Nature & wildlife

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Welcome ‘home’

Southern Africa is hailed as the cradle of humanity, a fact easily driven home by the ancient rock art sites to be discovered on Bushmans Kloof. These stone age artworks are both an historical record and a cultural narrative, honouring the ancient people that once roamed these wild mountains.

But this incredible landscape is far more than an artist’s canvas. Whether you choose to discover it on foot or in a comfortably shaded safari vehicle, the 7500 hectares of wilderness reserve will amaze and delight you with an array of flora, fauna and natural wonders.

Bushmans Kloof Buck

Fantastic fynbos

The fynbos vegetation of Bushmans Kloof falls under the Cape Floral Region, which in 2004 was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Celebrated for its incredible biodiversity, the Cape Floral Region covers less than 0.5% of Africa’s surface area, yet accounts for nearly 20% of its plant species.

The region is also celebrated for its diversity, density and endemism. It has three times the floral diversity of the Amazon, and more than two-thirds of the 9000 species recorded here are found nowhere else on earth.

DISCOVER OUR UNIQUE BOTANICAL HERITAGE

Join botanist Dr Ernst van Jaarsveld on a captivating excursion to explore the botanical richness of the Cederberg. He is a specialist in succulent plants and other drought-adapted flora and a promoter of ecological gardening. During the weekends of August 9th and 10th and August 16th and 17th, discover the 755 indigenous plant species that grow in the Bushmans Kloof Reserve, including fynbos and rooibos.

Dates: 9th to 10th August and 16th to 17th August

 

Bushmans Kloof Rock Art Background

Explore the reserve

Daily nature excursions in the company of our experienced guides will reveal the incredible biodiversity of this delicate wilderness ecosystem. Learn about the journey of the reserve to conservation champion, and delve into our ongoing efforts to preserve and protect some of Africa’s most endangered flora and fauna.

After dinner, a night drive shows the reserve in an entirely different light, with the opportunity to spot the rare nocturnal inhabitants of the Cederberg, including aardwolf, African wildcat, bat-eared fox and porcupine.

Bushmans Kloof Aerial Gardens View

Down the garden path

Seasonal produce from the Walled Garden provides the lodge chefs with endless inspiration for our unique culinary experiences.

Enjoy a guided tour of our extensive organic vegetable beds, food tunnels and fruit orchards.

Alongside the Heritage Centre, a medicinal herb garden allows guests to discover the traditional botanical remedies used by generations of the San and Khoikhoi people in the Cederberg.

Botanical bounty

Bushmans Kloof may, at first glance, appear to be an arid mountain wilderness. But look a little closer and you’ll discover the staggering botanical diversity of the reserve. In excess of 755 indigenous plant species have been identified on the reserve, many of them endemic to the Cederberg.

In the springtime (August - September) the region is world-famous for its dazzling display of wildflowers, daubing the landscape in a riot of colour. Though wildflower season transforms the reserve, there are botanical beauties to be discovered throughout the year, from the fabled Amaryllis Belladonna, or March Lilies, to delicate tubular flowers of colourful Ericaceae.

The Clanwilliam Cedar

Endemic to the mountains of the Cederberg, the Clanwilliam Cedar is facing extinction in the wild due to 20th-century logging, ongoing habitat loss and climate change. Through our annual tree-planting event, Bushmans Kloof has to date supported the planting of more than 800 cedar trees in wilderness areas surrounding the reserve.

This popular event includes the planting of cedar seeds that will be nurtured in the Bushmans Kloof nursery, as well as the planting of mature seedlings in the surrounding wilderness area.

Bushmans Kloof Rock Art Background

Birds & birding

Whether you’re planning a Birding Big Year, or are simply ticking African endemics off your life list, you’ll find plenty of feathered entertainment amid the Cederberg wilderness.

More than 180 species have been recorded on the reserve, from iconic birds of prey to lesser-known local species.

Spend some quiet time at the water’s edge and you’ll be rewarded with the tell-tale call of the iconic African fish eagle, while the flash and flitter of emerald-coloured sunbirds are common among the lodge gardens.

Wildlife on the Reserve

In tandem with our ongoing habitat conservation work, since 1995 Bushmans Kloof has poured enormous resources into reintroducing species that would have historically roamed these plains.

A particular conservation success story is our work with the Cape Mountain Zebra, an animal saved from the brink of extinction. Today Bushmans Kloof protects one of the world’s largest private herds of Cape Mountain Zebra. In addition to this icon of the mountains, the wildlife reintroduction programme has also seen the return of the magnificent Red Hartebeest, Grey Rhebok and the Ostrich, as well as smaller creatures such as the Bat-Eared Fox, African Wildcat, Cape Fox, Caracal and Cape Clawless Otter.

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