Truly a remarkable piece of wilderness. Close to heaven, but down to earth.
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat is a sought after place to visit, not only does this exclusive 16 room en suite boutique lodge offer all the opulent luxury you could aspire to, its in a remote and pristine wilderness that astounds with its dramatic vistas.
A stay here encompasses time around the homestead with it’s bar, wine cellar, restaurant, terrace and two lounges that invite you to make yourself at home. On our chilly nights in we snuggled up to the fireplace with a glass of red in our hands. There are four pools, one heated. A fascinating heritage centre. Spa and fitness centre. As well as open dining in Makana and secret dining spots to discover.
Yet it’s the Cederberg wilderness that is the true hero here. The rock art, the game drives, sundowners on the plains between the tiny flowers and the opportunity to be close to nature and the big skies – and in our case the full moon.
Beyond the obvious and the beauty, here a strong sense of community, a commitment to nature and dedication to conservation with a focus on the Cape leopard and annual Cedar Tree planting. It’s easy to see why Bushman’s Kloof is regularly voted one of the top resorts in Africa.
About Bushmans Kloof.
Bushmans Kloof is a luxury oasis of 7500 hectares in the Cederberg mountains with majestic views, staggering rock formations, open plains and varied outdoor activities. There are 16 luxurious rooms and suites, award-winning Cape cuisine and a wellness centre deeply rooted in Nature, all combining to create a unique wilderness adventure. Koro Lodge provides a fully independently catered for experience for families and friends travelling together, with private guide and game viewing vehicle, a dedicated chef and hostess.
Ryan Weakley joined Bushmans Kloof from Mombo Lodge in the Okavango Delta in Botswana in January 2016 and his food stays true to Bushmans Kloof’s philosophy of capturing the essence of the Cape Floral Kingdom and showcasing the organic produce of this unique region. Guests can expect the simplicity of fresh ingredients combined with a sophisticated style of cuisine.
Nature Drives and Walks.
Guides are available to take you on walking tours or game drives in the reserve, and as much as you may head out in search of game, its the ever-changing landscapes that will take your breath away. Sundowners and picnics are ever-popular, served at scenic spots throughout the drive. On the one morning, as we came around one bend, set up for our indulgence, was a pancake station with the chef making a fresh batch that we could enjoy overlooking the dam.
Wildlife on the Reserve.
Bushmans Kloof protects one of the largest private herds of Cape Mountain Zebra in the world, an animal saved from the brink of extinction. The Cape Mountain Zebra is identified by its bold black and white stripes, as opposed to its savannah-dwelling cousin, the Burchell’s Zebra, which has brown ‘shadow’ stripes, and a creamy undercoat.
The wildlife reintroduction programme has seen the return of the Bontebok, Red Hartebeest, Grey Rhebok and the Ostrich. Smaller creatures such as the Bat-Eared Fox, African Wildcat, Cape Fox, Caracal (African Lynx), Cape Clawless Otter, Baboon, Rock Hyrax (Dassie), Klipspringer, Aardwolf and Aardvark also roam the plains and rocky outcrops of the reserve.
Also found here is the elusive and protected Cape Leopard.
Rock Art and Heritage.
Bushman tribes have lived in these mountains for 120000 years and are said to be mankind’s oldest nation. Here, we find evidence of their lives on rocks stained with oxide pigments, honoured and protected today. Bushmans Kloof is the custodian of over 130 unique rock art sites, some as old as 10000 years. These sites are visited as one of the activities on offer.
In 2004, the Bushmans Kloof Heritage Centre was opened, with a rich collection of priceless artefacts, jewellery, dancing sticks, hunting kits, musical instruments, digging sticks and magical paraphernalia. Well worth spending time in.
Our guide, talking us through the rock art at one of the outcrops.
One of the main attractions is the rich offering of Rock art, evidence of early man from thousands of years back. On our morning excursion we took a drive to this site for a closer look.
Organic Garden Tours.
Take a tour of the organic garden where abundant fruit trees, herbs and vegetables are grown seasonally. The kitchen gardens are enhanced by indigenous species with medicinal qualities that you can learn about.
The setting is therapeutic enough, but if you’d like to partake in some spoiling, the Spa offers four rooms for couple or single treatments, with heated beds, fluffy towels, scented candles and relaxed music. The therapists are dedicated to restoring beauty and balance and spa journeys are personalised for each guest.
The Crystal Steam Room is a heated haven featuring a central block of pure rock quartz crystal that is renowned as a ‘master healer’ and is maintained at a temperature of 42-45C with moist aromatic heat. The warm steam eases stress, relieves muscle tension and increases metabolism while boosting the immune system. For guests who enjoy a daily workout, Bushmans Kloof has a mini-gym and yoga mats.
History of the Cederberg.
The Cederberg Mountains are 500 million years old and once supported vegetation, birds, fish, reptiles and mammals in perfect balance. Elephant, Lion and Black Rhino were abundant and endless Antelope herds roamed the land. The nomadic Bushman called this home and left a legacy of mystical paintings on rocky overhangs that depict their myths, rituals and the abundance of life that surrounded them. Sadly, by 1900 the Bushman culture was close to extinction and the herds had given way to farms and agriculture.
In 1991 Bill and Mark McAdam purchased seven farms in a valley encompassing 7500 hectares of overgrazed and neglected land. They made it their mission to create an unparalleled retreat and game reserve, and started by removing the sheep, allowing the fynbos to slowly but surely return to its former splendour and reintroducing game.
In 2000 Bushmans Kloof Lodge was opened so that the public could enjoy this remarkable location. It was accredited to the prestigious Relais and Chateaux association, and remains amongst the world’s premiere eco-lodges. 2004 saw the United Nations World Heritage Committee recognise the Cape Floral Region as a World Heritage Site. In the same year, the Tollman Family Trust acquired the property. Internationally renowned hoteliers of South African origin, the Tollman family continue the McAdams’ principles of conservation and compassion, as well as sharing the unique qualities of South Africa and its heritage.
Pack for a Purpose.
Bushmans Kloof is a proud member of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travellers to make a lasting impact in the communities at their travel destination. By saving just a few kilos of space in their suitcase to bring much needed supplies for the hotel’s chosen project, they can make a big difference in the lives of local children and families.
A very lucky find on the morning walk, the shedded skin of a Black Spitting Cobra under a rocky outcrop, very fresh and perfectly intact. Also about 1.6m long, a big guy. Was clear to see how it had just slipped out of it.
Bushmans Kloof is a member of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection.
Red Carnation Hotels is an award-winning collection of five- and four-star family-run boutique hotels in London, Dorset, Guernsey, Ireland, Geneva, Florida and South Africa. They all share the qualities that win Red Carnation so many prestigious awards – splendid luxury, generous hospitality, inventive and traditional cuisine, private art collections, passionate service and loyal staff committed to creating richly rewarding experiences for all their guests. For more information go to www.redcarnationhotels.com
The 5-star Relais & Châteaux Bushmans Kloof lodge was voted Best Hotel in the World (Travel + Leisure USA 2009), Number 1 in the Top 25 Resorts and Safari Camps in Africa (Condé Nast Traveler USA Gold List 2014), and one of the Top 3 Hotels & Resorts in the World (Condé Nast Traveler USA Readers’ Choice Awards 2015). Easy to see why.
For more information connect with Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat at http://www.bushmanskloof.co.za/ and follow them on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook for more of an idea of what’s on offer.
For reservations contact: Tel: +27 21 437 9278
Disclaimer. I was invited by Five Star PR and very generously hosted by Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat throughout. Many of the property pics are provided. Information on history of the property, provided.