Between the Kouga and Baviaans mountain ranges lies the Baviaanskloof Valley. The Baviaans River flows into the Kouga River, shortly thereafter entering the Kouga Dam. The dam lies within the Baviaans Mega Reserve, a World Heritage Site, providing water to downstream fruit farmers as well as water users in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.
The catchment suffers from the impacts of climate change, leading to increased flood and drought events, effects of which are intensified by overgrazing, wetland degradation and erosion. In the Baviaanskloof Hartland, the privately owned western part of the Baviaanskloof, more than 9 000 ha of the land are degraded. Our social engagement in the Baviaanskloof has created a change in mindset among the landowners which has led to the acknowledgment of the need for alternative land uses to diversify income. Various ecological rehabilitation innovations have already been successfully piloted and we are currently upscaling these efforts.
Together with our partners, Grounded, Commonland, the Dept of Evironmental Affairs and the Gamtoos Irrigation Board our focus has been on the conversion of existing farmland to more sustainable farming practices. This will allow landowners to remove their small stock such as goats from the hillsides, freeing up the land for restoration activities. New agricultural practices are then introduced which require significantly less water than the existing practices. A business was established with the farmers in the Baviaanskloof and we are working on the transition from traditional goat farming to more sustainable and profitable farming practices. With support from The Department of Environmental Affairs, Natural Resource Management Programme, The Coca Cola Africa Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme, Global Environment Facility (GEF5) we are implementing a large scale rehabilitation programme to restore the degraded lands.