28 August 2012 by Julienne du Toit

Bushmans Kloof a winner

Once just a conglomeration of degraded rooibos and small livestock farms, Bushmans Kloof has received recognition for restoring to wholeness a dramatic part of the Cederberg mountains north of Cape Town.

One of the elegant buildings at Bushmans Kloof. Photo Chris Marais

Up against about a thousand resorts around the world, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat near Clanwilliam won the Virtuoso Sustainable Tourism Leadership Award earlier this month. 

Bushmans Kloof is home to rock art created thousands of years ago. Photo Chris Marais

The 7 500ha reserve in the Cederberg mountains is home to 1 of the greatest ‘outdoor art galleries’ in the world because of the 130 ancient rock art sites that gave the property its name.

Bushmans Kloof, only a few hours' drive north of Cape Town, runs a luxury resort in the middle of these spectacularly adorned mountains. Its dedication to conservation – including the protection of the vulnerable Cape mountain zebra, Cape leopard and even the endemic Clanwilliam yellowfish – is part of the reason it won.

The other part comes from the work it has done with the local community. This includes helping the nearby Elizabethfontein Primary School with environmental education, and also helping local farmers to be included in 1 of the 3 intersecting conservancies here. Funds generated by ecotourism are invested in skills creation and stimulating jobs in nearby Wupperthal.

Its dedication to conservation – including the protection of the vulnerable Cape mountain zebra, Cape leopard and even the endemic Clanwilliam yellowfish – is part of the reason it won.

It’s not the 1st time the resort has won recognition for its commitment to sustainable tourism. In 2009, Bushmans Kloof was the global winner of the Wildlife Conservation Programmes in the Conde Nast Traveler World Saver Awards.

The property is owned by Red Carnation, a family-run collection of boutique hotels around the world. Its sister hotels in South Africa include the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town, and the Oyster Box Hotel near Durban.

Rare bontebok graze on open plains that were once planted with rooibos and other crops. Photo Chris Marais

Category: Responsible Tourism


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