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