The Cederberg Mountains, which surround Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Resort & Wellness Retreat, offer ancient landscapes unlike anywhere else on Earth. This spectacular, mountainous region was once home to a dazzling variety of flora and fauna, which included endangered species such as the black rhino and the now extinct Quagga. In addition to the herds of elephants and lions, the land was shared by a human population of bushman, who embraced a nomadic lifestyle and left spectacular rock art that survives to this day.
The rock art that’s found in the Cederberg Mountains provides a precious insight into the culture and lifestyle of the ancient San Bushman who used paints made out of ochre rock, white clay and charcoal to create these vivid images. Depicting religious rituals as well as everyday life, some of the rock art sites date back almost 10,000 years and offer a glimpse of what life must have been like in the Cederberg during the prehistoric era.
The Cederberg Mountains underwent significant change during the 1900s, when the evolution of farms and agricultural development in the region took over and much of the ancient landscape was destroyed to make way for farming practices. Thankfully, in 1991 Bill and Mark McAdam set about restoring the landscape to its original splendour. The pair purchased a valley covering 7500 hectares with the idea of creating a game reserve and retreat. By 1995, the site’s original manor house had been carefully restored and the fynbos brought back to life thanks to the reintroduction of indigenous animals and plant species such as the Cape Mountain Zebra and Clanwilliam Yellowfish. Bushmans Kloof opened as lodge in 2000 and was acquired by Red Carnation Hotels in 2004. That same year, the Cape Floral Region, which includes the hotel property, was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations World Heritage Committee on account of its world class terrestrial biodiversity.
As visitors to the Lodge will quickly discover, Bushmans Kloof is understandably proud of this biodiversity and keen to protect it. Whilst offering its guests an unforgettable stay, the hotel also works closely with local farmers to provide education and opportunities in conservation. Through its Agter-Pakhuis Conservancy programme, Cederberg farmers are educated about the benefits of eco-tourism and the possibility of creating conservation areas out of disused farmland.
During your visit, as you explore the reserve and it surroundings, learn about the ways that Bushmans Kloof not only protects the local environment, but also cares for the community. Through the Footprints of the Future initiative, local children are able to learn about eco-tourism, conservation by spending the day at Bushmans Kloof. Be sure to admire the Cederberg Mountain’s eponymous Cedar trees which have been saved from extinction thanks to the partnership between Bushmans Kloof and Cape Nature, who host an annual Cedar tree planting event that has helped boost the area’s Cedar tree population significantly. If you’re extremely lucky, you might event spot the very rare Cape Mountain Leopard on one of the hotel’s Nature Drive. The hotel is well known for supporting the Cape Leopard Trust, which provides funds to acquire GPS collars that contain tracking devices and helps protect this precious and illusive inhabitant of the Cederberg Mountains.
Discover the ancient beauty of the Cederberg Mountains and its rock art sites at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Resort & Wellness Retreat.
Image Credits: All images courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels.