One of the best parts of a holiday is all the little extras that make your stay unique. One of our favourite things to do is to spend time around a fire. Whether it’s for a braai or just to share some stories, there is something about a crackling fire that makes one feel at ease and at peace.
Many of our resorts and villas have boma areas or private fire pits that add to that unique holiday vibe. Why not try to recreate this special holiday memory at home by building your own fire pit?
Caution before you begin! Make sure that there are no restrictions for recreational fires in your area. Inquire with your local fire department if you aren’t sure. Also, be cautious when handling the various tools and when making the fire to prevent any accidents or injuries.
What you’ll need to make your own holiday-perfect fire pit:
- Measuring tape
- Stones or bricks of your choice (river rocks should be avoided as they can explode and crack during the heating process)
Step 1: Pick a spot
Make sure that there are no obstructions like fences, branches, overhangs etc. around and above the intended fire pit. You want to have at least 3m clearing on all sides.
Step 2: Dig a hole
Measure out your fire pit on the ground (use spray paint or lime to draw a nice visual area to dig out). The ideal size is a 1m circumference. The depth of the pit is up to you. We suggest 0.5m deep for a comfortable sized fire pit. Also allow a natural “drain”. In the middle of your pit you can dig a hole about 10cm wide and 50cm deep.
Step 3: Gravel and pack your stones
Once the hole is dug, fill it with a layer of gravel about 15cm deep. Press the gravel down with the back of your shovel. Also pour gravel into your drain area. Pack your first layer of stones around the circumference of the hole. Leave some gaps (about 1cm) between each stone for air to circulate. Three to five layers will be enough depending on the size of the stones you’re using or on how high you want your fire pit to be. Dry layering will work well depending on the type of stones you use. Don’t use glue or adhesive to stick the stones together as the chemicals and the fire might cause harmful fumes. If you wish to use cement, use it only on the outside of the stones and not on the inside where the fire will be.
This is the bare essentials of fire pit building. Feel free to add on and improve on the design as you feel fit, to suit your entertainment area or your personality. Once all of this is in place, get some wood or charcoal ready and light your fire. Have some friends and family over, and don’t forget the marshmallows!