In February 2010 lightning struck Pilaarsberg, a 1000m peak on the Western portion of Klipopmekaar.
Over the subsequent days, I estimate that over 1200 HA of wild Klipopmekaar veld burned. On the face of it, one would immediately think of this as a disaster.
However, fynbos needs to burn periodically and fire is in fact regenerative for fynbos and the ecosystems predominant in the region.
Over the past 18 months, it’s been amazing to observe the regrowth of fynbos throughout the burned sections of the farm. Last Sunday we hiked into various far flung valleys and found incredible regrowth of wild Rooibos in particular.
Rooibos is a post-veld-fire pioneer plant. It’s also interesting to take a look at the differing recovery and growth of two different kinds of Rooibos that occur naturally – namely the seeders and the sprouters. To this end, I’ve been supplying GPS data to Daleen Lotter who is studying wild Rooibos distribution and Climate Change at the Natural Resources & Environment Department of The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). It will be interesting to review the results of her research next year.
Wild Rooibos Bounces Back After Fires
Because of the fire, we experienced a setback in the wild Rooibos collection / harvest in 2010. However, because of the incredible regrowth, we are now looking forward to be able to supply and hold stock of much larger amounts of wild Rooibos from 2012 onwards.
That being said, we manage this precious resource very carefully .. only collecting by hand in the veld every two years and practicing collection / harvest programs officially sanctioned by Cape Nature (our local governmental conservation authority).
Klipopmekaar’s wild rooibos blend has a very distinct taste – and is of great interest to buyers of rare and specialty teas worldwide.