The Baviaanskloof History
The Baviaanskloof (“Valley of Baboons”) was originally home to San hunter-gatherers (“Bushmen”). In the early 18th century European hunters and later settlers gradually developed a more permanent lifestyle based on agriculture.
The area was once important for the cultivation of vegetable seed (onion, carrot, beetroot and pumpkin) because the mountainous isolation prevented contamination of the seed stock. Goats were also farmed for the angora goat industry and together with seed production, represented a viable economy.
Since the 1920's the area has been managed by The Department of Nature Conservation. Large parts have always been Crown or State land. The construction of the Kouga Dam (or Paul Sauer Dam as it was then known) in the 1960's and early 1970's led to much land being bought out and transferred to the Department of Forestry. in 1987 the management of the area was transferred to Cape Nature Conservation and more land was bought out with private funds for the consolidation of the area. Since 1994 it has been managed by Eastern Cape Nature Conservation. 189,000 ha (467,000 acres) of this spectacular place are currently protected in the Baviaanskloof Conservation Area.
The final stage will be a huge national park, hopefully without fences, where the disease-free buffalo, leopard and the rhino will once again roam free.