.

The term “permaculture” was originally coined to refer to the idea of a truly sustainable agriculture, but has expanded to embrace the idea of “permanent culture” in recognition that the social dimension is integral to truly sustainable living systems. It has been described as “a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area or thing in isolation.

Permaculture draws from several disciplines including organic farming, agro-forestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology. The design principles which are the conceptual foundation of permaculture are derived from the science of systems ecology and study of pre-industrial examples of sustainable land use.

The primary agenda of the movement has been to assist people to become more self reliant through the design and development of productive and sustainable gardens and farms. It applies equally well to both rural and urban areas. Permaculture can also be called simply, “a revolution disguised as gardening.”

Back in the 70’s, two Australians, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren started a journey that we are still on today. They re-organized ancient knowledge and skills, traditional wisdom about plants, animals, and social systems, and added some new ideas. They effectively created a system of design for how to build a stable and resilient culture, and called it “permaculture.

The majority of sciences, including modern agriculture and horticulture, have been developed under a reductionist approach, separating everything — soils, plants, insects, animals and humans — and examining in great detail every one of these isolated elements. In contrast Permaculture is the study of inter-relations and the inter-dependence of living organisms in their environment. It results in a new way of sustaining and enriching life without social and environmental degradation.

Permaculture design focuses on connections between things, creating something bigger than its parts.

Permaculture is underpinned by a set of three ethics, and by principles which are transmitted in various ways and interwoven throughout the ethics:

CARE OF THE EARTH: Provision for all Life systems to continue and multiply

CARE OF THE PEOPLE: Provisions for people to access those resources necesarry for their existence.

FAIR SHARE: By governing our own needs ,we can set aside resources to further the above ethics

Permaculture ethics offer a direction to responsibilities, moral values and livelihood. They provide the vision on which design approaches and strategies can be tested.

What will you be learning?

  • Approaches to design including: mapping, designing from patterns to details, analysis of elements, using slope & orientation, zones and sectors and analysing the needs & yields of systems.
  • How to increase productivity using intensive garden design strategies including: stacking, soil-building, soil biology, mulch, nutrient cycling, pest control, green manures, worms, compost & companion planting.
  • How to survey landscapes for property design using simple and sophisticated tools; mapping and map making, site analysis, and assessment.
  • Climate: how to read weather patterns, create and enhance micro-climates, and create design strategies for all major global climatic zones.
  • How trees and forests regulate and moderate ecosystems. How to sustainably use, propagate, harvest and manage tree systems using techniques such as coppicing, pollarding, grafting, shelter belts, orchards, guild planting & succession planning.
  • Sound nursery practice, propagation, and bio-security. 
  • Integrated pest management.
  • Homesteading and small scale farming. 
  • How to save money on energy bills with efficient home design, retrofitting, and renewable energy systems.
  • Multiple uses for grey-water, constructed wetland design, and other techniques for treating waste water.
  • Passive water hydration and infiltration, rainwater collection, storage and composting toilets.
  • Dry-land strategies: using reconstructive earthworks, water harvesting and soil conditioning to recharge ground water, re-hydrate and drought-proof the landscape.
  • How to bring fertility back to the land and build topsoil through a diversity of ancient and modern techniques.
  • How to cycle nutrients and incorporate animals into your system using innovative techniques such as chicken tractors, pannage systems, dairy systems and beekeeping.
  • Creating living ecosystems that feed and nurture us and future generations. Design through the use of nature’s rules to create a lush and resilient natural environment.
  • Aquaponic systems; the combination of aquaculture (growing fish) and hydroponics (growing food without soil). Aquaculture systems and their use in Africa as well as global aquaculture. 
  • How to design solar-heated and solar-cooled buildings. The use of natural building materials, energy efficient house placement and design and the assurance of a healthy indoor environment.
  • Strategies for creating community-wide sustainability, village development, alternative economies, local currencies, and how to organise community groups.


Tichafa Makovere, Africa's Expert Permaculture Practitioner and Instructor has developed his own course syllabus by teaching over 300 PDCs in which he has had roles as an administrator, co-facilitator and mostly as a lead instructor. He has integrated what he has learned from various teachers he has worked with over 21 years. He took his first PDC in June 1994 with John Wilson, Anna Brazier, Bridget O’Connor and Dr Henry Elwell at Fambidzanayi Permaculture Centre, Harare, Zimbabwe. He has had the chance to share platforms with lead permaculture designers like Rosemary Morrow, Dan Palmer, Rhamis Kent and Steve Cran. He also drew inspiration from the various approaches of Australian, Austrian, USA, UK and Canadian based teachers who have collectively written the majority of modern permaculture manuals and curricula, including Bill Mollison and David Holmgren who are the originators of the Permaculture concept. 

Key organizations Tichafa has worked with include World Food Program - Malawi, Peace Corps - Ethiopia, National Coordinator for Slow Food - Ethiopia, Mercy Corps, Save the Children - Finland and many other smaller organizations. He has also engaged in roles as independent permaculture consultant/trainer in various countries in Southern & East Africa as well as the Horn of Africa. Recently he has been the Project Manager at Ras Kisimani, Mafia Island, Tanzania and lead permaculture designer for Horn of Africa Regional and Environmental Centre and Network.



Distant Relatives is Nestled between the Giriama village of Fumbini and the beautiful emerald waters of Kilifi Creek, Distant Relatives is both a message of optimism and an experimental model of environmentally and socially conscious living. Adventurers from around the world gather here to share tales of the road, mingle with the local community, and enjoy the beautiful ocean views and sunsets that Kenya has to offer. In just one hour’s drive from either Mombasa or Malindi you could be joining us for reef snorkeling trips, moonlit dhow sailing, village walks and beach bonfires, wild cliff adventures, and various live music events.

Sleep in a peaceful environment with easy transport to Town and Beach and access all our facilities: Swimming pool, private beach with unique bioluminescence, excellent security, beach volleyball, discounted internet access rates, free entrance to all events, self-catering kitchen and much more! 

Check out Distant Relatives website for more info on:

  1. How to get there
  2. What to do
  3. Facilities
  4. Amenities

These are your options:


Bandas are spacious, cozy and cool with a private courtyard with both ensuite shower and toilet - Perfect for those seeking a little more space and comfort! Each Banda contains a large double bed, a set of bunk beds, spacious shelving and custom-made furnishings throughout. 2000KES/night.

Private Rooms:

Private Rooms contain one spacious double bed and an ensuite shower. Custom-made shelving units and glass bottle wall designs make each room unique. Great for a good night's sleep and plenty of private space! 1500KES/night.

Safari Tents:

Safari Tents are carpeted, with a cozy bed (single or double), bed-side table, solar lights, waterproof ceilings and mosquito netting for increased ventilation, all strategically placed in a peaceful, shady area! 1000KES/night.


Two beautiful dormitories, each consisting of four sets of bunks. Beds are very spacious and each dorm is open and airy. If you find yourself waking up in your bed next to a tree growing through the roof, then you've been lucky enough to stay in our Dorm-A-Tree! 500KES/night.

COURSE PRICE: 550 USD Or 55,000 KeS

Registration Form:

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