Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat: The Experience

Located in Western Cape, South Africa

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat harbors one of the great cultural treasures of early human history: more than 130 ancient Bushman rock art sites, accessible only to guests of the lodge and select archaeologists and researchers. Beyond these magnificent open-air galleries lies a unique wildlife sanctuary—one that is predator-free, yet still harbors rare African wildlife. Enjoy the freedom to roam on your own amid the flowering scrublands of the Cape Floral Kingdom and the twisting rock formations of the Cederberg mountains, and spot grazing antelopes, baboons, wildebeests, and zebras. The lodge’s spectacular dining venues accentuate your connection to the landscape, taking you to tucked away corners of the reserve to enjoy meals under a star-sprinkled sky.

See our sample itinerary describing how you would experience this lodge during a 5-day stay.

Things to Do

The following experiences are included in the cost of your stay.

Rock Art Heritage

Discover the cultural and spiritual legacy of the ancient Bushman people on excursions to some of the lodge's 130 rock art sites—many dating back over 10,000 years. Examine pictographs of tribal dances, shamanistic visions, and daily rituals, and learn about the pigments used in the paintings. Choose from a variety of rock art tours, and then delve deeper into the Bushman way of life on a visit to the lodge’s onsite Heritage Centre, home to a rich collection of unearthed cultural artifacts.

Nature Drives and Walks

Venture out into the reserve with a Field Guide to discover the incredible biodiversity of the veld. Take in valleys blanketed in blooming wildflowers (July to October), and spot unique resident wildlife—from gemsboks and black wildebeests to Cape mountain zebras. Opt to go out after dark to spot intriguing nocturnal species, including aardwolves, African wildcats, and bat-eared foxes.

Hiking and Biking

Explore the nature reserve on foot or by mountain bike, choosing from one of two clearly marked trails. Opt for a leisurely trip across flat scrublands, or tackle rocky sandstone on a more challenging trail. For each excursion, the lodge provides backpacks filled with snacks, maps, and other useful items.

Fly-fishing

Borrow a set of lodge fishing equipment and cast a line at one of the reserve’s dams, catching (and releasing) Clanwilliam yellowfish, endemic to the area. Or set out on a full-day fly-fishing excursion to the Biedouw River, which weaves through a fertile valley at the western base of the TraTra Mountains.

Canoeing

Tributaries of the Olifants River flow through the Bushmans Kloof reserve, creating a vast network of waterways in the veld. Paddle down sparkling rivers, and then tie up your canoe for a refreshing swim.

Bird-watching

Bring binoculars on an early morning walk across the property, and try to spot some of the more than 150 resident bird species, including the African fish eagle, black harrier, and a variety of sunbirds.

Croquet

Gather friends and fellow travelers and borrow a lodge croquet set for a game on one of the property’s lush lawns.

Archery

Sharpen your aim while practicing archery on the lodge property.

Painting

There are few more intimate ways to interact with an environment than by rendering it by hand. For those with a creative streak (or those looking to find one) each accommodation at Bushmans Kloof has a watercolor set for guest use.

Special Interest Talks

Meet at the Homestead for a special interest talk, and hear from lodge experts on topics like birding, stargazing, entomology, and rock art. There are also regular opportunities to learn about sustainability projects sponsored by the lodge.

Stargazing

Clear skies are common in the Cederbergs, making it an ideal place to gaze at the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. Take a seat on your private patio after sunset and watch the night sky light up with sparkling and shooting stars.

Optional Activities and Experiences

The following experiences are offered at an additional cost.

Private Excursions

A private guide can be arranged for many of the aforementioned excursions, including nature drives and walks, hikes, bike rides, canoeing, fly-fishing, and bird-watching.

Wine Tasting

Head out with a group of no more than four on a guided excursion to the Cederberg Private Cellar, set within a wilderness area high in the mountains. Enjoy scenic views along the way, and then take a private tour of the winery followed by a tasting.

Extraordinary Dining Experiences

Opt for a picnic or a private meal in a magical setting. Dine in a river boma, listening to twittering birds and the murmurs of the Boontjies River as you dip your toes in its cooling waters. You may also wish to enjoy your evening meal in an exquisitely renovated shepherd’s house with entertainment provided by a local Riel revival dance troupe, or in the privacy of the walled garden.

Food and Drink

A highlight of any stay at Bushmans Kloof is enjoying one of the lodge’s spectacular dining experiences. Unique venues are set up throughout the property, each thoughtfully designed in harmony with the stunning natural attributes of the Cederberg Mountains. Savor contemporary Cape cuisine in a natural sandstone amphitheater, lit by a roaring fire and hundreds of twinkling candles and lanterns. Or enjoy an evening in the Homestead, a bastion of old-world elegance. Fresh, local, and organic are par for the course here, and native fynbos herbs and blossoms are incorporated into the cuisine. The lodge rounds out its extraordinary culinary offerings with high tea; wine tastings; traditional South African braais, or barbecues; and guided tours of the organic garden.

The Spa

The Cederberg region has a naturally soothing aura—it’s a place where an ancient spiritual legacy is physically channeled through the sandstone surroundings. The Spa at Bushmans Kloof fosters a deeper connection with this tranquil atmosphere, offering four treatment rooms that open to the outside, as well as an airy gazebo perched on the banks of the Boontjes River. Come here to rejuvenate with soothing therapies, and then step into a steam room of healing rock quartz crystals. The spa is also appointed with a mediation lounge, tranquility garden, and health bar.

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