In the foothills of South Africa’s Cederberg Mountains, by the Great Karoo plains, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve is an ecologically rich expanse of forest, open plains, sandstone formations and flowering fynbos that’s especially noted for its abundant birdlife and great zebra herds. But it’s not just the pristine wilderness that makes this reserve so special; the land also holds evidence of its ancient tribes’ history, with their legacy still celebrated today. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat is tucked within this extraordinary land, making the reserve a breeze to explore right from the lodge.
Celebrating the Land’s Heritage
Set out into the prehistoric Cederberg Mountains and you’ll soon see reminders of early mankind through the vivid orange rock paintings that were created by the bushmen – some dating back as far as 10,000 years. With around 130 different rock art sites to navigate, they’re best visited with a local guide, who’ll be able to give you an insight into the story behind these paintings, too. To find out more, take a look inside the Bushmans Kloof Heritage Centre. Here, objects used for hunting, dancing and performing magic have all been displayed.
A lesser-known side to this cultural heritage is the legacy of ceremonial dance, left behind by indigenous communities and revived by Die Nuwe GrasKoue Trappers Riel dance troupe. Courtship, bravado and showmanship are all displayed in the different dances, which this troupe now showcases up to championship level, winning countless medals along the way. Seeing a live Riel dance performance is certainly a unique insight into the culture of this land.
Embracing the Great Outdoors
Without fear of predators and within the malaria-free zone, visitors to Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve have the freedom to explore the land’s rocky outcrops, forests and plains independently, and to hike to the reserve’s tumbling waterfalls. For an easy hike, follow the mountain trail right from the lodge, or for a more challenging trek, try the ravine or crystal pools trails. To maximize your chances of seeing the resident wildlife, take a nature drive with one of the lodge’s knowledgeable guides.
To follow the reserve’s waterways, set out in a canoe along the tributaries of the Olifants River system before jumping out to swim in the sandstone-formed pools. Then, why not try your hand at fly-fishing to catch the endemic Clanwilliam Yellowfish.
Taking Time to Reflect
In our busy lives it’s not often we get time to reflect. Make the most of your time in this remote setting and get creative by taking advantage of the watercolour sets laid out in each room and to see if you can capture the vivid colours of the landscape. When you’re not out exploring, why not take a crystal healing session at the wellness retreat or practice some early morning yoga.
With its exceptionally remote location and wide open skies, Bushmans Kloof is also hard to beat for its night sky. In fact, the reserve is thought to be the best place for stargazing in the Western cape. Take in the inky sky dusted with stars, and try to identify each constellation with the help of an expert guide.
However you choose to spend your time, you can be sure your stay at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat will be an experience you won’t forget.
Header image: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve © Red Carnation Hotels