THE SCHAPENBERG CONSERVANCY
The Schapenberg-Sir Lowry's Conservancy,
home to 650 - 750 fynbos species, was initiated
by the Helderberg Conservation Forum (HCF) and
private landowners in 2000, with the vision to
promote awareness and preservation of the natural
environment on the Schapenberg hills and adjacent
mountain slopes. Founder members were Karibia,
Wedderwill and Onderkloof. The Conservancy with
the participation of 15 landowners comprises more
than 1600 ha, and under guidance of CapeNature
was registered in 2003. The Conservancy lies on
the outskirts of Somerset West along the Schapenberg
hills, and incorporates the lower slopes of the
Hottentot's Holland Mountains up to Sir Lowry's
Pass and includes CapeNature's Hottentot's Holland
The Schapenberg is granite pluton 600 million
years old. These granite foothills below the Hottentot's
Holland Mountain range support Boland Granite
Fynbos (an endangered vegetation type) and Swartland
Granite Renosterveld (critically endangered).
The slopes above Somerset West have borne the
brunt of intensive agriculture for over 300 years
and in more recent history, intensive forestry.
This has lead to a proliferation of invasive alien
vegetation and the loss of natural vegetation
and impacted on water flow of the Sir Lowry's
River. One of the main objectives of the Conservancy
has been to protect the indigenous flora and of
the region, including the threatened and fragmented
renosterveld. The City has recently proposed and
mapped biodiversity corridors across the Schapenberg.
These lie between the farming areas and if preserved,
will provide ecosystems for the continued survival
of the highly threatened fynbos as well as associated
bird species, numerous mammals (Cape Fox, caracal,
Cape Hare, porcupine, African Wild cat, large
and small spotted genet, large and small grey
mongoose, Cape clawless, otter, grysbok, steenbok
and duiker), reptiles, tortoises and insects,
Agriculture in the area is mainly wine/vine farming
with Wedderwill Wine Estate and False Bay Winery
(Waterkloof) Biodiversity and Wine Initiative
champions. Other wine farmers are considering
joining the initiative with the view of creating
a Schapenberg/Sir Lowry's biodiversity wine route.
The guided Biodiversity and Wine walks on the
Schapenberg will showcase the fabulous wine and
natural vegetation of the region and to educate
as to the importance of the need for sustainable
conservation and biodiversity enhancement.
Proceeds from the walk and outside funding will
assist members achieve the Conservancy goals.
us for more information.