Bringing Flower Valley Farm to you

Not everyone will be able to visit the fynbos sanctuary of Flower Valley Farm. And see all the action – both in the fynbos and the forest. So as part of our feedback to those who have adopted a hectare on the farm, we’ll bring pockets of the farm into your home instead.

Here’s a brief update on some of Flower Valley Farm’s surprises – and of course the beauty of our fynbos.

 

Talking fynbos and aliens in July

fynbos-forum

The Fynbos Forum takes place in Port Elizabeth

Flower Valley Conservation Trust will join researchers and others involved in fynbos at the Fynbos Forum in July.

The Trust will present on the threats to fynbos landscapes and livelihoods created as many in the industry struggle to meet requirements set out in legislation and regulations.

Flower Valley will present an internal environmental and social management system, which provides support to these small-scale suppliers. This system is a step-up approach, facilitating a robust monitoring, support and reporting system.

The Flower Valley team will also join the Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association in hosting a workshop on invasive alien clearing. The workshop will debate the lack of a holistic approach to monitoring actual clearing performances on private land, and measuring the impact thereof.

The workshop will address questions such as: are we really impacting the landscape? And is the money we’re spending being used wisely? What’s more, are we tracking our success and failures, to inform future clearing strategies on private land?

The Fynbos Forum takes place in Port Elizabeth from 25-28 July. The theme this year is, Survivor: Fynbos. It’s the 38th Fynbos Forum.

Flower Valley hosts the 2016 Fynbos Festival

Flower Valley Farm will play host to the Funky Fynbos Festival, taking place on 24 & 25 September this year.

The festival, held at De Uijlenes last year, will once again focus on family fun and entertainment. This year, the festival programme has been expanded to cater for the hard mountain bike riders training for stage races. As such, the Rockets Funky Fynbos Mountain bike rides include a 70km race to add to the 43km Monster Race, the tough 30km, a new 20km ride, as well as a 12km race for the children and less accomplished adults.

There will also be three Cape Mohair Trail Races: a 30km trail, a 12km race and a 6km run.

The longer races, which cross the mountains and valleys of Flower Valley and neighbouring properties on the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy, are ideal for experienced athletes, and include tough climbs and sharp descents along single tracks. The routes are renowned for their technical ratings and their rewarding views from on top of the mountains.

Other activities at the festival will include a 4×4 route, wine and food at Lomond, a flower display and a model aircraft demonstration.

For more, visit: www.funkyfynbos.co.za

To enter the MTB, visit https://www.entrytime.co.za/event-details/?EventId=4695

To enter the Trail Runs, visit https://www.entrytime.co.za/event-details/?EventId=4696

Lesley meets Prince Harry at Wildlife College

Flower Valley Executive Director Lesley Richardson met Prince Harry during his recent trip to South Africa. Lesley, who is also the Chair of the Southern African Wildlife College Trust, had the opportunity to meet the Prince on graduation day early in December at the College near the Kruger National Park. Harry was shown the College’s impressive training facilities including the Field Ranger training base.

At the event, Prince Harry spoke of his love for Africa. He also noted his concern with the poaching situation in the country, particularly in the Kruger National Park. His visit to the College formed part of a four-day trip to South Africa.

The Wildlife College Trust provides bursaries to students who attend the College to continue their studies. These students then go on to manage major reserves and other conservation areas.

 

Gansbaai’s wonderful marine conservation

The Flower Valley Conservation Trust team swapped fynbos- for marine conservation for its end of year celebrations. Hosted by Dyer Island Conservation Trust and Marine Dynamics, the team took a tour of Seal Island and Dyer Island, followed by a trip to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary outside Kleinbaai.

The group were spoilt during the trip, spotting Great White Sharks, African Penguins and Bryde’s Whales. At the sanctuary, Flower Valley learned more about the conservation efforts of the incredibly threatened African Penguins.

To the team from Dyer Island, Marine Dynamics – and to Wilfred Chivell and Brenda du Toit – our thanks for a wonderful day, and a reminder of the fantastic ocean conservation efforts taking place in our region.

Flower Valley opens its gates this holiday

For the first time, Flower Valley Conservation Trust will officially open its farm gates during the December holiday. That means that visitors to the Overstrand region will be able to hike and cycle through the lush – and often very threatened fynbos over the Christmas break.

Flower Valley Farm is based between Stanford and Gansbaai, approximately two hours outside Cape Town. The Farm is the home of Flower Valley Conservation Trust. As such, it’s a showcase of rich fynbos biodiversity, serving as a demonstration site for responsible fynbos picking and good fynbos landscape management. The farm also has an indigenous stinkwood forest.

Aside from hiking and mountain biking, visitors can book to enjoy a 4×4 route over some of the Farm’s more rugged terrain. Tractor rides and picnics can also be arranged in advance.

The Farm is home to extremely rare fynbos species. The Lachenalia lutzeyeri is found on the Farm and neighbouring Grootbos. It flowers erratically – usually after summer fires. The Aloe juddii is also found on Flower Valley Farm and a neighbouring property. It grows on the rocky outcrops and flowers a beautiful red flower.

This is the first time the Farm will welcome visitors over the break. Guests will be able to enjoy one of five hiking routes, ranging between 3km and 7km. The Stinkhouts Forest hike takes walkers through the forest – an area in which the resident Cape Leopard has been photographed.

Mountain bikers can tackle the Five-Peak Mountain Bike Challenge – by cycling all five very technical peaks on Flower Valley Farm in one day.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy a coffee or cool drink while looking out over Flower Valley’s mountains.

 

Flower Valley will be open during the following times:

 

In Season: Monday – Sunday: 8am – 4pm

Out of Season: Monday – Sunday: 10am – 4pm

The Trust’s office hours are: Monday – Sunday: 8am – 5pm.

 

For more information, contact Marianna Afrikaner. Email: mafrikaner@flowervalley.co.za; or Tel. 028 388 0713.

Fynbos Retreat boosts accommodation offering

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Fynbos Retreat

Fynbos Retreat, the joint venture between Flower Valley Conservation Trust and Grootbos Nature Reserve, has upgraded its accommodation offering, in time for the hiking season and December visitors.

Fynbos Retreat has three self-catering houses tucked away in the fynbos valleys, close to Gansbaai. Based on a pristine fynbos farm, Fynbos Retreat offers the ideal get-away to visitors keen to escape the busy city life. It’s also the first stopover on the popular three-day Fynbos Hiking Trail, which also crosses Flower Valley Farm.

Fountain Bush Cottage, one of the three houses, has now been extended to sleep 10 people, with the addition of two new private bedrooms. The cottage also now sports its own specially built pizza oven. The oven comes complete with all the necessary tools, as well as a Green Box filled with fresh herbs at the cottage for guests to enjoy.

Aside from Fountain Bush Cottage, Fynbos Retreat can sleep up to 17 guests at Arum Lily House, which includes a large living room, a kitchen, a pizza oven and a large open entertainment area. Arum Lily House is very versatile and lends itself to multi-generational visits, more than one family sharing or even team building or workshop events for groups.

Sewejaartjie Cottage is a romantic one-bedroom cottage, also with a fully-equipped kitchen and an outside bath. All three houses are far apart, offering guests privacy.

According to Fynbos Retreat co-manager, Perdita Du Bois, there are only a few spaces still available during December. “We’re filling up fast, with guests looking forward in particular to spending quality time with their families whilst enjoying the hiking, mountain biking and bird-watching opportunities at Fynbos Retreat.”

Fynbos Retreat is home to some fynbos species found nowhere else in the world. Aside from the more strenuous activities, it also provides a tranquil and relaxing setting in the lush fynbos.

The farm previously belonged to Flower Valley Conservation Trust, who sold it Grootbos Nature Reserve. Together the two groups set up the joint venture. The farm used the latest South African legislation, and became the first in the country to set up a conservation easement as part of the property sale. This agreement ensures the farm remains in conservation in perpetuity.

For more information on Fynbos Retreat, or to make a reservation, email: info@fynbosretreat.co.za. Tel: 082 414 4586/Office: 060 359 7086.

Fynbos Safaris on Flower Valley

Fynbos Safari tractor trips will be on offer at the second Funky Fynbos Festival, held just outside Gansbaai this coming weekend. The tractor trips will take visitors to the festival through the fun and bumps of Flower Valley’s peaks and valleys. The trips are guided, with Flower Valley’s conservation staff telling the story of fynbos – and hopefully pointing out the tracks of the resident Cape Leopard.

The Funky Fynbos Festival aims to showcase the unique fynbos and natural environment in and around Gansbaai, between 18-20 September. It serves as an opportunity to remind locals and visitors of the importance of our fynbos heritage. Gansbaai recently won gold at the African Responsible Tourism Awards – which showcased the region’s biodiversity.

Flower Valley, an NGO that supports good fynbos landscape management, is promoting fynbos care at the festival. Flower Valley staff will man a stand at De Uijlenes – the neighbour to Flower Valley Farm, and the base of the festival. Visitors to the stand will also be able to adopt a hectare on Flower Valley Farm – to help protect the farm’s fynbos, and those animals that live in the fynbos ecosystems.

Aside from the Fynbos Safaris, visitors to the festival can tackle one of three mountain bike races, and one of three trail runs. The races all take athletes through the rich biodiversity of the Gansbaai region – from the fynbos to the forests. A fly-fishing competition at Lomond Wine Estate, go-karting, a 4×4 drive, a garden festival, and the best local food and beverages are all on offer during the weekend. De Uijlenes will also host live entertainment, including Chris Els and the Marimba Band.

Gansbaai’s restaurants are also participating at the festival, showcasing their signature dishes, while Gansbaai’s Harbour will host fish braais. The Rugby World Cup opening match between South Africa and Japan will also be shown at the harbour.

To see the festival’s line-up, see here: http://www.funkyfynbos.co.za/#!festival-programme/c1c32

Or to find out more about the festival, visit: http://www.funkyfynbos.co.za/

What a difference a Mandela Day makes

Volunteers from across the country joined the Flower Valley Conservation Trust team, in honor of Nelson Mandela Day. Teams worked at four Early Childhood Development Centres across the Gansbaai region, to improve the learning environment of young children.

The teams gave 67 minutes, and more, of their time at Flower Valley’s Early Learning Centre on Flower Valley Farm, Dolfyntjies in Pearly Beach, and Takalane and Good Hope ECD Centres, both in Masakhane.

Cracking walls were sealed and painted, swings and other play-area activities were constructed, and trees were planted, among some of the activities.

Companies that joined Flower Valley – either by providing workforce assistance, or by donating resources, include Taurus Chemicals (Cape Kelp) from Gansbaai, Haw & Inglis, the Fynbos Trail, Premium Fishing and Arniston Home Builders. Aside from the companies, individuals from as far afield as Pretoria joined the Trust at the centres on Friday and Saturday, 17 and 18 July.

The centres form part of the Flower Valley Early Childhood Development Programme, a programme working to improve the quality of ECD services to children aged birth to six. The programme has reached more than 200 children and 18 practitioners since receiving renewed support from the Western Cape Department of Social Development in 2013. Other partners include community leaders and members and the Overstrand Municipality, among others.

From the Flower Valley Conservation Trust team – a huge thank you to everyone who helped out as part of the Mandela Day activities. We are extremely grateful for the support. You’ve made a huge difference to the lives of many children from the Overstrand area.

Fynbos and rugby: what a combination

Funky Fynbos Festival 2015

Funky Fynbos Festival 2015

Fynbos and rugby are teaming up – to together showcase the Gansbaai region as a tourism destination. This year the Funky Fynbos Festival is to include a rugby festival for Under 19 players, to be hosted by former Springbok player Ashwin Willemse.

The Funky Fynbos Festival takes place between 18 and 20 September, in and around Gansbaai. Flower Valley Conservation Trust will take part again this year, taking visitors on Fynbos Safaris to Flower Valley Farm. The hub of the festival is at De Uijlenes, neighbours to Flower Valley Farm, and in Gansbaai itself.

The rugby festival will take place on Saturday 19 September at the Gansbaai Sports Grounds. Ten teams will participate, including local teams and teams from Cape Town. Other weekend activities include three mountain bike races (45km, 30km and 15km) and three trail runs (30km, 12km and 6km), which all start at De Uijlenes.

4×4 enthusiasts will also have access to four routes during the festival – testing drivers with sand, mud and rocks. The proceedings from the 4×4 trail go to the Flower Valley Early Learning Centre.

The festival aims to encourage tourists and locals alike to enjoy the region’s many attractions. Gansbaai is a renowned marine destination, but less is known about its unique fynbos. A fynbos display at De Uijlenes will showcase the indigenous vegetation found here, with other activities encouraging visitors to reconnect with nature. Fly-fishing, hiking, whale watching, Masakhane cultural tours, helicopter flips over the bay and stone-age cave visits are among some of the festival’s features.

For more information on the Funky Fynbos Festival, visit: http://www.funkyfynbos.co.za/