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Guided nature drives

Highlights of a stay at Bartholomeus Klip are the nature drives through the 10 000 acre nature reserve. The morning drive leaves after coffee, rusks and fruit and sets off through the gate and across the river into the reserve, entering a completely different world from the farmlands and gardens of Bartholomeus Klip. You might head towards the mountains towering up in front of you, or along the road to the grassy plains area where herds of black wildebeest and springbok tend to congregate. Fynbos surrounds you with its rich and varied plant life full of interest, where at any moment you might spot a zabra from the quagga project, a rare plant or perhaps even a strikingly patterned geometric tortoise. In the springtime there will be thousands of wild flowers and streams of running water everywhere, and in summer the heat and dryness will tell you that you are unmistakeably in Africa.

Guests have to tear themselves away from the splendid high tea to leave on the afternoon drive. It’s the end of the day and the veld is beginning to cool down for the night, with the geese flying home to the big dam and the clapper lark whistling as he soars into the sky. If you are lucky, the setting sun will turn the long range of mountains a fleeting shade of soft pink while your ranger serves you the classic South African sundowners along with a few delicious snacks. Then it’s back to the farmhouse to freshen up ready for the evening’s enjoyment of dinner in the candlelit conservatory.

Whatever time of day you go, you are sure to see plenty of life in the reserve whether it’s a couple of bontebok, a lone secretary bird striding through the veld, or a herd of eland standing watchfully in the fynbos: and you will have the knowledge that you are driving through a uniquely-preserved piece of one of the world’s smallest but richest floral kingdoms, the Cape Floristic Region.