Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat, in association with The TreadRight Foundation, CapeNature and the local Heuningvlei community, once again pulled out all the stops to host the 16th Annual Clanwilliam Cedar Tree Planting Ceremony on Saturday 18 May 2019. Children from the local Elizabethfontein Primary School charmed the crowd with their Riel dancing, while the team from Bushmans Kloof prepared a potjiekos feast for all attendees.
At the event 200 trees were planted in the rural village of Heuningvlei. Around 250 conservationists, school children and families from all over the Western Cape joined this unique conservation initiative aimed at preserving the endangered Clanwilliam Cedar Tree (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis). Although not all have survived, since inception, almost 3,500 trees have been planted, both in the wilderness and in the groves at Heuningvlei.
The ceremony also included the planting of Cedar Tree seeds by the children in attendance, that will be nurtured in the Bushmans Kloof nursery and transplanted safely back into the wilderness in the future.
The endemic Clanwilliam Cedar Tree, listed as critically endangered on the Red Data List, faces extinction partly due to unsustainable exploitation, lack of water and regular bush fires in the area. Rory du Plessis, general manager at Bushmans Kloof says, “This project is a great example of teamwork, a massive contributing factor to its success and popularity. The ceremony represents a deep commitment by all involved to saving this special tree - a vital part of the Cederberg region’s biodiversity.”
The endemic Clanwilliam cedar tree (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis) occurs only in the Cederberg mountains, 270km north of Cape Town. It represents one of 1000 surviving conifer species in the world. The number of trees has declined dramatically over the past two centuries, partly due to unsustainable exploitation and partly due to an increase in drought and fire frequency.
The Cedar Tree project is just one of five sustainability projects that Bushmans Kloof is actively involved in, with support from The TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit supported by The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands that works to ensure the environment and communities we visit remain vibrant for generations to come.
Bushmans Kloof is also involved in a number of other sustainability projects, including the protection and preservation of the indigenous Cape Leopard, of which the Anatolian Shepard Dog project plays an integral part; saving the Cape Mountain Zebra from extinction; conserving the Clanwilliam Yellowfish and protecting over 130 unique rock art sites on the property, some dating back 10,000 years.
The Cederberg, situated just over three hours from Cape Town, is a World Heritage Site. Besides being the only home of the Clanwilliam Ceder Tree, it’s also home to mountain fynbos, including the laurel protea, the red disa, rooibos and the rare snow protea.