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Frequently Asked Questions

A natural burial is amongst other things, a conservation tool to create, restore and protect urban green spaces. There are no marble monuments or wrought-iron gates in sight. It is a nature reserve first.

Eco CemetriesWhat can be laid to rest in a Legacy Park?

Parks are privately owned. People from all religious or cultural groups are welcome. Whilst natural burials are new to South Africa, the concept has taken off abroad and has become a popular burial option, preferred by people from all walks of life. Legacy Typically those who choose this kind of burial are forward thinking individuals who wish to leave a true and lasting legacy.

How does natural/eco-burial burial work?

Natural burial is the process of returning a body to the earth in the least artificial way possible. The process is free from expensive and unnecessary practices and does not require the use of toxic chemicals for embalming. Caskets are made from biodegradable materials, such as untreated pine and wicker rather than metal, treated wood or other materials, which slow down the natural reincorporation process. Instead, absorption into the eco-system occurs naturally and the burial site is marked organically with elements from the immediate environment: Engraved stone markers or a tree planted by the family. In addition to natural interment of the body, Legacy Parks may also be used for the burial of ashes in the case of a cremation. The parks are also an ideal natural environment in which to scatter the ashes of loved ones.

A Legacy Park is a private conservation area or greenbelt, which individuals or families choose as their final resting place. In addition to being environmentally protected areas, Legacy Parks are also the first natural burial grounds in South Africa, offering a more positive and natural alternative to traditional burial, cemeteries and cremation.

Why would somebody choose to be buried here?

A natural burial has several benefits over traditional forms of burial, including the conservation of natural resources and the preservation and restoration of the natural habitat. In Legacy Parks, money usually spent on embalming caskets and marble tombstones is instead invested in the conservation and preservation of unspoilt spaces.

What are the advantages for families and loved ones?

The natural environment in Legacy Parks provides a safe and inviting space for friends and families to remember those who have passed away. These secure environments allow visitors to commemorate the lives of those they have lost. Legacy Parks create an authentic and tranquil atmosphere, where people will want to visit time and time again and reflect in peace.

NOTE: Legacy Parks is an ideal final resting place for the whole family and many choose to purchase adjacent plots for this purpose.

What value does a Legacy Park add to the surrounding communities?

Legacy Parks are an asset to any area for a variety of reasons:

  • By preserving these pieces of unspoilt land, these parks help to prevent over development
  • The abundance of trees and/or plant life act as natural lungs, contributing to a healthier environment
  • They bring with them the opportunity to be buried close to home, without introducing unsightly or unsafe cemeteries to the area

What is the environmental benefit?

In addition to minimising damage to the environment through the use of natural burial methods, Legacy Parks are filled with indigenous fauna and flora, creating a natural habitat for a variety of life to flourish. As natural conservation areas, they benefit their broader ecosystem ensuring the proliferation of local bird life amongst other things.

What will the experience in the Park be like for visitors, guests and loved ones?

Legacy Parks aims to provide a memorial environment where all people, young and old will want to visit. The park experience stands in stark contrast to the cold, lonely and often dangerous context of a cemetery or the sense of emptiness and loss that typically accompanies the random scattering of ashes. These parks are beautiful natural spaces, where the sound of children playing and birdsong acts as a constant and real reminder that life goes on.

NOTE: Respect is a crucial element of the Legacy Parks experience and people are invited to express their respect in their own personal ways, while always being mindful of the harmony and serenity of the space. For this reason, each park is governed by a set of rules and regulations that are in place to ensure that all visitors take the most from their individual experiences here.

What are the alternatives to a natural burial in South Africa?

There are currently two primary alternatives to a natural burial in South Africa. These are:

Traditional burial

  • The body is buried in either a municipal or private cemetery.
  • Cemeteries are usually located in industrial areas where urban land is cheap.
  • Rows of sombre, grey tombstones make the environment depressing and unfriendly.
  • According to proposed municipal legislation in some areas, municipal gravesites may only be protected for 20 years.

Cremation

  • The ashes are either kept in an urn by the family, placed in a memorial wall at a church or scattered in a pre-determined place
  • Cremation is often perceived as a cold, industrial process

Partly as a result of the above, South Africans often view death in a negative light and decisions regarding our own and our loved ones’ mortality are put on hold until the need arises. Legacy Parks aim to change this by bringing real dignity, beauty and ongoing memorialisation to those we hold dearest.

How do you secure a burial right?

In many instances, burial in a Legacy Park will work out to the same price if not less than the equivalent traditional interment with its ostentatious coffins and costly headstones. The costs of plots vary depending on their position and many are very reasonably priced. The options are:

  • Buying a family or individual whole-life insurance policy (Legacy Parks has developed an insurance plan underwritten by Sanlam).
  • Paying a once-off cash amount in advance to secure individual or family burial rights.
  • Buying the burial right when a loved one dies.

How are Legacy Parks maintained and how long are they protected for?

Legacy Parks are protected in perpetuity, through the establishment of a trust and proper management of a maintenance fund. More specifically, the fund will be used for:

  • Ensuring the safety, quality and preservation of the site
  • General maintenance and protection of the park.

Are there any similar concepts or parks abroad?

While Legacy Parks is the first of its kind in South Africa, natural burial grounds can be found in Canada, the USA, the UK and Australia. Their popularity has soared as the concept has proven itself.

 

 

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