One of my favorite places on the planet is Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat. Situated at the foothills of the Cederberg mountains in South Africa, Bushmans Kloof is a place of ancient and untamed beauty with the kind of mystical rock formations, wide-open plains, bountiful flora and fauna, and 10,000-year-old rock art sites that instantly summon a sense of peace and tranquility in me. In fact, it was here three years ago, that we chose to celebrate ROAR AFRICA’s 10-year anniversary with a Downton Abbey themed party that the Bushmans Kloof team pulled off in inimitable and spectacular fashion. As a place that I long to return to on a regular basis for much-needed R&R (along with visits to the incredible on-site Elemis Spa), I was intrigued to experience their new villa, Cederberg House.
Designed by my great friend and renowned architect Anton de Kock, Cederberg House was designed as a home away from home for families or a group of friends who want the intimacy of their own private space, but with access to the all the facilities that Bushmans Kloof offers.
Built in grand style, with an eclectic combination of ethnic and South African-colonial art and furnishings, everything here has been created with comfort, beauty and luxury in mind. As such Cederberg House functions as a secluded sanctuary with two large master suites that are connected via sumptuous dining and living spaces, all of which lead out to a generous outdoor terrace and pool. A stay at Cederberg House comes with your own private guide and vehicle too. I’ve long maintained that family-run establishments have an edge over commercially-run properties in that more often than not, they evoke the passion and commitment of their owners. Bushmans Kloof is no exception. As one of three South African properties in the Red Carnation Hotel Group (with boutique hotels in Europe, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A) that are owned by the Tollman family, Cederberg House has been lavishly furnished by none other than Toni Tollman, who as head of global design for the group, has drawn on her strong connections to Africa in the villa’s aesthetic direction.
‘We set out to create something that seamlessly connects our guests to the surrounding landscape whilst maintaining total privacy and seclusion,’ explains Toni, who drew at all times on a natural and timeless aesthetic. ‘Our approach was to complement the wilderness experience whilst delivering the ultimate in comfort, hospitality and service.’ Recognition of just how special Bushmans Kloof is as a property came in 2016 when it was inducted into National Geographic’s ‘Unique Lodges of the World’. This multi award-winning Relais & Châteaux property has been afforded African Natural Heritage Site status too, in acknowledgement of the preservation of the 130 sites of ancient San rock art on the reserve.
The food at Bushmans Kloof is just as groundbreaking with executive Chef Charles Hayward bringing a contemporary style of Cape cuisine that reflects the eclectic flavors of the region. Using the freshest ingredients from Bushmans Kloof’s large organic garden, he produces a veritable feast for the eyes, senses and palate. So much so, it was included on the coveted Condé Nast Traveler UK Gold List as one of the Best Hotels for Food in Africa, Middle East and the Indian Ocean.
Other initiatives worth mentioning are the Tollman family’s commitment to reviving the ‘Riel Dance’, a traditional ceremonial dance of the ancient Khoi and San civilization that until recently was in danger of becoming extinct. That the local Riel Dance troupe, called Die NuweGraskoue Trappers, won gold at the World Championships in Los Angeles in July 2015, means that Bushmans Kloof has placed one of South Africa’s oldest indigenous ethnic folk dances firmly on the global map – a major feat for this remote community.
All this of course comes back to the ethos of Bushmans Kloof and one that we at ROAR AFRICA hold dear, that by engaging guests with local heritage and culture you uplift communities and foster a sense of pride in local communities. It doesn’t stop there, Bushmans Kloof also hosts an annual community tree planting event to help reintroduce the endangered Cedar into the Cederberg while wildlife projects include the protection of the Cape mountain zebra, the elusive Cape mountain leopard and the Clanwilliam Yellowfish. For me personally, it’s a place that I visit as often as possible so that I am reminded of my place in the world and to reinforce what’s important.
For more information on Bushmans Kloof and the new Cederberg House, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call + 1 855 666 7627.