Sunbird Lodge & Fynbos Reserve, Napier, Western Cape Tel: +27 (0)28 42 33 049
Sunbird Lodge and Fynbos Reserve is the realization of a dream of Stephen and Olwyn Smuts to conserve an area of fynbos and share this passion for this unique vegetation with guests. They bought Oshana Farm in 2001 and developed a unit for guests. In 2008, they added a second unit.
Sunbird Lodge quickly became popular with both botanical experts and with people without any knowledge of fynbos but keen just to enjoy it and learn from Stephen who is a qualified nature guide. Stephen takes great pleasure in sharing his enthusiasm for fynbos which is the richest flora in the world. Although the main aim is to conserve the fynbos, they conserve the full biodiversity of their reserve. Visitors will see several species of birds that are fynbos endemics plus are likely to see several species of raptor and may see animals such as buck, baboons and various reptiles that call the reserve home.
Fynbos is the name given to the vegetation that occurs mainly in the mountains of the Western Cape. The word 'fynbos' is the Afrikaans for 'fine bush' which refers to the very small evergreen leaves of so many fynbos species. Fynbos is restricted to the winter rainfall area of the Western Cape, an area of about 9000 sq kms, between the coastal mountain chain and the sea. This coastal belt happens to have about 9000 different species of plant, the richest density of different species found anywhere on earth.
At a casual glance it looks rather drab grey and one wonders what the fuss could be about but one needs to look closer. Firstly, on your closer inspection you will see a palette of almost every colour you could imagine. Secondly, almost certainly, any plant that you chose to look at will look completely different to the one next to it. It is said that to know that you are in true fynbos, you will have around you different species of Protea, Erica and Restio. Just to prove the exception to the rule, protea family species generally have larger leaves. The ericas however prove the rule with thousands of tiny rolled up leaves on every stem. The grasslike restios have taken this idea even further - no leaves at all. The stem itself has leaflike functions.
This wonderland of plants is however under threat. Many areas have been transformed for farming, housing and dams but the worst is that the fynbos is being overtaken by plant species from other parts of the world, commonly referred to as alien invasive species. Although fynbos is threatened by man, man may be its only hope. If the alien invasives that now cover so much of the mountains are not controlled, the fynbos will slowly be overrun and disappear. It may take another 100 years or more but it will happen. We at the Sunbird Lodge are fighting back and large areas are again looking good. Come and see for yourself.