Here at Bushmans Kloof, we are well aware of our extraordinary environment, and feel ourselves beholden to the land that sustains a plethora of plants and creatures, including ourselves.
That’s why Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat is the proud winner of a host of ecological awards, including the Condé Nast World Savers Award for Wildlife and Conservation Programmes, and the coveted Relais and Chateaux Environment Trophy. We are proud to be within the Cederberg wilderness area within the Cape Floral Kingdom.
The Cape Leopard Trust is an exceptional organisation dedicated to the preservation of the Cape’s predator diversity. Though Bushmans Kloof is predator-free, we are deeply committed the protection and preservation of all indigenous wildlife in South Africa. The partnership between Bushmans Kloof and the Cape Leopard Trust provides invaluable information pertaining to Leopard ecology in the area.
Bushmans Kloof is one of the main sponsors of the Trust’s GPS collaring project, as the Leopard is the top predator within the Cederberg Mountains. It was in August 2005 that the first GPS collar was fitted to a Leopard for monitoring and research purposes, a first in Leopard research, allowing biologists to determine Leopard behaviour and movements in the Cederberg Mountains.
The Cape Mountain Zebra has a population of just 1200 animals worldwide. This number, though small, is a vast improvement on the 400 animals recorded in 1984. It is considered the largest mammal in South Africa ever to face extinction, a fate that its cousin, the Quagga, succumbed to at the turn of the century. Bushmans Kloof is the proud owner of one of the world’s largest privately owned herds, and we are wholeheartedly committed to the proliferation of this beautiful animal.
A project currently undertaken is to photograph and document each zebra on the property for a ‘studbook’, a valuable tool used to determine the reproductive success of individual zebras. This ‘family tree’ allows us to better understand the conditions needed for the continued success of this wildlife treasure.
On the Reserve with Celine Cousteau
Once the Olifants River system of the Cederberg Mountains was teeming with these golden beauties, but since the 1940s the population has seen a rapid decline. This is due to the introduction of Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass from the United States to improve sport fishing in the area. These species wrought huge devastation, devouring the eggs and juvenile populations of indigenous aquatic species, including the Clanwilliam Yellowfish.
Bushmans Kloof have initiated a project to prioritise the conservation of this highly endangered creature. We’re lucky to be a catchment area and nursery for the young fry (juvenile fish) and the project involves restocking the dams with Yellowfish fry. Gravel beds are laid at the mouth of the Boontjies River to assist Yellowfish to swim upstream for the spring spawning season.
To add to this endeavour, we have also re-introduced the Clanwilliam Redfin and Sawfin, also endemic to the Olifants River system. During the summer, this results in excellent catch-and-release fly-fishing in the gorgeous rock pools of the Boontjies and Perdekraal tributaries near the Bushmans Kloof lodge.
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, together with the Botanical Society and Western Cape Nature Conservation, has given its commitment to support the Clanwilliam Cedar Tree Project.
Bushmans Kloof grows saplings in its nursery and hosts an annual tree and seed planting ceremony in an effort to reintroduce this highly endangered tree into its natural habitat, and specifically around Bushmans Kloof.
The Cederberg mountains are named after the Clanwilliam Cedars (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis) that were once abundant on the upper slopes, and are now faced with possible extinction. The number of trees has declined dramatically over the past two centuries, partly due to unsustainable exploitation, and partly due to an increase in fire frequency.
The Clanwilliam Cedar is listed as endangered on the Red Data List, and has been short-listed onto a global list of 43 conifer species that are worthy of special conservation attention.