GCBR MICRO FUND BONNIEDALE FARM GRANT
Bonniedale is a 1,650 ha Fynbos farm owned by Nico and Danette Hesterman and is situated in the Attakwaskloof in the OuteniquaMountains between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn, surrounded by the Attakwaskloof Nature Reserve.
Bonniedale borders the Outeniqua Nature Reserve which extends higher up into the Attekwaskloof. Bonniedale focuses on eco-tourism and regards nature as its largest asset and endeavours to protect it to the best of its ability. Bonniedale’s largest investment has most likely been in the clearing of alien invasive species on the property. Dense stands of hakea on the mountain slopes are now clear and mainly require routine maintenance.
A recent Ecological and Wetland assessment conducted by Dr Donovan Kotze revealed the importance of the Kamma River with its origin in the headwaters of the Attekwaskloof. The Kamma wetland is a unique valley bottom wetland with peat in sections of the wetland. The wetland is 35 ha in size. The wetland is under threat from a large headcut moving upstream into the intact portion of wetland and aggressive encroachment of alien invasive species, including Black wattle and Stink bean trees. The conservation of this unique wetland, not seen by Wetland specialists before on the Northern slopes of the Langeberg mountains, takes high conservation priority.
Bonniedale and the International Academy for Leadership through Adventure (iALA) came up with an agreement that they would help each other to achieve a common goal. IALA is a gap year solution geared for leadership development through adventure. They focus on adventure programmes as a stimulus for sustainable personal development. One of iALA’s focus areas is voluntary conservation work. iALA needs venues or opportunities for this to be executed. Bonniedale offered the perfect venue and objective.
Through the GBCR’s Flexible Micro Fund and with assistance from Jobs for Carbon and Land Care – Bonniedale Farm, iALA, Working for Wetlands and Dr Donovan Kotze joined hands in an attempt to address the impact on the Kamma Wetland and its catchment. These teams spent a week in August 2020 clearing the invasive alien species and the iALA team put together the attached video clip to share their experience of their time in field – https://youtu.be/hZI9dkHpEhg.
Heidi Muller of Working for Wetlands made the following inspiring remarks: “On behalf of Bonniedale Farm; thank you [to the GCBR] for the amazing contribution to assist in the clearing of alien invasive species in the Kamma catchment. The iALA team spent three days in field sharing in learning and contributing to the removal of alien invasive species in the catchment. The iALA team has been so inspired by the Kloof that they wish to return and do more work”.
See also our complementary blog on the work undertaken by Jobs for Carbon and Land Care in this invasive alien clearing programme at Bonniedale at https://gouritz.com/2020/08/24/kamma-wetlands-stink-bean-eradication/