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.
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|
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.
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.