Situated in the heart of the Western Cape and flanked by the Cederberg Mountains, Bushmans Kloof is a vast wilderness of open plains fed by the rivers that have been so intrinsic to the Bushmen tribes for over 100,000 years. While setting out in search of traces of these tribes’ heritage, which remain within the reserve’s iconic sandstone formations, embrace the nature that surrounds you at your luxury lodge, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve.
Named one of the World’s Best Eco Lodges by National Geographic, Bushmans Kloof places a great focus on sustainability, from electricity that’s powered by geysers to energy-saving light bulbs. Recycled water is used in the organic garden, and support is given to the local community, with a nearby village for staff and their families to live in. And preserving Bushman Kloof’s ancient sites, while promoting wildlife conservation, are at the heart of the lodge’s operations, ensuring the unique land is preserved for many generations to come.
Exploring the Reserve
The lodge’s surrounding landscape is a playground for lovers of the great outdoors, with several walking trails catering to different levels, from the Mountain Trail – a relatively easy, one to two-hour route – to the Ravine, which is a challenging hike past steep gorges and breathtaking vistas.
For the more experienced, there’s the Crystal Pools Trail, a scenic walk that’s best done with a guide, past cascading waterfalls and secluded swimming holes. For more of a relaxing stroll, guests can take a guided tour around the lodge’s organic vegetable gardens and walled orchard, while being introduced to the flora and fauna of the region. Alongside the sprawling fynbos for which this region is so well known, there’s an extraordinarily high concentration of bird species, making it a popular spot for bird watching.
Bushmans Kloof is also considered one of the best places in the world for stargazing, so many guests take the chance to head out with a guide in the twilight hours to admire the glittering sky, while finding out about the southern hemisphere’s astrology.
Other land activities available around the reserve include archery and croquet – hire a croquet set from the lodge to play a game or two in the gardens – and tours can be taken to the reserve’s rock art sites, which show evidence of the bushman tribes who lived on the land several thousand years ago. Visitors can gain an even greater insight at Bushman’s Kloof Heritage Centre, which displays a collection of ancient artefacts, including instruments, hunting kits and dancing sticks once used by the community.
To get offshore and explore the surrounding waterways, canoes can be rented from the dam or visitors can simply take a swim in the clear blue waters. Fly-fishing excursions go out to the Biedouw River, too, and guests can hire equipment to do it at their own pace. The dams are renowned for Clanwilliam Yellowfish and various other colourful species.
Outside of the reserve there are several wine routes, including the Darling – a picturesque trail encompassing several renowned cellars – and the West Coast route in the Olifants River Valley, which offers stunning views over the river and coastline. By booking a private day-tour from the lodge to Cederberg Private Cellar, guests also get to enjoy a 4×4 adventure through the wilderness.
To sample the local tea, visitors can head to Rooibos Tea Factory and Elandsberg farm for one of their eco-safari tours. This region is especially beautiful during spring, when flowers come into bloom and splash the fields with vibrant strips of colour.
But guests looking to take it easy needn’t leave the lodge at all; sprawling wilderness and emerald pastures make for an ideal place to unwind, and the spa provides a range of meditation and tailored treatment sessions designed to rejuvenate body and soul.
To make the most of Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and its natural surroundings, take advantage of the Nurture in Nature stay, which enables guests to truly delve into the heart of South Africa’s awe-inspiring wilderness.
Image credits: Header photo of the Cederberg Mountains © iStock / RapidEye. Rock paintings in the Cederberg Mountains © iStock / Henk Badenhorst. Fynbos in the Leucodendron landscape © iStock / skiipad. Stargazing © iStock. A vineyard in the Cederberg Mountains © iStock / lienkie.