Environmental Sustainability

Caring for our natural environment

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat is the proud Global Winner of Wildlife Conservations Programs in the Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Awards (2009), and won the coveted Relais & Châteaux Environment Trophy in 2007. Its entire operation is based on sound environmental conservation practices. This covers a wide spectrum, from the implementation of a comprehensive reserve management plan, ongoing monitoring of water quality, rainfall, soil erosion, vegetation cover and wildlife to prevent degradation, to our environmentally friendly solid waste disposal and advanced Biolytix waste water processing system.

All management actions are governed by a comprehensive Environmental Management Plan, ratifed by the Bushmans Kloof Conservation Trust. Each trustee is an expert in a particular field including wildlife management, botany, archaeology and cultural heritage. Bushmans Kloof makes regular use of the services of the Nature Conservation Corporation, an independent environmental management consultancy.

We ensure tourists make minimal impacts on the environment through implemention of the following:

  • Strict protocol is adhered to at archaeological and rock art sites
  • Guests are educated in terms of the protection and respect for rock art sites
  • Particularly sensitive rock art sites are closed to the public, but interpreted through high-quality MS Power Point presentations
  • Only indigenous wildlife species are introduced on the reserve
  • Irrigation of the gardens is done through micro-jet irrigation and at judicious times to limit unnecessary evaporation
  • Treated grey water is used to irrigate the larger grassed areas
  • Only biodegradable detergents are used
  • Guests are encouraged to assist in the property’s water saving policies and are made aware of the need for water conservation in the Western Cape
  • Lodge sewage is treated in a Biolytix system (raw sewage is broken down by worms)
  • All non-organic waste is transported off the property to the Clanwilliam municipal dump site
  • Organic waste is used as mulch and compost in the gardens
  • All the swimming pools are salt chlorinated
  • Vehicles are prohibited from driving off-road
  • All roads are maintained annually
  • Hiking trails are carefully marked and maintained
  • All firewood in the lodge is sourced from alien vegetation such as Port Jackson Willow
  • All infrastructural development follows strict environmental scoping protocols before submission for final approval from the regional district municipality

The lodge monitors enviromental impact through the following steps:

  • Waste levels are monitored and reported on a monthly basis
  • Hazardous chemicals are stored in a secure place, kept on register and reported on monthly
  • Roads and infrastructure are monitored annually
  • Together with Bushmans Kloof’s resident archaeologist Siyakha Mguni, Professor John Parkington, Head of the Archaeology department at the University of Cape Town (UCT), monitors the rock art on a continuous basis
  • Wildlife populations are counted from the air annually
  • The Bushmans Kloof Conservation Trust meets bi-annually
  • An internal and external environmental audit is carried out on an annual basis.

The Eglishman's Grave

Bushmans Kloof is also the custodian of the legendary ‘Englishman’s Grave’. This is an interesting and poignant site, and one that enriches the cultural heritage of this fascinating place. We maintain this lonely gravesite that bears the simple inscription, ‘Brave and True’. The memorial dates back to the Anglo Boer War, and belongs to a young British soldier, Vinicombe Winchester Clowes, a lieutenant in the First Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders. The memorial was erected by his mother after he died here on 30 January 1901 at the age of 21, when British forces were attempting to prevent incursions into the Cape Colony by the Boer Commandos under General Smuts.

His mother travelled from her home in Hertfordshire, and had the gravestone constructed over the simple hole where her son had been buried. For many years, Mrs Clowes made an annual visit to the her son’s grave to lay a wreath there; a considerable challenge when you consider that it involved 5 weeks at sea in both directions, as well as a day’s drive upon arrival.