The crown of the Cederberg

It’s not every day that you get to visit one of South Africa’s premier luxury accommodations

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It’s not every day that you get to visit one of South Africa’s premier luxury accommodations and experience top-end quality at its best, and all for a good cause. The boutique getaway of Bushmans Kloof in the Cederberg is an escape like no other.

And to take such a trip requires the right type of vehicle. The new Ford Mustang seemed a fitting steed to take on the winding roads up to the luxury retreat, where every desire is met with a smile.

The Mustang was effortless on the N7 highway from Cape Town to Clanwilliam, with the 2.3-litre eco-boost turbo barely breaking a sweat at 120km/h. The engine note is commanding without being over the top, as if somebody had punched a hole in your exhaust. Nothing like the most refined Ford I’ve ever driven, with impressive handling and braking—not something one would expect from an American muscle car.

And this is all muscle, getting you 0-100 km/h in five seconds, just one second off from the 5.0 V8 model, and achieves a top speed close to 250km/h. Within three hours we had reached the entrance to Bushmans Kloof in the rocky Cederberg.

With 19-inch low profile Pirelli tyres, I was a little concerned about the last seven kilometres of gravel but was pleasantly surprised to see the smoothest dirt road in the world. They clearly spend a lot of time maintaining the road, making sure that all the luxury vehicles that visit the area reach the lodge in good spirits.

Before long, we had reached the famed lodge that is five stars all the way. Rooms start at R6 000 per night on winter special, and deluxe suites can go for a lot more. But it is worth every penny, and worth saving up for special occasions.

The food is part of the deal and is of top class too, with highly-trained chefs. The portions are gourmet and will appeal to a wide variety of taste buds. We tried several of Bouchard Finlayson wines, a boutique winery in the Western Cape that is connected to the lodge. Their pinot noir is off the charts and well worth a taste.

And speaking of taste, the lodge owners, Mrs and Mrs Tollman, keep a keen eye on all aspects of the lodge, and have yearly visits from the UK. You can certainly see that no expense has been spared and because there are only 16 units on the large 71 000-hectare estate, you get a feeling of isolation, while still being able to use the exclusive spar, fine dine and enjoy the company of others.

Koro Lodge, the private villa, provides a fully independently catered for experience for families and friends travelling together, which includes the services of a guide with a game-viewing vehicle and a dedicated chef and hostess.

Malaria- and predator-free, Bushmans Kloof is a sanctuary for many indigenous plants, animals and birds, including the endangered Cape mountain zebra. It is also home to over 130 Bushman rock art sites, is recognised as one of South Africa’s Natural Heritage Sites and is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

It bases its entire business ethos on preserving the precious natural environment while providing guests with the ultimate African wilderness experience in the beautiful surroundings of the Cederberg Wilderness area, which forms part of the Cape Floral Region—a recognised World Heritage Site.

Worldwide recognition

In 2010, it was listed on the coveted Condé Nast Traveller USA as one of the Top 50 Resorts in Africa in the World’s Best Awards, and for the past three years (2010 – 2012), was included in the Condé Nast Traveller UK Gold List for Best Hotels for Food in Africa, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean.

But it was not all fun and games as Bushmans Kloof in association with the TreadRight Foundation, CapeNature and the local Heuningvlei community, once again pulled out all the stops to host the 16th Annual Clanwilliam Cedar Tree Planting Ceremony.

At the event, 380 trees were planted in the rural village of Heuningvlei. Around 200 conservationists, school children and families from all over the Western Cape joined this unique conservation initiative aimed at preserving the endangered Clanwilliam Cedar tree (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis).

The endemic Clanwilliam Cedar tree, listed as critically endangered on the Red Data List, faces extinction partly due to unsustainable exploitation, a lack of water and regular bushfires in the area.

Rory du Plessis, General Manager at Bushmans Kloof says, “This project is a great example of teamwork, a massive contributing factor to its success and popularity. The ceremony represents a deep commitment by all involved, to saving this special tree—a vital part of the Cederberg region’s biodiversity.”

The Cedar Tree project is just one of five sustainability projects that Bushmans Kloof is actively involved in, with support from the TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit supported by The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands that work to ensure the environment and communities we visit remain vibrant for generations to come.

Additional Bushmans Kloof sustainability projects include the protection and preservation of the indigenous Cape leopard; saving the Cape mountain zebra from extinction; conserving the

Clanwilliam yellowfish and preserving and protecting over 130 unique rock art sites, some dating back 10 000 years.

Besides being the only home of the Clanwilliam Cedar tree, it’s also home to mountain fynbos, including the laurel protea, the red disa, rooibos and the rare snow protea.

The cedar tree represents one of 1 000 surviving conifer species in the world. The number of trees has declined dramatically over the past two centuries, partly due to unsustainable exploitation and partly due to an increase in drought and fire frequency.

All in all, I had a tremendous time at the Kloof and would recommend it to anybody. And so too would I recommend the Mustang, which is the working man’s supercar. It’s the only true two-door sports car under one million rand, it turns heads while not leaving you digging deep with Ferrari maintenance costs.

I would suggest that this American Muscle Car is getting back to the sort of styling that made it a collector’s item in the mid to late 60s. If you’ve got a spare million lying around, think about buying a 5.0 GT and put it under cover for 30 years, it would be worth a fortune. Either way, you really can’t go wrong.

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