Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat: About the Destination

Located in Western Cape, South Africa

Bushmans Kloof is situated amid the foothills of the Western Cape’s Cederberg Mountains, an area of rolling scrublands framed by dramatic sun-baked cliffs and otherworldly sandstone rock formations. The Cederberg is part of the Cape Floral Region, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its incredible biodiversity of endemic flora, or fynbos. The Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve protects 18,000 acres in the region, and serves as the steward for the property’s more than 130 documented Bushman rock art sites.

Places of Interest

Cederberg Wine Routes

Take a day to drive along one of the area’s three alluring wine routes: the West Coast, Darling, and Swartland. The scenic West Coast route winds through oceanfront vineyards and climbs over stunning mountains, providing spectacular views to accompany the excellent wines, while the Darling route boasts several renowned cellars, including Cloof and Grootte Post. Spanning a larger and more geographically diverse area, the Swartland route produces a variety of wines with distinct flavor and character. Pick the path that most intrigues you and set out for a day of sipping and cellar hopping.

Wupperthal Mission Village

Founded in the early 1800s by two German missionaries, Wupperthal remains a traditional Moravian mission town of thatched, whitewashed cottages. Step back in time in this remote and untouched riverside community, still home to the original missionary church, as well as a shoemaking factory and general trading store.

Lamberts Bay

Situated along South Africa’s western coast, this fishing village is known for its seafood, surfing, and seabird colonies. Bring a board and ride the waves, or park yourself at an open-air restaurant on the water and munch on crayfish while watching enormous flocks of Cape gannets and cormorants fly by.

Wildlife and Natural History

The petrified ripples of an ancient seabed can still be spotted on the grounds of Bushmans Kloof—now a veld framed by the 500-year-old Cederberg Mountains. As waters receded in this one-time marine ecosystem, exposed sandstone peaks were eroded by winds and rain, creating the unusual rock formations and twisting spires that now punctuate the Cederberg landscape. Flowering plants began to flourish in fertile valleys, which also attracted abundant animal and bird life.

Today, Bushmans Kloof harbors more than 755 plant species—an astounding biodiversity, packed into a mere 18,000 acres. Between July and October, the veld transforms into a patchwork of color, with thousands of fynbos flowers blooming alongside herbs, succulents, and heathers. Thirty-six types of mammals call the reserve home—including several antelope species, baboons, black wildebeest, and Cape mountain zebras—and 150 bird species have been spotted here.

People and Culture

The indigenous hunter-gatherer Bushman people found a home in the Cederbergs more than 120,000 years ago, making use of the region’s many natural cave dwellings and thriving amid the fertile, wildlife-rich valleys. They lived peacefully for thousands of years, but eventually entered into conflict with the Bantu people, who migrated in from the north around the 11th century. When the Dutch arrived in the 1600s, the Bushman suffered great losses at the hands of the colonists, who would ultimately drive them from their ancestral homeland. While the Bushman no longer inhabit this part of South Africa, their legacy lives on through their mystical artistry, painted on the walls of their ancient cave dwellings.

Go with Nat Geo

  • Customize a Trip

    Want to plan the trip of your dreams? Create a custom trip around this lodge.