Platbos Forest & The Platbos Conservation Trust
Platbos Forest is situated in the Baviaanspoort Hills on the Grootbos Road between Stanford and Gansbaai in the Overberg region of the Western Cape. Francois and Melissa Krige became the owners of Platbos at the end of 2004. Here, Francois´ passion for trees and forests finds full expression. Krige Tree Services regularly donates time and resources to clearing the alien vegetation that has infiltrated the forest edge. In the past, large areas of this old-growth forest were felled for agriculture. Due to the nutrient-poor soil, however, these fields were soon abandoned. In their place came dense thickets of alien trees that crowd out biodiversity and pose a grave fire threat to this ancient forest.
The Platbos Conservation Trust was created to raise funds to help to protect and conserve the 50 hectares or so that remain of Platbos Forest. In addition, funds are raised for clearing the alien vegeation on the forest edge. These areas are then rehabilitated and replanted with young, endemic forest saplings grown specifically for this purpose at the Platbos Tree Nursery. To date, more than 54 000 indigenous forest trees have been planted around the forest edge at Platbos. In addition, the Platbos Conservation Trust has planted 12 000 forest trees at Farm 215 – a nature reserve neighbouring Platbos. It is inspiring to see the landscape start to revert back to its full potential: less than 0.05% of the Western Cape is home to indigenous forest. As described by cartographer Peter Slingsby, Platbos is a National Treasure – and it is home to a myriad of animals, large on small, who depend on it for their future.
The Platbos Conservation Trust was honoured to receive the 2012 WESSA Western Cape Regional Award in the category of “Environmental Organisations or Projects that stand out as going above and beyond the call of duty” in recognition of the Trust´s contribution to biodiversity conservation and environmental education in the Western Cape.
Francois´ firsthand experience and knowledge of forest ecosystems and the principles of reforestation means that Krige Tree Services is increasingly receiving requests to undertake work of this kind beyond the borders of Platbos, e.g. the kloofs of Klein Constantia, Farm 215 in the Overberg and at Zonnestraal farm, Cape Town.
Platbos Reforest Fest
Each year, Platbos partners with Greenpop for the popular “Reforest Fest” – magical weekends of tree planting on the forest edge. Visitors enjoy live music, good food and guided walks in the forest.
The Reforest Fest is Africa’s largest annual reforestation festival. Each March, people are brought together in the Platbos Forest for the Family Fest – a weekend of planting and play – and the Friends Fest -a celebration of music, heart & soil – to plant thousands of trees, dance to live local bands, learn with sustainability leaders, camp under the stars, and be inspired by positive collective action.
Read more about the initiative here:
Book early as tickets sell out fast.
Platbos Forest School Outings
The Kriges host school groups who visit the forest to learn more about this unique forest biome, the importance of trees and forests, and what we can do to protect them. Platbos is also open to the public by prior appointment.
Tree Planting at Schools
Platbos donates trees from the nursery to local schools. Francois demonstrates how to plant the trees correctly and explains why it is so important to plant the right tree in the right place – then his tree surgery skills will likely not be needed in years to come! So often, home owners plant the wrong tree in the wrong place, and eventually this necessitates its felling …
The Arderne Gardens, with its shady glades, romantic nooks and Japanese-style ponds has, for generations, been a place for Capetonians to bring their children, take wedding photographs and relax away from the increasing hubbub of city life.
Francois Krige grew up near Arderne Gardens in Claremont. For years, this beautiful arboretum, one of the most diverse and valuable collections of exotic trees in all of South Africa, was sorely neglected.
The Friends of the Arderne Gardens turned this sorry state of affairs around, and Krige Tree Services is proud to be in charge of the ongoing care for these magnificent trees. Francois is currently the Chairman of the Friends of the Arderne Gardens.
The Arderne Gardens were established in 1845 by Ralph Henry Arderne, a successful timber merchant originally from Cheshire, England, who acquired the land in Claremont where he built his home, known as The Hill. He collected plants from all over the world and in time the garden became famous. Development of the garden was continued by his son, Henry Mathew Arderne and the garden has been admired and appreciated by the citizens of Cape Town as a place of exceptional beauty for well over a century. The Friends of the Arderne Garden is a Public Benefit Organisation dedicated to the preservation and development of the gardens.
Krige Tree Services supports the Homestead
Today´s children are the future leaders of tomorrow. Since 2001, Krige Tree Services has been a monthly contributor to the Homestead in support of the services that they provide to Cape Town´s street children www.homestead.org.za.