Celebrating 15 Years

Published: 11 November 2019

In 2019, the Cape Leopard Trust marks its 15th birthday, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a celebration. So, over a sunny weekend in October, 60 special guests, the Cape Leopard Trust team and our board of Trustees gathered at the spectacular setting of Cederberg Private Cellar to kick off a weekend worthy of the occasion.

We enjoyed a warm Cederberg welcome on a gloriously still Friday evening with a local beer, wine and gin tasting. The new Cederberg Brewery was the perfect spot to watch the sunset, while guests had the chance to mingle with the inspirational people behind Ginsmith Gin, Cederberg Wines and Cederberg Brewery.

It was an early start on Saturday morning as we all set off on a selection of activities with specialist guides. One group headed out in the leopard bus with Dr Cameron Penn-Clarke for a palaeontology walk, while CapeNature's Cederberg Area Manager, Rika du Plessis, guided a rock art and botany trail at Stadsaal, and the CLT researchers escorted guests along the 'Lot se Vrou' hike sharing their leopard experiences.

After a relaxing afternoon and some post-exercise downtime, the evening began with a refreshing limited-edition leopard beer and glass of Cederberg MCC. A three-course dinner was served in the impressive wine cellar, with host David Nieuwoudt introducing his award-winning wines, followed by the showing of the new CLT promotional short film made by Black Bean Productions. Not able to attend in person, co-founder and first CEO of the Cape Leopard Trust, Dr Quinton Martins, joined us by video from California to share his memories of the early days. And an extra sparkle was added to the evening courtesy of Jack Friedman
Jewellers, and the James Sedgwick Distillery – many guests went home with an extra memento from the lucky draws and spot prizes!

It was certainly a weekend to remember, and by the time everyone left the following morning to get to their chosen destination for the Springboks semi-final, we had many memories to treasure from sharing two days in an amazing part of the world. Celebrating a landmark birthday in the Cederberg reminded us once again why it’s so important to protect the Cape’s last wild places. These landscapes offer protection not just for rare fauna and flora, but also for our heritage and culture, which is part of our unique African identity. It’s a huge privilege to still be working in a place where the Cape Leopard Trust first began its journey fifteen years ago. Our efforts will continue as we strive to ensure leopard habitat remain protected, and now we are ready to focus on the next 15 years of making a difference for conservation.

A special thanks go to everyone at Cederberg Private Cellar for making our event possible, and for the very generous, much-appreciated further donation of R75 000. To all the people that came out to celebrate with us, and all our partners and friends, we salute you!

Please enjoy this selection of images from the weekend.