What did the Overberg look like before it became the agricultural landscape we know today? Renosterveld remnants scattered across farms here provide some ideas as to the past picture. In particular, ‘koppies’ (hills) on farms in the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy, between Swellendam and Heidelberg, are the perfect showcase of some of the interesting and hidden Renosterveld species that used to dominate the landscape.
One such farm, Skeiding Guest Farm, in the Conservancy, recently welcomed guests onto this private property, on a tour led by the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust.
The farm is a nature reserve – the strongest possible form of conservation stewardship available on private land that protects biodiversity in the long term.
It’s owned by Neels and Anné-Lize Uys – who aside from caring for their Renosterveld, also farm with free range ostriches, Dohne Merino sheep and Nguni cattle. The couple has served as an inspiration for the Trust, and to other farmers with Renosterveld – conserving their natural landscapes with real heart and passion.
Although not much was flowering during the hike on the property, the ORCT’s Jannie Groenewald pointed out some of the tiny, unique bulb species that make this area so special.
Jannie’s favourites included the:
- Ystervarkpatat (Kedrostis nana)
- Bobbejaantoontjies (Curio radicans)
- Osteospermum tomentosum
- And Indigofera nigromontana
Keir Lynch also introduced visitors to the work of the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust, including the WWF-funded watercourse restoration support the Trust is providing to farmers. He showed some of the amazing animal life that was photographed in a small Renosterveld patch along a watercourse in the Overberg, which included Honey badger, Cape grysbok, Cape Clawless Otter, Duiker and Genets.
The walk formed part of the Silver Mountain Music Festival – a festival celebrating nature, country living and classical music in the Grootvaderbosch Conservancy.