Camps Bay Retreat is located on four acres of private land in The Glen. The land borders the historical Round House Precinct and Glen Forest, which comprises an area of approximately 35,3 ha and falls within the Table Mountain National Park.
The estate is dynamic, always changing, growing, and developing. We see Camps Bay Retreat as a work-in-progress in which our guests play an integral part in our progress.
Our resident dogs will happily escort you on a forest walk. With their warm and welcoming greeting, you’re assured of uncomplicated, undemanding companionship. Or just enjoy the wonderful feel of a velvet ear in your hand and the sound of a happily thumping tail.
Choose to spend your time alone, or in the company of our staff who are there to take care of you. Stroll the extensive gardens and spend time in secluded hideaways and peaceful places of contemplation. Or take a guided walk in the grounds with our resident Horticulturalist to see where the fynbos is being restored and a natural forest established. His herb garden supplies thyme, rosemary, mint, chocolate mint and rocket to the restaurant; and you are more than welcome to pay him a visit.
"To create a unique nature reserve that transforms and unites the space between a suburban landscape and alien forest, creating an inspiring, yet sustainable, environment."
Revitalise and restore the botanical area.
Gradual evolution away from exotic to natural endemic and indigenous planting.
Support eco-tourism, defined as the International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to nature areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people” in line with organic principles.
Create a nursery for endemic plants and trees, which are unique to the area.
Study the fynbos and become the custodian of endemic plants that are at the risk of extinction.
Document and tag plants and trees. Inform and make use of their medicinal values.
Create a life skills course through the elements of horticultural training.
What we found
Upon the first visit to site, the plant growth was found to be a monoculture, consisting mainly of exotic invader trees, i.e. Cluster Pine Pinus pinaster (Europe) Blue gum Eucalyptus sp. Australia. The problem with these types of trees is that they shade out sunlight, making it impossible for our indigenous trees or shrubs to grow. Over time, these trees form a leafy mass on the top layer of soil which is not favourable for the germination of seeds. The result is that nothing grows under these trees. Although the roots of these trees do stabilise the slopes against erosion, the concern is that when these trees die, there is nothing to protect the soil. Gradually the roots decay and run-off water erodes the slope. This problem will keep on recurring, as the mass of leaves built up over the years prevents the germination of seeds.The process of succession - natural stages in plant rehabilitation/re-vegetation (annuals and grasses, then shrubs then trees) cannot take place. The leaf material also blocks the flow of natural water streams. With this leaf matter decaying, oxidation does not take place, leaving a nasty smell to water. The oil in Eucalyptus (Blue gum trees) also pollutes the water.
The rehabilitation process includes removing as many as possible of these invader species.The trees which are not removed must be pollarded in order to let more sunlight through. Thereafter, the layer of leaf mass from the invader trees must be removed to prepare a seedbed. This process is followed by scarification of soil and sowing of primary seeds to stabilise bare patches. With more sunlight, these seeds will germinate easily. Once it has been stabilised, the planting can be augmented those plants grown in containers, which is more valuable. At this stage, trees can also be introduced.
Trees we wish to re-introduce include the following:
Apodytes dimidiata – Witpeur / White Pear
Buddleja salviifolia – Wilde Salie / Sagewood
Celtis africana – Wit Stinkhout / White Stinkwood
Ekebergia capensis – Essenhout / Cape Ash
Ilex mites– Without / Cape Holly
Leucadendron argenteum – Silwerboom / Silver Tree
Olea europaea subsp.africana. – Africana Olienhout / Wild Olive
Podalyria calyptrata– Waterkeurtjie / Water Blossom
Podocarpus latifolius – Kaapse Geelhout / Real Yellowood
Rapanea melanophloeos – Kaapse Boekenhout / Cape Beech
Sideroxylon inerme – Wit Melkhout / White Milkwood
Virgillia oroboides - Keurboom
Plants we wish to re-introduce include the following:
Kniphofia uvaria – Vuurpyl / Red Hot Poker
Leonotis leonurus – Wilde Dagga / Wild Dagga
Ornithogalum thyrsoides – Tall Chincherinchee
Watsonia pyrimidata – Pink Suurkanol
Red Hot Poker
The Western Cape is famous for its wide variety of flowering plants, known as fynbos.
Some interesting facts…
There are over 9,000 species of fynbos! Two-thirds of the plant species on seven of the plant families are endemics. They are not found growing naturally anywhere else in the world!Best known, are South African Proteas, Ericas, Restionaceae (Cape reeds or Cape grasses, which are evergreen rush-like plants) and the Bruniaceae (branching, fine-leaved, heath-like shrubs with characteristic flower heads) and the Cape spring and winter flowering bulbs.1,491 of 9,000 species are at risk of extinction and are in need of conservation. Propagation of some fynbos plants from seed is difficult, as seeds of many species are dormant when they are shed and often require very specific environmental ‘messages’ or cues before they will germinate.
Fires and fynbos…
Fynbos is accustomed to periodic fires, which have actually helped to shape and characterise it. For although occasional fires (every 15 years or so) may be advantageous, repeated fires are disastrous. Fynbos species are variously adapted to recurrent fire cycles and characteristically experience intense recruitment immediately after fires with little or no recruitment between fires. Seeds of many species are adapted to germinate in response to one or more of the cues provided by fire. Heat from flames may fracture the impermeable seed coat of hard-seeded species resulting in the coats becoming permeable to water (e.g. Fabaceae or legume family).