We are privileged to be part the most wonderful community - a real mix of cultures live side by side in the valley – descendants of the nomadic (and environmentally in touch) Khoi Khoi herders, the mighty AmaXhosa as well as the 18th and 19th C European adventurers, explorers and settlers.
Our policy is to employ and empower people from the local community and to support as many local enterprises and suppliers as possible. This being an extremely fertile valley our kitchen, for example, is able to take full advantage of nature’s bounty with the very best of fresh local ingredients.
All of us here at Baviaanskloof Lodge are very involved with all sectors of this community. Donations received are given to financially struggling local community members of Cambria or are given to the local coloured pastor on the farm to use on various out-reach projects in and around the area.
Cambria is a variation of Cumbria – Cymru i.e. ‘Wales’ – and it can only be presumed that a homesick Welshman was reminded by the surrounding peaks of his native land. According to Pieter Streso’s grandfather, Pieter Streso, there was a Welsh missionary passing through Cambria in the 1800’s. To the present inhabitants it is more generally referred to as Die Kas – because of the ‘boxed-in’ configuration of the area.
The original farms, Onverwacht and Goede Hoop, were granted to Nicolaas Lochenburg (or Van Loggerenberg) in 1818, but he had occupied them for several years before this. He came originally from Graaff-Reinet where he had been one of the anti-government ‘Republicans’. In 1820 our great great grandfather swapped 10 oxen with Nicolaas Lochenburg for a piece of land in Sandrivier, also known as Armmansvriend, ‘Poor man’s friend’, approximately 10 kilometres from where we are now. The entrance to that piece of land and valley used to be where the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve’s Interpretive Centre are located today. The name Armmansvriend came from the history of the Streso’s generosity in the area which never turned away a thirsty or hungry friend, family member, traveller, etc. who came through the valley.
The Streso’s were locally renowned for the quality of the tobacco they grew and the sweetness of their oranges. There used to be a lot of old wives tales that the Streso’s used to plant Cannabis / Dagga. One day these stories caused a lot of havoc, because the police decided to send in a group of mounted police members with a warrant to search the whole property for the alleged Cannabis - It was really ironic, because the Streso’s never knew what Cannabis looked like. Unfortunately in the 1950’s the government decided to expropriate the land with compensation – compensation was determined by government – in the early 1970’s the Streso’s had to finally leave their beloved Armmansvriend behind and this saddened Henry Bloem Streso till the day he died in 1996.
The farm we are on today was bought by Henry Bloem Streso in 1952 and is still known as Onverwacht or Onverwags. In the past farmers farmed with cattle, Potatoes, Wheat, Pumpkins, Butternuts and at one stage Broccoli, Watermelons and Green Beans, but today the main agricultural crops in this area are only Citrus, Tobacco and Butternuts. On Onverwags we currently farm only with Citrus, which includes Lemons, Clementines, Navels and Midknights. The water and soil in our area are of high quality and maybe that is why Onverwags’ oranges are famous for the sweetest in the area. We focus mainly on the export market to Europe, Middle East, Far East and sometimes to Canada and China.
Today, there is only approximately 6 remaining farmers in Cambria.
World Heritage Site
UNESCO - BAVIAANSKLOOF WORLD HERITAGE SITE
With its World Heritage Site Status, the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve is home to the biggest wilderness area in the country and is also one of the eight protected areas of the Cape Floristic Region.
The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve covers 200km of unspoiled, rugged mountainous terrain with spectacular landscapes hosting more than a thousand different plant species, including the Erica and Protea families and species of ancient cycads.
Seven of South Africa’s eight biomes are represented within the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve – Fynbos, Forest, Grassland, Succulent Karoo, Nama-Karoo, Subtropical Thicket and Savanna.
This magnificent reserve is a must-see for all nature and adventure enthusiasts.
WHAT IS A WORLD HERITAGE SITE?
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity.
To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area). It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 states parties which are elected by their General Assembly.
The programme catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since then, 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most widely recognized international agreements and the world's most popular cultural program.