The destruction of the Earth’s environment is the human rights challenge of our time.

Desmond Tutu

Our generation has one crucial obligation: To leave behind a healthy, living planet on which all living things can thrive. We should not underestimate the powerful role every person can play in meeting this shared obligation – irrespective of how big or small.

The Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust (ORCT) needs your help to secure the future of one of the world’s most threatened and biodiverse ecosystems, along with all the plants and animals which depend on it.

This ecosystem, known as Renosterveld, teeters on the edge of extinction: Without our efforts to halt this otherwise inevitable loss, we will lose an entire ecosystem – including hundreds of beautiful species!

 You can help us prevent this tragic loss by leaving a bequest (legacy) in support of Renosterveld conservation. In so doing, you will be making a tangible and meaningful contribution towards the preservation of our beautiful planet. 

Why the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust?

Close to the southernmost tip of South Africa lies one of the world’s most threatened ecosystems: This is Renosterveld. This rich and diverse ecosystem falls within the well-known Fynbos Biome, renowned for its floral diversity and extraordinarily high levels of endemism. While fynbos soils are generally sandy and poor, renosterveld occurs on the richer, more fertile soils, rendering it highly suitable for agriculture.  As a result, Renosterveld has been subjected to the extreme and damaging impacts of extensive land transformation and degradation to make way for commercial agriculture over the last 100 years.

The Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust (ORCT) is a Non-Profit Organisation dedicated to halting the extinction spiral through the proactive conservation, restoration and management of remaining Renosterveld patches. The ORCT’s work is built on three pillars:

  1. Protection: securing Renosterveld for conservation in perpetuity through title-deed linked agreements with landowners, and, where appropriate, land purchase, and restoring degraded Renosterveld on signed-up properties;
  2. Education: educating landowners, students and children;
  3. Research: facilitating and driving important research which informs the management and restoration of Renosterveld.
Renosterveld lost 95%

As much as 95% of this ecosystem has been converted for large-scale crop farming. We have also lost many (in some cases, undescribed or unknown) plants and animals. Yet within the remnants that remain, we find an extraordinary number of unique, endemic and charismatic species that are entirely reliant on these patches for their survival.

What we have achieved in 10 years:

  • We secured the purchase of the largest intact remnant of Renosterveld, through WWF South Africa: A 500-hectare farm known as Haarwegskloof. We now manage this purchase as the Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve.
  • We fundraised for, and developed, a research centre and accommodation at Haarwegskloof, creating a hub for post-graduate studies in Renosterveld, as well as environmental education among Renosterveld landowners, students and local school children.
  • We converted the hearts and minds of many Renosterveld landowners – 20 of whom have already signed a conservation servitude, giving conservation status to their Renosterveld in perpetuity. Through this Conservation Easement Programme, we have (to date) secured over 6000 ha of critical habitat for conservation across the Overberg wheatbelt and have begun linking isolated patches via corridor easements.
  • We published the first-ever Field Guide to Renosterveld of the Overberg covering over 1000 species of plants and animals. We also produce individual farm guides for the farms we work with.
  • We have contributed towards the discovery of at least 10 plant species new to science.

In 2020, the ORCT published a book to showcase the phenomenal diversity that is Renosterveld, so that others may revel in, and understand, this previously overlooked habitat.

The book’s foreword is written by the highly-respected and accomplished Professor Richard Cowling. Richard states:

“Overshadowed by Fynbos – the iconic Cape vegetation – Renosterveld was neglected scientifically until relatively recently. And in the nick of time! Starting with the industrialization of agriculture in the 1940s, Renosterveld was relentlessly ploughed for cropping, mainly cereals and pastures. Today barely 5% of Overberg Renosterveld remains, almost all of which is restricted to untillable soils on steep and often rocky slopes. We may never know exactly what lived on the better developed soils of the gentle slopes and bottomlands. What we do know is that every remaining pocket of intact veld, no matter how small or isolated, is irreplaceable. Overberg Renosterveld is Critically Endangered.

How your bequest will be used

Our work focuses on education and awareness, applied research and partnering with landowners  to secure the future of Renosterveld by helping to manage and restore it. We therefore undertake to do the following with your gifted legacy:

  • We will secure more Renosterveld hectares: for conservation in perpetuity.
  • We will restore and rehabilitate Renosterveld remnants: to ensure their long-term survival and viability.
  • We will educate people about the importance of preserving our natural environment: from landowners and people who work on the land to local school children, teachers and conservation scholars.
  • We will undertake crucial research: to enable a deeper understanding of these ecosystems, so that we can manage them more effectively, thus securing for future generations a fantastically rich and unique area of South Africa.

On a personal note…

I built this organisation in order to leave my legacy. I wanted to know that whatever footprint I left behind, it would be one that contributed significantly towards making our planet a healthier and happier one. My ambition is to save what is left of the magnificent Renosterveld, and to restore as much of this unique ecosystem as possible. But I cannot do this alone: Renosterveld needs your help. Please consider the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust when you think about your legacy. In the process of making a will, this could be one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Without continued efforts to conserve and restore our ecosystems, we will lose the incredible diversity of plants and wildlife that we have been privileged to enjoy in our lifetime. – Odette Curtis-Scott, Founder & Director, ORCT

It is important to note that bequests to the ORCT are exempt from estate duty, as we are a registered NPO. This bequest could also help reduce your estate tax bill.

Did you know…

The most significant contributions towards guaranteeing the viability and sustainability of Non-Profit Organisations are those received from bequests. Successful, long-term initiatives are driven by committed, determined and impassioned organisations. Your legacy will contribute directly towards enabling our organisation to achieve our mission: to halt the extinction of one of Earth’s most threatened ecosystems.

Please remember, the size of your bequest is not what is important – it’s the cumulative power of these heartfelt and meaningful donations and above all, your personal commitment that matters most!

What you need to know

We would be delighted to discuss options as to how you can ensure that you keep supporting our Renosterveld conservation efforts through your will, and our pro bono legal advisors will be happy to assist you with adding such a commitment. Alternatively, you may wish to ask your own legal advisor, in which case we recommend the following wording when drafting your will:

“I (name) bequeath (the residue of my estate, or percentage of my estate, or a certain amount, etc.) to the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust, Non-Profit registration no 124-296NPO and Public Benefit Organisation number 930039578PBO, with headquarters at Setters Rest, Napier, 7270, South Africa, to be used at the sole discretion of the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust for the Trust’s conservation work.”

Information for lawyers:

The ORCT is a South African Non-Profit Organisation (NPO 124-296), registered as the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust (IT851/2012) and trading as the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust.

Physical Address: Setters Rest, Napier, 7270

Postal Address: Box 27, Napier, 7270

Telephone Director, Odette Curtis-Scott: +27 (0)83 551 3341

Banking details: Nedbank Business Account number 1092736514, Branch Bredasdorp 198765, Swift Code NEDSZAJJ

We would be very grateful if you would inform us ( of your decision to benefit ORCT in your will. This will enable us to thank you and convey our deep appreciation of your generosity to help us save the natural world of the Renosterveld. 

For Enquiries:

Dr Odette Curtis-Scott


Tel. +27 (0)83 551 3341


“I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses. We must never forget that it is our duty to protect this environment.”

– Nelson Mandela

Frequently asked questions

A bequest, or a legacy as it is also known, is a gift that you leave in your will. You can secure this commitment either by writing a new will or amending your existing one. You can request assistance with this from your solicitor or, should you consider the ORCT as a beneficiary, our pro bono legal team will be happy to assist.

A will is your way of organising your affairs after death to be sure your wishes are realised. And in preparing their will, people usually wish to benefit their family and friends first and the organisations they support second: We hope that you will consider including the ORCT here.

The ideal bequest is a residuary bequest, as this enables you to first ensure that your loved ones are properly provisioned for in your will. Hereafter, whatever is left is apportioned to your bequest.

There are, however, two other options: You could alternatively designate a percentage of your estate, or gift a property, a share portfolio, or other similar valuables.

It’s advisable to leave your bequest to be used at the discretion of the ORCT Board of Trustees and Director. This is because projects change as needs in the landscape change and tying money down to a specific project could mean that in future the funds are difficult or impossible to access because of such restrictions. The ORCT will remain fully aware of such changes and can make the necessary decisions on what is most important to further Renosterveld conservation. We commit to continue to use our funds wisely — our track record demonstrates that we use our funds effectively and efficiently, getting the most ‘bang for our buck’ for all our conservation objectives. We believe that we can honour your trust.

Yes, this is certainly an option. Please feel free to discuss such options with us.

We are happy to share any current and past annual reports and financial statements with you.