In 1975 Frank and Ivy Batchelor donated Protea Heights, a 21 hectare working protea farm, to WWF South Africa and started a chain of events that has benefited conservation enormously. The owners had begun to grow proteas as a hobby and had first exported their flowers in 1968.
In 1976 WWF initiated a programme to cultivate proteas on a large scale to demonstrate the commercial use of indigenous plants. Ever since, Protea Heights has been cultivating flowers for export.
Today the Batchelors’ original homestead hosts Sugarbird Manor, a luxury guest house with conference and wedding facilities, in a unique and inspiring setting.
The guest house is named after the Cape Sugarbird, endemic to South Africa’s unique fynbos vegetation. These birds feed off the nectar produced by proteas and assist in their pollination.
Sugarbird Manor has won various awards at the Imvelo Responsible Tourism Awards, which recognise South African tourism businesses that implement sustainable environmental, social and economic programmes.