05 November, 2013

Vondeling and the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative

At the end of October we went to Vondeling near Wellington for the WESSA (once was WWF South Africa) Annual Regional Meeting. We have been members for years but work and life happens meant that this was the first meeting we’ve ever been to. Vondeling is a member of BWI, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative.

Watsonia on a granite outcrop


We had a brief walk along the edge of the vineyards. Diana trailing along last as I revelled in new to me flowers.

Dodonea seeds

Since the 2011 fire they have collected 1,000 species on the Paardeberg for their herbarium. South Africa’s vineyards are in the Cape Floral Kingdom (which includes fynbos and Renosterveld). The CFK has over nine thousand species with many endemics. In 2004 only 4% of the Renosterveld survived.

Podalyria sweetpea bush

not sure

Evidence of their success in maintaining sustainable habitat is a Cape leopard caught on their camera trap.

again, not sure

The Hantam (2011 and 2012) is our only National Botanical Garden dedicated to conserving renosterveld.

Vondeling vineyard
with the biodiversity on the hill beyond

The Vondeling wedding chapel has enchanting windows. A round one high up with a dove bearing an olive twig. Outside the chapel is a line of olive saplings. Along the length of the chapel the windows have trailing vines painted.

Dove with olive, window at Vondeling chapel

Grapevines on the side windows at Vondeling chapel 

I was encouraged to hear about young interns, and school teachers – working with the next generation, and the next – wildflowers and Cape leopards in our future.

Colin Bell, author of Africa’s Finest, told us - If we try to hug national parks all to ourselves, we lose it. If we reach out and share, like Botswana and Namibia, we can conserve nature for the future. His ‘responsible, sustainable tourism – what we have termed the Green Safari model. Viable, long-term partnerships are a winning scenario for wildlife, wildernesses and people.’ The ultimate green lodge.

Vondeling chapel near Wellington

Rocher Pan cottages, with composting toilets protecting the seasonal pan and migrating birds, is on our one day list.

Pictures and text by Diana Studer (on Google Plus)
AKA Diana of Elephant's Eye
- wildlife gardening in Porterville,
near Cape Town in South Africa

(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink. Those are my links)


  1. what an inspirational and beautiful post, I love where you said if we hug parks to ourselves, such a great description,

  2. I always like to hear of environmental projects and those that promote biodiversity even more. The blue of the Babiana is stunning, reminds me of the blue poppy.

  3. The species collection project--is it a Kew type thing? Collecting seeds as well as plants for preservation? I'm glad you were able to linger in back to enjoy the new flowers.

    1. still recording what's there. Endemics, endangered, new species. Which provide inspiration for wine names!

  4. Beautiful photos!
    Greetings, RW & SK

  5. Interesting post and lovely pictures - that Psoralea is a new one on me - looks like pretty petticoats on a clothes line!
    All the best :)

  6. We have lots of nature reserves, but we really need a botanical garden or two in the PE area.

  7. If we buy a Vondeling wine over here, does that also help the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa?

    1. http://www.vondelingwines.co.za/our_wines.php
      Cura is the one specifically for WESSA, but any of their wines would gratefully support the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative.

  8. Those plants are all new to me, for sure! The pink Psoralea is fascinating the way the tubular blooms hang down along the stem. I would think the hummingbirds would love that one! Sounds like there's promise in your area for maintaining habitat and maintaining interest!

  9. Vondeling hosted a wine tasting stand at the Fynbos Forum - nice to hear they are doing so much more .

  10. Diana what beautiful wildflowers being found and catalogued....and the idea to hug our parks and create a green lodge....amazing and wonderful!


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Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
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