The reforestation sites of the Trees for Tourism Program are all located in the Western Cape of South Africa. The properties in which the reforestation sites are located are all aimed at nature conservation and rehabilitation. Reforestation takes place in previously disturbed areas which are in dire need of active restoration.
Private nature reserve – Overstrand – Overberg
Farm 215, part of the Walkerbay Fynbos Conservancy, is a protected area under Stewardship of Cape Nature and the first reforestation site of Trees for Tourism. The 800 hectares of this reserve is covered with different fynbos vegetation types, riparian areas and some indigenous afromontane forest remnants.
The reforestation site is an area along a stream which was previously used for agriculture and subsequently infested with alien invasive vegetation. The invasive vegetation has been removed and reforestation pilots were done in 2007-2010. On the basis of the success of these pilots, 10’000 trees were planted out in 2011, followed each year by allocations of a few thousand trees.
Far removed from the daily grind of life, farm 215 is a private, intimate and secluded retreat where you can enjoy spacious accommodation, tranquility, an overpowering sense of space and the unique nature of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Farm 215 is the base station of the African Horse Company, organising outrides and multi-day horsetrails and provides access to an extensive network of hiking and mountain-bike trails in the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy.
The Grootvadersbosch Conservancy was registered in 1992 as the first Conservancy in the Western Cape. The Grootvadersbosch Conservancy represents 16 private landowners who are committed to protecting the natural environment. The natural vegetation includes indigenous forest, mountain fynbos, renosterveld and lowland fynbos.
Grootvadersbosch Conservancy has implemented a “working-for-water” project, employing 132 previously un-employed people in clearing and restoration work, including the development of an indigenous tree nursery. Since 2014, 960ha has been cleared from alien invasive trees. The reforestation site was previously densely invaded by invasive vegetation and is surrounded by indigenous forest. The site has been partly cleared to support reforestation. The Conservancy is piloting a new approach to rehabilitation and reforestation by using the pioneer properties of black wattle and bugweed to provide shade for the young indigenous trees. As the indigenous trees become more dominate, the invasive trees are gradually removed.
Grootvadersbosch Conservancy is developing 140 km of linked mountain bike and hiking trails across the region from Heidelberg and Suurbraak and there are several self-catering and guesthouse options in the Conservancy.
Rondevlei – Wilderness
Reflections Eco- Reserve is situated adjacent to Rondevlei-lake, a Ramsar site, and is surrounded by the Garden Route National Park. Reflections Eco-Reserve is operated as a private nature reserve and is completely off-grid: all electricity is generated by a combination of solar and wind power.
The 50 Hectares, previously comprised of pine plantations, were cleared in 2007 and extensive rehabilitation has taken place since then. Reflections Eco-Reserve now comprises mixed Fynbos as well as Strandveld Forest patches and extensive wetland and reed-beds adjacent to the lake. Before joining the Trees for Tourism Program, in excess of 3000 indigenous trees have been planted out. All trees planted out in the reserve are sourced from a nearby nursery which started as an empowerment programme for previously disadvantaged communities.
The self-catering lodge has only 4 chalets to ensure maximum privacy and exclusivity. Reflections Eco-Reserve is the perfect place for anyone looking for a peaceful and authentic nature experience whilst experiencing the myriad attractions of the Garden Route. The Reserve has its own SATOUR and FGASA registered guide for birding and general nature walks.
Klein River Cheese Farm
Near Stanford – Overstrand – Overberg
The rehabilitation site on the 230 ha Klein River Cheese Farm, 7km outside Stanford, is a dedicated project to restore one of the few remaining riparian forests on the Klein River. The forest is 8ha in extent. Over the years the forest has been degraded by settlers planting exotic trees for harvesting. There are areas of original forest which remain and include a swathe of milkwoods as well as Breede River yellowwoods.
The owners of Klein River Cheese Farm have declared it their lifetime legacy to restore the forest. . Many of the exotics have already been removed, resulting in an increase in the flow of the river and the natural regeneration of indigenous trees has been encouraging. Planting out of indigenous trees has started in 2017.
Klein River Cheese is a small family-run artisanal cheese factory which crafts award-winning cheese. The farm is on an environmentally sustainable journey. Lately a 27kW solar power plant has been commissioned. The picnic shed and cheese deli offer relaxed nature bound experiences for the visitors to the Klein River Farmstead.