The Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy recently received the Conservation Driver Cape Fox Trophy at the 2022 Conservation at Work awards ceremony.  Herewith the details.


Back left to right: Mossie Basson (Graham Beck Winery), Francis Steyn (Landcare – Department of Agriculture), Leon Adams (Boschendal), Marco Harms (Pietersfontein Conservancy), Leon Adams (Boschendal), Marco Harms (Pietersfontein Conservancy), Gareth Boothway (WWF South Africa), Carina Becker (Rooiberg Breederiver Conservancy), Adrian Robinson (Rooiberg Breederivier Conservancy)

Front left to right: Alexander Grier (Villiera Wines), Katy Williams(Cape Leopard Trust), Anita Wilkinson (Cape Leopard Trust), Christel Liebenberg (Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy), Eugene Hahndiek (Nuwejaars Wetland SMA), Tielman Roos (Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy)

Conservation At Work (C@W) recently recognised individual landowners, conservancies and partners for their valuable contributions to conservation and sustainability. During the 2022 Cape Fox Awards function hosted at Zevenwacht Wine Estate, the Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy (BHRC) received the Conservation Driver Cape Fox Trophy for progressive conservation achievements.

Situated in the agricultural area between Stellenbosch and the City of Cape Town, the conservancy encompasses an area of about 10,000 hectares of which 1500 hectares is retained as Swartland Granite Renosterveld. Members Koopmanskloof and Mooiplaas are both proclaimed as private nature reserves, while a further three BHRC members (De Morgenzon, Mooiplaas and Neethlingshof) have achieved WWF Conservation Champion status.

As part of the Cape Winelands Biosphere, the BHRC serves as a buffer zone to protect and maintain the rich biodiversity of the area. Game such as caracal, grysbok, grey duiker, porcupine, bat-eared foxes, cape foxes, honey badgers and genets still roam naturally in the Bottelary Hills.

The award acknowledges the BHRC’s remarkable progress and growth over the past two years. The BHRC has grown its membership to 50 landowners and extended the Bottelary Hills MTB trail to span an impressive 130km. During this period, they also launched a youth stewardship programme and several other community development initiatives. Tielman Roos, chairman of the BHRC, expressed his appreciation for the award. “Having a dedicated conservation manager has given us a boost as it means that we could invest in relationship building, exploring funding opportunities and creating collaborative partnerships. Expansion and development at community level benefits directly from having people engaging on the ground.”

Other projects included the WWF-funded baseline plant survey and extensive alien plant eradication in collaboration with Department of Agriculture’s LandCare. The conservancy also launched a trail run series, several guided hikes and hosted the inaugural Bottelary Hills MTB & Eco Weekend.

BHRC member Villiera Wines received the runner-up Cape Fox Award for Best Individual Landowner or Managed Property for their valuable contribution to consvervation through environmentally friendly and regenerative farming methods, sustainable energy use, water conservation, recycling and greening initiatives.  A BHRC members since 2019, Villiera is home to a 220 -wildlife sanctuary, a thriving bee colony, over 100 000 indigenous trees and a solar production facility capable of generating 340 KW of power.

Most of the remaining natural areas in the Western Cape fall under private landownership, many of whom have collaborated to form conservancies. The conservation efforts of these landowners are invaluable to preserve the level of species diversity and endemism that make the Western Cape an area of high conservation importance.  Many of these properties fall within the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve (CWBR) formally designated by UNESCO in 2007 in accordance with the global Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.

C@W is a non-profit organization that was established in 2004 as the Western Cape Conservation Stewardship Association. The organization assists in conservation management best practice, expanding the protected area footprint on privately owned land and the mobilisation of resources for conservation projects as well as drive the formation of new conservancies in the Western Cape.  They also represent all conservancies in the Western Cape at the National Association of Conservancies and Stewardship South Africa (NACSSA).

The judging criteria for the 2022 Cape Fox Awards were aimed at pitching entrants against themselves to measure their individual achievements and obstacles overcome.  According to Carina du Toit-Becker, Conservation at Work chairperson, the level of entries was outstanding.

“Lockdown restrictions and funding cuts post-pandemic have had a markable social impact and presented various conservation challenges to our members.  In spite hereof, we have seen some impactful conservation efforts across the board,” says Du Toit-Becker.


“We would like to congratulate all our Cape Fox Trophy Award winners for their respective efforts to support conservation and biodiversity during trying times as well as acknowledge all our members and their individual initiatives in the conservation landscape.  We would also like to acknowledge and thank our funders, partners and stakeholders, namely the LandCare project of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, CapeNature, Table Mountain Fund, WWF South Africa and the various biosphere reserves – for their ongoing contributions and involvement,” concludes Du Toit-Becker.


In recognition of his contribution to conservation, the inaugural Mossie Basson Conservation Legend Award was introduced this year. Mossie Basson is widely acknowledged as a pioneer in conservation circles and has made ground-breaking contributions to nature conservation in the country.

  • The award went to the Cape Leopard Trust for outstanding conservation support to members of Conservation at Work.

Best Supporting Partner was awarded to conservation agencies that support the committee of Conservation at Work and its members with funding, resources, organization and events.

  • Winner: WWF South Africa for supporting Conservation at Work chairperson, enabling funding and support to conservancies.
  • Runner up: Department of Agriculture’s LandCare in recognition of support to running events and funding.

Francis Steyn and Gareth Boothway received the above rewards on behalf of Department of Agriculture LandCare and WWF South Africa respectively.


Best Individual Landowner or Managed Property:

  • Trophy winner: Boschendal Wines
  • Runner up: Villiera Wines

Conservation Driver award to recognise the progressive conservation achievements that conservancies have reached, such as improving conservancy governance structure, improving income generation, getting baseline data projects going, making themselves visible, increasing memberships:

  • Trophy winner: Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy
  • Runner up: Pietersfontein Conservancy

Innovative Landscape Conservation award for conservancies that are initiating innovative conservation projects in the landscape that have significant environmental and social benefits:

  • Trophy winner: Rooiberg Breederiver Conservancy
  • Runner up: Nuwejaars Special Management Area


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