Thursday, 20 November 2014

Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 23 November 2014 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

Dear Members, Friends and Family (and friends of friends)…


Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 23 November 2014 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

Please join us on Sunday 23 November 2014 for our end of year get together in the Beachwood Mangroves.  This is an open invitation so feel free to bring along additional friends to this amazing space in the middle of the city.

We will be there from 11.30am onwards, for the day.  Bring along binoculars, braai stuff, chairs and the necessary for a social.

Kind regards
Margaret Burger
tel:  031 573 1054
fax: 031 573 1058

cell: 083 630 5380
uMngeni Estuary Conservancy

So What IS Indigenous Garden Design? MONDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2014 at 18h00 | Durban Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre

The Botanical Society of South Africa KZN Coastal Branch presents

So What IS Indigenous Garden Design?

An illustrated talk by

Anno Torr
Editor of The Indigenous Gardener Digital Magazine

The critical need for gardeners to be part of the fabric that protects indigenous flora while supporting urban wildlife can only be achieved by changing the objectives of traditional garden design. Colour schemes, focal points, texture, spatial organisation and composition, are all elements of this human-driven style. But what principles guide indigenous garden design?
All welcome!

MONDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2014 at 18h00
Durban Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre,
John Zikhali Rd (formerly Sydenham Rd), Durban

ENTRANCE incl refreshments: R35 for members of BotSoc and the Friends of Durban Botanic Gardens and R45 for non-members; students with cards R25. Please pay at the door.

Proceeds to BotSoc branch projects

Bookings / enquiries: please email: / tel: 031 201 5111 / cell: 071 869 3693

Know, Grow and Protect SA’s Indigenous Flora

Tuesday, 30 September 2014




E X T I N C T……

Evolving many thousands of years ago, and at one time roaming the African plains in huge herds before the arrival of men with their lethal guns and being hunted for “SPORT”, the very last QUAGGA died, not on its natural home of the African Veld, but a lonely death in a cage at the Amsterdam Zoo on 12th August 1883.  And thus became EXTINCT.

Nine days later a group of sportsmen who were concerned about the ongoing slaughter of Africa’s natural wildlife, met in Durban’s City Hall to inaugurate the Natal Game Protection Association in order to protect and conserve the areas natural fauna.

So began an organisation that prospered and spread and still continues to work tirelessly not only to protect and conserve Africa’s wildlife, but its entire environment from exploitation and destruction.  Over the years the Natal Game Protection Association became a national organisation, changed its name from time to time to incorporate its expanding role, and now that it encompasses all environmental matters, is known as


Over the years the Society has been involved in many causes in order to fulfil the original aims (and more) of the Natal Game Protection Association

From time to time we will bring to you some of the “battles” that have been won and lost by the Society.

Here are but two. 1964.  The Society fought strongly to save Mkuze Game Reserve from being de-proclaimed.

1980s-90s. The huge fight to stop mining on the Eastern shores of Lake St Lucia and have the area proclaimed a World Heritage Site.



You are invited to TWO indoor meetings this month.

First to the WESTVILLE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY meeting at Westville Central Library
On TUESDAY 7th October at 7.0 for 7.30pm.

On this occasion the Horticultural Society have invited “Yours Truly” to present a slide presentation of a journey through the centre of Australia, South to North.


A five thousand km journey starting at Cape Ottway on the south coast of Victoria, along the Great Ocean Road before turning north through the Outback, visiting an Opal mining town, Uluru (Ayers Rock), The Olgas, Kings Canyon, Alice Springs, Katherine Gorge, The Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks before arriving in Darwin, (the City that died twice)

Everyone will be welcome. R10 donation to cover refreshment costs.



Highway Branch’s regular monthly meeting also at Westville Central Library.
7.30pm on FRIDAY 10th OCTOBER

The guest Speaker will be

Sorry, wrong picture, this is NOT our guest speaker, however

 Our guest will be our own expert on the behaviour and life style of the Vervet Monkey.

Love or hate, (the Monkeys, not Jean Senogles), they are fascinating creatures trying to live with us in an area where we have taken over.

How can each live together and enjoy one another’s “antics”
Are they any form of danger to us, we certainly are to them.

Come along and hear from our resident expert who has studied them for years.

Time and other considerations permitting we will also have another film in the series “Planet Earth”

All welcome, light refreshments. No charge.


Other forthcoming events.

 Sunday 5th October. Guided walk in Kloof Gorge. 8.0am from Interpretive Centre. 

 NB. This is a longer (3-4 hour) strenuous walk.

 Also Sunday 5th October.  Hillcrest Rail Walk. From the Stationmaster’s Arms, Inanda Road.
At 9.0am. Families, dogs on leads, cyclists all welcome. R10 for trail maintenance.

Tuesday 7th October  THROUGH THE RED CENTRE”.  See above.

 Wednesday 8th October.  Guided walk in the Springside Nature Reserve, Hillcrest. 7.30am from the Interpretive centre.  Hopefully, our Spring Flowers will be on display.

  Friday 10th October.  Highway Branch of WESSA meeting. Westville Library. See above.

Saturday 11th October.  The monthly guided walk in the Glenholme Nature Reserve in the grounds of the Kloof and Highway SPCA.
10am from the steps of the Tea Room. Have a “cuppa’ before, or stay for lunch afterwards.

Sunday 19th October.  A shorter, one hour less strenuous walk in Kloof Gorge.  8.0am from the Interpretive Centre.


Remember Highway Branch’s motto,



031 764 0034.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions - Saturday 4th October 2014.


Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions - Saturday 4th October 2014.

The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization cordially invite you to join them at
the Durban Global March for Elephants and Rhinos 4th October 2014.
81 Berea Rd, King Dinizulu Park opposite Durban University of Technology
Finishing at the City Hall
Down Dr Pixley Kaseme St (old West Street)
Find a March near you:

South Africans are uniting with thousands of people in over 120 cities
across the globe asking us all to shun ivory, rhino horn and lion bones as
commodities. Set to be the largest demonstration of its kind ever, the
Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER) on 4th October will raise
awareness and ask each and every government to publicly destroy their
stockpiles of illegal wildlife products, to show zero tolerance for illegal

The walk has gained massive support including   Mrs Helen Clark, head of the
United Nations Development Program had this to say, "Together, we have to
work to stop the slaughter...... on the 4th of October in more than 120
location around the world - from the iconic Maasai Mara to New York people
will march for elephants and rhinos ..... find out where you can march for
Elephants and for Rhinos on the 4th of October and please take part. Thank

"Debating the statistics is no longer relevant, " GMFER event organizers
say, "it doesn't matter which data you choose to look at, there is no
denying that the world is rapidly losing elephants, rhino and lions towards

Painfully clear too is that even in this 'modern age' a rampant demand for
freshly poached elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn, and lion bones continues.
This growing trade in body parts is a key factor in the demise of these
globally iconic species, and GMFER event organizers say that "killing this
demand is a key part of the solution."

The message is loud and clear and coming from all corners of the globe - at
the current rate of killing and with the growing demand for ivory, horn and
bones, our children's children are highly unlikely to see the most
magnificent animals in the wilds of Africa.

There are times when we have to make crucial decisions based on the
information we've got. GMFER organizers are encouraging us to make such a
decision now, because there is no "later" for the elephants, rhinos and

The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization cordially invite you to join them at
the Durban Global March for Elephants and Rhinos 4th October 2014.

Kind regards,
Yvette Taylor
The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization
Tel: +27 31 2662024

Monday, 18 August 2014

SACRED ECONOMICS MINI LAUNCH: Wed 20th August 17h00 at The Corner Café Glenwood

Dear friends and fellow environmentalists,

In anticipation of the upcoming Sacred Economics event with internationally renowned author and speaker Charles Eisenstein, WESSA Durban Branch, Seeds of Unity, Food For Life Children’s Projects and ICON invite you to an informal evening of networking and information to provide community groups, organisations and local businesses with the opportunity to become involved in this exciting event. 

Join us at:
The Corner Cafe
Wednesday 20th August
17h00 to 19h00

  • Introduction to Sacred Economics & short film
  • Details of main event on 9th September (see attached poster)
  • Transition Stourbridge: A short talk by Permaculture Durban
  • Q&A session / general discussion and sharing of ideas and suggestions
  • Registration of participants
Please RSVP by 19 August 2014 to:
For inquiries and more information, contact:
Jenny 076 236 6713, Barbara 083 654 4853, Divesh 074 162 6834 or Liz 082 797 1488

The bar will be open for drinks and coffee. Soup and homemade bread will be available to order

We apologise for the short notice, but hope you can make it. Please also inform anyone else you think would be interested.  

Best wishes on behalf of the organising committee
Barbara, Jenny, Divesh and Liz

Website invitation to the main event (9th Sept)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 20 July 2014 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

White mangroves shifting

Dear Members, Friends and Family (and friends of friends)…

Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 20 July 2014 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

Please join us on Sunday 20 July 2014 for our winter get together in the Beachwood Mangroves. This is an open invitation so feel free to bring along additional friends to this amazing space in the middle of the city.

We will be there from 11.30am onwards, for the day. Bring along binoculars, braai stuff, chairs and the necessary for a social.

Kind regards
Margaret Burger
E mail:

Woolly necked storks et al

Fishing Pelicans

Fish Eagle Trail

Maphiwe Mzobe, Moosa Zikhali, Lindelani Zuke, Roland Suhr, Frederike Liasides

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Clean Up Pigeon Valley | Saturday 5th July from 09:30 to 10:30.

Families are invited for a one-hour clean-up in Pigeon Valley on Saturday 5th July from 09:30 to 10:30.  
The reasons are that the undergrowth has died back a lot, revealing litter that had been thrown into it, and also that the recent rain brought down a lot of litter onto the main track.  I am suggesting that we work in small groups to pick up the litter visible near the tracks or on the tracks themselves.
This is a great opportunity to get young people into the reserve so that they become more familiar with nature.
The management are happy with this, and are providing refuse bags for the event.
You may wish to bring gloves, and I would suggest not evening wear, but there are otherwise no major requirements.  
Any queries: please contact me on 082 926 5333 or on 
Crispin Hemson

Friends of Pigeon Valley

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Walk on north bank of the uMngeni Sunday 29 June at 8.00am.

Dear Members and Friends

Walk on north bank of the uMngeni from Connaught onwards Sunday 29 June at 8.00am.

We will walk on the north bank of the uMngeni Estuary this coming Sunday 29 June 2014. Essentially it is a look see walk, taking in the current state of affairs of our river. There is much happening from the widening under Connaught Bridge to monitoring users to checking on work being implemented to just appreciating what we have and enjoying the space.

We will meet at the uMngeni River Bird park at 8.00am.

Please email for additional information. All welcome.

D’MOSS walks 29 June 2014

D’MOSS walks 29 June 2014
Meet at Umbilo Park at 9 o’clock for Sunday’s walks on 29 June 2014. The short walk will be along the canal path and on the paths below the levee to the M7 bridge. From there we follow the curve of the river as it flows around the Portuguese Club. Walkers then turn into Wright Place, back under the bridge and along the levee to Umbilo Park. This walk will again be led by Colin Lawson. The route is almost level all the way and is about 500 metres longer than the walk last month. It should not take longer than 75 minutes.

The longer walk starts off on the same route but we go over the bridge and explore the heavily wooded area between the Umbilo River and Sarnia Road ridge. Before the steep uphill to Elgin Park on Sarnia Road we turn and walk back to Umbilo River along a different path, and then on to Umbilo Park. This walk will take about two hours. 

As always, the Friends of D’MOSS Walkers will have tea, juice, and biscuits ready for the return of both walks. 
Derek Nicholson

031 465 4278   or   072 400 1216

Monday, 9 June 2014

Botanical Society outing on Saturday 21st June in the Lower Mpushini Conservancy area

A reminder about our outing on Saturday 21st June in the Lower Mpushini Conservancy area. Besides the stunning Aloe ferox (candelabrum), the area has many tree species. The owner of the property through which we will be walking has asked if we would be prepared to identify the trees which we come across. He will supply plastic and marker pens to use as temporary labels. So all you tree people  - we need you!  There are also several species of buck as well as many other mammals and birds.

Meeting place and directions will be sent at a later stage to those who have put their names down. To book, please email Lindsay on And please include your contact number in case of last minute changes of plan.      

Sunday, 8 June 2014

AGM 3 July 2014 of the Palmiet Nature Reserve Management Committee and Friends of Palmiet

                             The Annual General Meeting
    of the Palmiet Nature Reserve Management Committee
                               and Friends of Palmiet

         will be held in the Frank Farrer Hall, (at the end of
          Old New Germany Road), Palmiet Nature Reserve,

                        at 6:00 PM on Thursday 3 July.

This will be followed by a most interesting talk (guaranteed!) by ProfTicky Forbes, who has taken a great interest in Marine and Estuarine habitats over many years. He will tell us about the Umgeni River into which the Palmiet River flows and other rivers, and most importantly, their estuaries.

In true South African tradition we will end the evening by socialising.
So BYO and sit with friends around the braai and listen to the fruit
                     bats and maybe even a bush baby or two.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Notice of broadcast - Fokus, Sunday, SABC 2 Fuleni Anthracite Mine border Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Notice of broadcast - Fokus, Sunday, SABC 2

At 18h30 on Sunday, 8 June 2014, SABC2’s Fokus current affairs programme will broadcast a documentary about plans for the Fuleni Anthracite Mine just outside the south-eastern border of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park – and opposition to two other mines, also in northern KZN.

Dear WESSA Members


WESSA is deeply concerned about the application by the company Ibutho Coal to develop an anthracite coal mine right on the boundary of the world-renown Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.  This proposed Fuleni Mine has the potential to cause severe and irreversible impacts on this flagship nature reserve and the communities of the Fuleni- Umhlana area.

WESSA opposes Ibutho Coal’s application to open-pit mine within 30-70m of the Park fenceline. Undoubtedly the noise, blasting, vibrations and other impacts of the will have a severe adverse impact. The managers of HIP, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, have reported that two existing mines situated much further away from the Park fenceline than that of the proposed Fuleni Mine, already adversely impact on the HIP’s fauna and tourism.

We cannot ignore how acid mine leachate has polluted wide areas from so many of South Africa’s mines; threatening our scarce water resources and community health.  The proximity of this proposed mine poses a serious acid mine leachate risk to the Park.

Of critical concern to WESSA is the strong likelihood that the mine will lead to an increase in poaching in the Park. Ezemvelo reports that the rhino population of the HIP is already under serious threat by poachers. WESSA has been intimately involved in trying to protect rhino and elephants from poaching since the early 1980s, and holds that this increased risk should not even be tolerated.

WESSA fully supports the motions of objection filed by Ezemvelo and the Save our iMfolozi Wilderness Alliance against this application, and we have submitted an objection to the Minister of Mineral Resources, Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi. WESSA has called on him to implement his Ministry’s pledge last year that “some places are sacrosanct – they have such high conservation value that we together commit not to disturb!”. We have also called on the National Ministers of Environment Affairs and Tourism to persuade the Department of Mineral Resources to recognise the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park as being one of these sacrosanct places; and that Ibutho Coal be required to forego mining with the buffer area of this Park.

Yours in sustainable development,
Morgan Griffiths

WESSA Environmental Governance Programme Manager
Tel: 041 5859606




I think that I shall never see,  a poem lovely as a tree,

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed against the Earth’s sweet flowing breast,

A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her lovely arms to pray,

A tree that in summer wear, a nest of Robins in her hair,

Upon whose bosom snow has lain and who intimately lives with rain,

Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer.

Here in the Highway area we are blessed with large number of trees.  They give us shade from the sun, they are home to a variety if creatures above, below and within them,  and yet we treat them as if they do not matter.  Imagine Westville, Kloof, Hillcrest without a tree !!  Palmiet, Jubilee Park, Glenholme, Ipitha, Springside. Our local Nature reserves as deserts without the life giving trees.  Trees are, or are descended from, some of the oldest forms of life on Earth.  Without them we would not exist!!.   Yes,  BE A TREE HUGGER !! They matter.

HIGHWAY BRANCH’S indoor meeting this month will be on Friday 13th 
Westville Central Library.  7.30pm.

Our guest speaker will be Margaret Keogh.  
Her subject  “THE MYSTERY OF SOIL.”
What is it,  How is it formed, why is it essential for life, how can we best use it,
Which forms are best for which plants.?

After Margaret’s talk we will have an extract from the film series “Planet Earth”

As always, everyone is invited, no charge, voluntary donations welcome. Light refreshments.

Sunday 15th June.  A guided walk in the Glenholme Nature Reserve situate in the grounds of the Kloof and Highway SPCA. Top of Field’s Hill.
Departing from the SPCA Tea Rooms at 10.0am.
 Duration about 1½ hours of easy walking.  All welcome including dogs on a leash.

Two guides, one to tell you about the Flora and Fauna of the reserve, and one to relate the interesting history of the area and how the SPCA and the Reserve came to be there.

No charge, donations towards the maintenance of the reserve welcome.

Further afield.  It is interesting to note that Britain is following South Africa’s lead in charging for plastic bags at Supermarkets in order to reduce unsightly and non biodegradable litter.   Greytown in northern KZN has gone one better. There, NO plastic bags are given, free or otherwise, everyone takes their own re-useable bags. Could we not persuade the shops in the Highway area to set the ball rolling for the greater Durban area?
YOU can do your bit by refusing plastic bags and take your own.

Remember Highway Branch’s motto.


Alan Job.  Chairman, Highway Branch of WESSA.

PMB Happy Earth events and other events of interest

Dear All,

June is a busy month for us in the Happy Earth Forum here in Pietermaritzburg. I want to share with you the following events that may be of interest for you or your organisations. 

7. June Clivia Room, Botanical Garden 3:30pm: Kevin and Karen Zunckel will give a talk on "Families living sustainably - for their own savings, as well as for the environment"  This talk is part of the Botanical Society AGM, but everybody is welcome.

12. June President Suite, Royal Showgrounds 9:30am: First meeting for the Happy Earth Hall for the upcoming Gardenshow (19.-212. Sept)

14. June Botanical Garden, 10:00am: Launch of the Happy Earth Insect Hotel
It will be a fun educational morning for families and everybody who wants to learn more about insect hotels. They are a truly sustainable project and can be build easily with schools and communities. They help adding habitat diversity and thus, create space for important pollinators and other useful invertebrates. They are a true must have for many projects, including permaculture gardens, food gardens, orchards and many more. 

27. June Botanical Garden 6pm Happy Earth Moon walk - a fun family time to experience the Botanical Gardens at night, looking at stars, listening  for animals...there will story telling by Pandora Long, music with John Roff and of course fire to keep us warm and some hot chocolate and marshmallows.

I hope to see you at some of the events, please tell your friends and family about it and feel free to send it out to your own data bases.

Kind regards

Friederike Voigt (PhD)

(Happy Earth Forum coordinator)
59, Milliken Road
Tel 033 344 1166
Cell 082 779  6766

Friday, 7 March 2014



Greetings all who are “People Caring for the Earth”

March already, only another 280 days to Christmas!!.  The Seasons are changing, the days getting shorter, and our Wildlife, Plant and Animals, are starting to prepare for Winter.  The change of Season gives us the opportunity to get out without the heat and humidity of Summer and to enjoy the changing scene.  These days most people carry with them a Camera, often in the form of a cell phone.  See an unusual Bird, Butterfly or Plant that you cannot identify? Take a photo of it and send it to “Virtual Museum” (Google it on the net for full details) who will identify it for you and send you details. Who knows, you may have found, even in your own garden, a new species that can be named after you. Everlasting fame!, and the pleasure from just observing and wondering can become a most interesting hobby.  “Just Do It” as the famous advertising motto says.


Saturday 8th March. A Guided Walk through the Glenholme Nature Reserve, SPCA grounds, Kloof.
10.0am from the Tea Rooms at the SPCA. Donations towards the reserves upkeep.

Wednesday 15th March. Guided walk in the Springside Nature Reserve, Hillcrest.  Mainly Bird watching.
7.30am from the Resource Centre. Tea/Coffee afterwards.  Donations towards the maintenance of the Reserve.

Saturday 15th March.  Global march for the Lions. Against “Canned” hunting.  A similar march is being held at many Cities around the World.  The Durban march starts from “Pirates S.L.C. on the beach front, 10.30am.

Sunday 16th March. A guided walk in the Kloof Gorge Nature Reserve. One hour. Contact 031 764 2467 for further details.

Sunday 30th March. Is Tree Day in Springside Nature Reserve. 9.30am. Walk led by Will Sperrin to identify tree species.   11.30am. Tea/Coffee at the resource Centre with discussions on Trees and Plants, Indigenous and Alien.  Followed by a BYO Braii or Picnic.

Sunday 6th April. Guided walk in Palmiet Nature Reserve,  Phone 031 266 5240 for time.


Now for our regular indoor meeting at Westville Central Library.
Friday 8th March

Guest Speaker is SONJA GIBSON  from USHAKA
What does the World’s largest living creature eat ?.
They are hardly visible to the Human eye. They affect our atmosphere,
They are important to ourselves. What other life do they support?
Sonja, from the South African Association for Marine Biological Research
will be telling us about these amazing, minute but essential creatures.
Doors open at 7.0pm for a 7.30pm start.  All welcome, No charge, Light Refreshments.


Our Motto.  “Every Day, In some way. YOU can make a difference”
What can YOU do?
 How about taking your own bags to the Supermarket instead of buying those plastic ones.
Recycle and reuse.
Get into the habit.

Alan Job.
Highway Branch of WESSA.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Pigeon Valley and work between Friends and municipal management

The Friends of Pigeon Valley are affiliated to WESSA through the Durban Branch.  Their work focuses on Pigeon Valley Park in Glenwood.  This small (10 hectare) nature reserve is becoming a model of collaboration between local residents, organised through the Friends, and the management, which is under the Natural Resources Division of the eThekwini Metro.
The reserve is unique; it has large numbers of Celtis Mildbraedii, the Natal Elm, which is one of the country's rarest trees, and of Oxyanthus Pyriformis, the Forest Loquat.  It attracts a remarkably diverse range of urban wildlife, such as the Spotted Ground-Thrush, an endangered species, in winter.
The work of the Friends includes clearing of invasive alien plants in the reserve and in neighbouring areas.  We are now working with the Natural Resources management to remove such plants also in the reservoir next to the reserve.  This is under Durban Water, but there is now an agreement to control the management so that there is not excessive mowing, thus creating the conditions for optimal biodiversity.
The Friends have led the introduction of tree labels throughout the reserve, and work with management on problems that arise from time to time, like security or erosion.

A Green Twinspot in the park greets the New Year

We believe that this collaboration is enhancing biodiversity in the area, with sightings of rare wildlife frequently in the last few years.  There are roughly 100 locally indigenous trees in the park, and occasionally a new plant is found.  The role of the Friends is crucial in identifying and addressing threats to this biodiversity.

A magnificent Celtis Mildbraedii in the park

Increasingly we see our work as enhancing biodiversity.  This is not 'conservation' of the past; Pigeon Valley has changed hugely over the years, and at present is perhaps more effective with regard to biodiversity than it was 20 years ago.  
A Red-capped Robin-Chat waits to bathe after a Buff-spotted Flufftail, 
the rarely seen inhabitant of the park, January 2014

Boisduval's False Acrea

Birdlife Port Natal is now seeing Pigeon Valley as an example of how people can organise to take ahead conservation that sustains birds and other wildlife. Pigeon Valley is a tiny part of the eThekwini Metro, but it can serve as an example of how officials and residents can work in harmony.

Another seldom-seen inhabitant, the Blue Duiker