Estate a 17th century indigenous initiative
THE DEVELOPERS of the R150 million, 11ha Constantia Nek Estate now taking shape 1km below the Nek itself at the entrance to the Hout Bay valley, are going ahead with a conservation/rehabilitation initiative that will help Hout Bay to regain something of its 17th century reputation as the home of one of South Africa’s finest indigenous forests.
Mark Cockburn, one of the estate’s developers, says that he and his business partner, David Delbridge, have a stated objective of re-introducing indigenous species to the 40- unit development.
“In 1652, Jan Van Riebeeck described the forests of t’Houtbaaijten (Hout Bay) as ‘the best in the world’ but today they are almost non- existent. Van Riebeeck and the settlers took their toll in felling the forests to build defensive garrisons and other structures,” says Cockburn.
“We decided that the Constantia Nek Estate should do its part in the rehabilitation of the valley. The site has become populated with exotic species over time, and no indigenous trees remain, though some indigenous shrubs are still there.”
To make the plan a reality, the environmental and landscaping consultants CNdV were commissioned to draw up a comprehensive indigenisation programme, and a local Hout Bay landscape contractor, Roger Codrai of Interplant Horticulture, has been commissioned to carry out the work. Interplant will supply and plant about 75 000 indigenous shrubs and more than 500 new trees, including over 200 indigenous trees of varying sizes and maturity. The re-indigenisation initiative has been planned to minimise water usage on the site, and most of the plants are resistant to dry conditions.
The list of trees and shrubs will include the much-admired Yellowwood Podocarpus Latifolus, now South Africa’s national tree, 12 of which will be already mature and about five metres tall.
They will form an attractive boundary along the Main Road and along the entrance road to the homes.
Some of the other better known indigenous trees to be established on the estate will be: the Pock or Bastard Ironwood, Chionanthum Foveolatusl the African Wild Plum, Harderyellum Caffrum; the Wild Peach (also known as the Umkokoko), Kiggelaria Africana; the beautiful evergreen Forest Elder, Noxia Floribunda, which can grow to 25m high; and the African Wild olive, Olea Europea subspecies Africana.
Only three of the 40 plots originally released still remain to be sold.
Call James Winter on 082 990 2898 or http:// www. constantianekestate.co.za.
The central access road on the estate is lined by mature olive trees which are being kept to complement the indigenous planting on the estate.