THE AREA : UILKRAAL VALLEY
The reserve of farm 215 is located in the Uilkraal Valley (Valley of the Owl-corral). This valley is named after the oldest farm in this unspoiled part of the Overberg of the Western Cape, 180 km from Cape Town on the Cape Whale Coast. The real name-givers, the spotted and cape eagle owls are still abundant in this valley, sign of the fact that this valley kept its natural sanity. The Valley is draped around the Uilkraal River, which now deposits its water into the Kraaiboschdam, the only dam in the Western Cape which can carry its maximum capacity all year round. From this dam, the water flows to the Uilkraals Estuary at the coast.
Covered with the unique “fynbos” vegetation of the Cape Floral Kingdom, ancient indigenous forest remains, award winning vineyards and guesthouses, pastures and old homesteads, the Uilkraal Vallei is one of the last strongholds in the world where man still earns his keep while letting nature take the lead. Passionate yet professional, the Uilkraal Valley is ruled by innovative sustainability.
Farm 215 is situated on the Eastern hills rolling down into the valley and the lake of Kraaiboschdam. From the retreat of farm 215 you can practically see everything that goes on in this valley : the award winning Lomond Wine Estate, Africa’s Southernmost indigenous forest “Platbos Forest”, the land of Flower Valley Conservation Trust, the base of sustainable wild flower harvesting, the historic farm houses of Bodhi Khaya Retreat, now a retreat centre, the old Uijlenes farm, a wedding and function venue, and the flower fields and rolling hills and mountains of the Walkerbay Fynbos Conservancy, playground of the African Horse Company, offering outrides and multi-day trails and Walkerbay Trails, offering botanical hiking and mountain biking trails through pristine nature. Either on horse, by foot or on a mountain bike, the botanical wonders compete with the views for the attention of the eye.
A natural oasis in its own right, the Uilkraal Valley connects the Whale Coast at Walker Bay to the Agulhas Plains, the erstwhile “Serengeti of the Western Cape” en route to Africa’s Southernmost point, Cape Agulhas, where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean. The Agulhas National Park, the largest extant of lowland “fynbos” of the Cape Floral Kingdom and the Nuwejaars Special Area have been the first to release the large herbivores, boasting the first re-introduction of Hippo in the Western Cape as well as Buffalo, Hartebees and Quagga, the practically stripeless zebra, which was extinct, but not so extinct that it is not back on the Agulhas Plains.
Just outside of the Uilkraal Valley en route to Cape Agulhas is Baardkseerdersbos, called a hamlet by some, a collection of farmhouses by others. Whatever it is, it has a unique character and is becoming well known for the Baardskeerdersbos Art Route which is organized several times a year and has a rural pub.