The Cederberg Mountains rise up from the South African vled in dramatic fashion, forming steep rock walls divided by a succession of deep ravines. These massive sandstone blocks wear the imprints of time and nature—contorted spires weathered by wind and rain, the petrified ripples of an ancient seabed, fossilized remnants of extinct life forms. It’s easy to see why the indigenous San people deemed these rocks the ultimate canvas for telling their story, and why tens of thousands of years later, visitors come to Bushmans Kloof to learn about these ancient people and immerse themselves in the rugged beauty of the mountains.
Bushmans Kloof is an intimate lodge that connects you with the spiritual legacy of the San like no place else, granting access to the mesmerizing rock art paintings harbored by their private reserve. And when you’re not musing over the meanings of these ancient pictographs, a unique wilderness experience awaits. Venture out on your own into a predator-free sanctuary where Cape mountain zebras, black wildebeests, and all manner of antelope graze amidst fields of flowering fynbos. Or sit on your patio surrounded by sculpted rock, and let the ancient wonder of the region seep in.
Since its opening in 1996, Bushmans Kloof has shown a remarkable dedication to preserving the cultural legacy of the Cederberg region—an area that harbored one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. The lodge has served as a steward for more than 130 cave sites painted by the indigenous San people, actively working to ensure that these expressive murals will tell the story of the land’s original inhabitants for generations to come. These preservation efforts have helped the Rock Art earn distinction as a South African National Heritage Site.
The Bushman’s treasured murals show a lost version of the Cederberg, where flourishing plants and diverse fauna, including now-absent big game, lived in harmony. The Bushman property owners—originally Bill and Mark McAdam, and more recently the Tollman family—have made it their mission to restore the overgrazed land to its former splendor. In 1995, the McAdams initiated a long-term regeneration program for the veld and gradually began reintroducing indigenous flora and fauna, including the vulnerable Cape mountain zebra—the largest mammal in South Africa ever to face extinction. The Tollmans built upon these efforts and are the proud proprietors of a land that thrives once again.
Guests who book their stay through National Geographic will enjoy an exclusive, private presentation on the history behind the property’s Bushman paintings, given by the lodge’s rock art curator. Afterwards, you’ll head to the onsite Heritage Centre for a guided visit through galleries displaying Bushman artifacts, including ancient jewelry, hunting gear, and shamanistic paraphernalia. Cap off this memorable experience with a private drive through the lodge reserve to view some of its spectacular paintings.
Sustainability takes center stage at Bushmans Kloof, where a dedicated conservation team works to incorporate preservation processes into nearly every aspect of the lodge’s operation—from food composting and using energy-efficient lighting to recycling bath water for irrigation purposes. All lodge staff live in solar-powered housing on the property, which eliminates the need for daily transport and provides local families with secure employment and education opportunities. To further support the greater Cederberg region, the lodge buys local whenever possible.
Bushmans Kloof takes its sustainability efforts beyond the accommodations, sponsoring a variety of environmental conservation projects throughout its 18,000-acre wildlife reserve. The lodge has played a pivotal role in reintroducing critically endangered Clanwilliam cedar trees into the area, growing saplings in its nursery and hosting an annual tree-planting event. Lodge conservationists are actively monitoring the reproductive success of the vulnerable Cape mountain zebra, and are also putting measures in place that encourage spawning in Clanwilliam yellowfish, vulnerable due to overfishing in the area.
African Responsible Tourism Awards: Gold Award for ‘Best Contribution To Cultural Heritage Conservation’ (2016)
National Geographic Travel, World’s Best Ecolodges
Condé Nast, Readers’ Choice Awards: Best Resort in South Africa, 2015
Condé Nast, Readers’ Choice Awards: Top 100 Hotels & Resorts in the World, 2015
Condé Nast, World Savers Awards: Wildlife Conservation, Winner, 2009
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