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CARD MAGAZINE TM

BEST CORPORATE

MAGAZINE

2013 T0

2018 SA PUBLICATION FORUM

SPRING 2019

MEMBERS ONLY

www.wildcard.co.za

R39.90

R1 000 WEEKEND

Stretch your bucks in the Cederberg

How parks help to save the planet

Blooms in Addo Chill out among trees Wellness at De Hoop

CELEBRATE

GREEN

Overdose on lush Most flamboyant bird species What else hides in the canopy?

12030

Conserve. Explore. Experience.

explore | conserve | enjoy

9 771993 790001


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CONTENTS 8

10

14

Our roundup of green destinations will inspire you to cherish everything nature offers us, from breathing space to sights that inspire.

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24

G R E E N

28 4 Letters 8 Road trip with Mom Five weeks travelling from park to park 10 Surprising sightings Can predators get along? 14 Wild dog census Help the Kruger Park count endangered animals 16 Spring walk in the Boland Superb Jonkershoek trail 19 Trip planner Sleep among the trees 2 WILD SPRING 2019

26

P A R K S

34 DESTINATIONS 21 Amazing green parks 22 Gamkaberg Value of spekboom 24 Marakele Quality water 26 Garden Route Using plants for bioprospecting 28 Camdeboo Buffer zone 30 Kgalagadi Cultural riches 32 Mlilwane Breeding roan 34 Drakensberg Dark sky 36 Golden Gate Saving grass

36 DESTINATIONS 66 Deluxe De Hoop Lekkerwater Beach Lodge has a priceless setting ADVENTURE 60 The R1 000 weekend Escape to the Cederberg even on a tight budget 68 Yoga in nature Find balance at this idyllic Overberg retreat


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Wild

SPRING 2019

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50

“We had stepped out of our comfort zone and succeeded beyond our expectations.” – HILTON PURVIS, PAGE 56

56

64

78

88

72

COVER Chris van Rooyen Knysna turaco

NATURE 38 Addo in bloom How rains revitalise the park 44 Evergreen snakes Perfectly camouflaged reptiles 64 Fresh start for penguins Inside the innovative plan to establish a new colony 78 Verdant feathers Look for these green birds 86 Buffalo thorn Get to know the Tree of Life www.wildcard.co.za

PEOPLE IN PARKS 50 Cookery school in Kruger The novel project dishing up new opportunities 56 Kgalagadi firsts A wheelchair-bound member records unforgettable sights PHOTOGRAPHY 72 Shooting lush Capture nature in all the shades from olive to jade

KIDS 88 Be an eco-warrior The planet needs your help WILD CARD 90 Parks protocol Go green on your next visit 93 Become a member 94 Map of the Wild parks 96 Competition Win a stay at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge

SPRING 2019 WILD 3


INSIDE TRACK EDITORIAL BOARD HAPILOE SELLO SANParks SHERAAZ ISMAIL CapeNature MUSA MNTAMBO Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife MBONISENI DLAMINI Msinsi Resorts ANN REILLY Swazi Big Game Parks HEIN GROBLER Wild Card

WILD CARD ENQUIRIES 0861 GO WILD (46 9453) wildcard@sanparks.org International Wild Card members call

+27-12-428-9112 EDITOR Romi Boom | wilded@tipafrica.co.za DEPUTY EDITOR Magriet Kruger | magriet@tipafrica.co.za ART DIRECTOR Riaan Vermeulen | riaan@tipafrica.co.za DESIGNER Leon Kriel TEXT EDITOR Marion Boddy-Evans PROOFREADER Margy Beves-Gibson DIGITAL JOURNALIST Gaynor Siljeur CONTENT DIRECTOR Igna Schneider EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Joan Kruger CREATIVE DIRECTOR Petro du Toit MISSING COPIES/CHANGE ADDRESS

subs@tipafrica.co.za

CONTRIBUTORS Emma Bryce, Albert and Marietjie Froneman, Nell Hofmeyr, Hlengiwe Magagula, Bryan and Robin Maritz, Dale Morris, Hilton Purvis, Mitch Reardon, Janine Stephen, Ron Swilling, Annesuse and Dagobert Thometschek, Dianne Tipping-Woods, Morgan Trimble PHOTOGRAPHY & ART Afripics/Robert Harding/Alamy, Romi Boom, Peter Chadwick, Mark Dumbleton, Albert and Marietjie Froneman, Calvin Kotze, Dale Morris, Kirstin Petersen, Tyrone Ping, Loretta Purvis, Scott Ramsay, Mitch Reardon, Daleen Roodt, Karin Schermbrucker, Shutterstock, Ron Swilling, Annesuse and Dagobert Thometschek, Morgan Trimble, Chris van Rooyen, Luke and Ursula Verburgt (Enviro-Insight)

PUBLISHED BY Tip Africa Publishing PO Box 13022, Woodstock, 7915 T: (+27) 021-447-6094 F: (+27) 021-447-0312 wilded@tipafrica.co.za EDITORIAL QUERIES 021-448-5425 BUSINESS & SALES Jaco Scholtz jaco@tipafrica.co.za | C: 083-303-0453 PUBLISHER Theo Pauw theo@tipafrica.co.za

FROM THE EDITOR

The waterfall above Algeria, Cederberg

T

his Green Issue, specially compiled to celebrate spring, shines the light on our favourite parks and reserves that are helping to save the planet. The take-home message from Wild Card’s much-loved properties is that they provide fresh water, clean air, natural splendour that refreshes the soul … and more. By celebrating all things green, we salute life, birth, fresh growth and new beginnings. Green is natural, environmental, ecological, organic and eco-friendly. It is nature at its finest and most flamboyant. I’m agog at the beauty of our showiest green birds (page 78) and the blooms that burst forth after the rains in Addo Elephant National Park (page 38). If you still need visual stimulation to inspire your next trip, turn to the photography portfolio of lush green shots (page 72) that showcase some of the myriad facets of natural life. Nearly 200 000 Wild Card members who appreciate nature provide funds, almost R100 million a year, for conservation. Your green actions may be as simple as obeying the speed limit within the parks. Speeding not only endangers wildlife, it wastes petrol and bumps up carbon emissions. By teaching young nature lovers about pollution and recycling (page 88) you’ll raise a new generation of eco-warriors who treasure the Earth. Right now, you’re also reading green. Wild magazine is printed on paper from well-managed forests, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Offcuts from trimming the pages get recycled, and while most readers save back issues, special paper coatings ensure the magazine is 100 per cent recyclable. We’re looking into ways to replace our plastic wrapper, which is used purely because substantial postage savings get channelled directly into conservation. In the coming weeks I’ll be on a road trip to the Drakensberg and Kruger National Park, followed by my annual pilgrimage to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. While most Wild Card devotees know these all-time favourites inside out, there’s always something new to be discovered. Watch this space.

WILD CARD PARTNERS

Wild® magazine and Wild Card® are registered trademarks of SANParks. Opinions expressed in this magazine do not reflect those of the Wild Card or any of the Wild Card programme partners. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, but Wild magazine cannot be held liable for inadvertent mistakes. Prices correct at the time of going to print. Letters may be shortened for clarity.

4 WILD SPRING 2019


WILD LETTERS

Connect with us at www.wildcard.co.za | wilded@tipafrica.co.za | PO Box 13022, Woodstock, 7915

BRAVO KRUGER My wife and I booked three nights at Skukuza and Berg-en-Dal respectively. Near Skukuza a leopard passed in front of our car. On our way to Berg-en-Dal, we saw a leopard hunting impala. Although we waited for 30 minutes to witness the kill, the impala got away. On the S119 we saw wild dogs enjoying a mud bath in a pond just next to the road. On a guided morning game drive, we set off in the early hours and 2 km out of camp, towards the H3 road, we saw our third leopard, hunting. While the guide was explaining the animal’s behaviour, he was interrupted by the call of a spotted hyena trailing the leopard. On the S114 dirt road we saw a leopard and its kill in a beautiful big tree. Under the tree a hyena was scavenging on the scraps falling from above. A lioness was also present about 8 m away. After breakfast my wife and I drove back towards the S114 and saw a bull elephant (one of many ellies on that drive) 7 m from a sleeping lioness, as well as buffalo, rhino, wildebeest, zebra, kudu and impala. An unforgettable experience to see four of the Big Five in one place. Kruger deficiency syndrome has us returning soon. Sebokwana and Tokona Mfikoe

Send us your letter for the chance to win.

WINNIN

LETTERG

Sebokwana Mfikoe wins a pair of OX-Trail Racer trail running shoes (R999) from HI-TEC. These lightweight shoes feature a high-performance nylon upper with no-sew support structure for stability and a snug fit. Flex grooves enhance the natural motion of the foot, keeping you comfortable for longer.

ELLIES AT PIONEER This year we visited South Africa for the fifth time since 2015. In Kruger, we crossed the border at Giriyondo and Pafuri for a short stay in the Mozambique section of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier National Park. While at our bungalow in Mopani, I was doing some basic maintenance to our 4x4 when my wife, Judy, called me over. This family of elephants was having an early morning drink at Pioneer Dam, which is overlooked by the rest camp. The 10–15 minutes’ viewing we enjoyed was one of the highlights of our travels around Kruger. Tony Wood, UK

www.wildcard.co.za

SPRING 2019 WILD 5


INSIDE TRACK

CUTIE PIE I was intrigued to find the article on chameleons on page 32 of the autumn 2019 issue, since I’d come across this vivid specimen on a bicycle ride up the pass above Hermanus. During the breeding season in spring, adult males of the Cape dwarf chameleon Bradypodion pumilum become more brightly coloured than the females. These engaging dwarf chameleons are described as being heliotropic — they use the sun’s rays to raise their body temperatures and may climb to high branches to expose themselves to morning rays. The Cape dwarf chameleon can grow to over 15 cm in length, including the tail, with males and females reaching similar adult sizes.   The young are miniature versions of the adults, with muted colours, and typically reach no more than 2 cm in length at birth. Adults can vary quite significantly in colour, saturation and pattern, some appearing much more vibrant than others. Like most chameleons, the tail is prehensile, and the feet are well evolved to easily grasp twigs, with minute claws on the end that improve grip. Dr Martin Briggs

“Excellent articles and professional presentation. Very good value for Wild Card members.” – Noel Hayter ERRATUM The winter 2019 issue referred to a Cape fox sighting, plus photo, in the Pafuri area of the Kruger National Park. This mammal does not occur in the KNP, Peter Lawson pointed out. The photo portrays a juvenile side-striped jackal, which is very scarce in that part of Kruger.

6 WILD SPRING 2019

ADORABLE ANTICS We spent a weekend in the magnificent Mountain Zebra National Park in April this year to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday. On our Saturday morning drive along the Sonnenrust Trail, we encountered a variety of buck, zebras and monkeys but a group of entertaining ground squirrels had us shooting photo after photo to capture their antics. Can’t wait to return to this park with the many beautiful landscapes and endless views. Tarnia Sabbadin

WILDLIFE BENCHMARK I have just received the winter 2019 issue of Wild. I cannot think of a better magazine on wildlife, not even National Geographic, which I read regularly. I know they are different publications, but NG has always been the standard by which other magazines are judged. Every article in your magazine is interesting and well written, and illustrated with great photos. John Olpherts Christie


NYALALAND DETAILS As a participant in a memorable experience of the Nyalaland Trail more than 20 years ago, I recall the campsite consisting of thatched A-frame huts under enormous trees. On page 57 in the autumn 2019 issue it says: “The camp has tented accommodation on decks.” I recall the campsite we used was situated a considerable distance to the east of Punda Maria Rest Camp. It almost sounds as if two different campsites are being used for the Nyalaland Wilderness Trail. If the site was changed, can you please inform me when this occurred? Rudolph Bigalke The Nyalaland trails camp at Madzaringwe River was washed away in February 2013. A temporary tented camp was then established close to Punda Maria, overlooking the Luvuvhu River. In 2018, the original trails camp reopened after the rebuild, with thatched A-frames. The temporary fly camp location is no longer used, and if it is used in the future it will be as a new wilderness trail under a different name. The location on the Google map is correct. – Ed.

Where did you go with your Wild Card? Send us a picture of your card in the parks and you could win free renewal of your membership. Email your pic to competition@tipafrica.co.za (subject line: Card). For rules, visit www.wildcard. co.za/category/competitions.

Frans Schutte wins with this photo taken at Nossob Camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. www.wildcard.co.za


PARKS CHALLENGE

7 920 km

with a Wild Card

Leago and son Bheki-Mfundo Makgabo spent five weeks travelling to Wild parks, including nature reserves like Limietberg, pictured below.

To celebrate his mother’s 50th birthday, Bheki-Mfundo Makgabo took her on a road trip across the country. In five weeks they visited 30 parks. Almost a park a day!

O

n the day my mom, Leago Ma­ kgabo, turned 50, we started a road trip which took us five weeks and 7 920 kilometres to complete. We’re from Mamelodi, a township east of Pretoria, and we both love adventure, travel and nature. My grandmother once told me I should be a citizen of the world, I love travelling so much. I am currently studying business manage­ ment and work as student support staff at a tertiary institution. I started planning and saving for this cross-country road trip nearly a year before it happened. Each park has its own unique characteris­ tics and it was wonderful to be able to enjoy the qualities of each. In Limietberg Nature Reserve, Tweede Tol was amazing, from trav­ elling Bainskloof Pass in order to get to the campsite to the three waterfalls and swim­ ming holes. This was truly a gem for me. My mother especially enjoyed Namaqua National Park because of the tranquil atmo­ sphere, unspoilt beach and skies, the raging sound of the waves crashing into the rocks and the cold Atlantic Ocean. The campsite was a real arid camping experience for us. I have made a promise to return to Die Hel, with an adventure bike or high-clear­ ance vehicle as our hatchback got a puncture and couldn’t pass the muddy water crossing on our attempt. In all honesty, we would like to return to all the parks, from the Ceder­ berg to Nature’s Valley in the Tsitsikamma section of Garden Route National Park. We discovered an amazing combination of ocean, wetlands, game and birds. /

ENTER THE CHALLENGE

THE

PARKS CHALLENGE

8 WILD SPRING 2018


GOLDEN

2019

AT GOLDEN GATE HIGHLANDS NATIONAL PARK 6–8 DECEMBER 2019

Join us in the tranquil foothills of the Maluti Mountains for the third instalment of the prestigious Golden Classics. Hosted by South African National Parks, this year’s weekend promises to be an event of sheer musical indulgence, a money-can’t-buy visitor experience among the golden sandstone mountains. Guests can expect the most memorable concerts yet, with performances of both popular jazz tunes and beloved operatic arias. Get your affordable weekend package through Computicket. Enthusiasts and visitors can follow the event on all SANParks social media platforms for up-to-date information. Information (012) 428 9111 | www.sanparks.org/about/events/golden_classics.php


FRENEMIES? Wild dog and hyena compete for the same resources but on occasion are seen in each other’s company.

HUNTERS and scavengers Out-of-the-ordinary interactions in Kruger raise questions and reveal fascinating stories. By Annesuse and Dagobert Thometschek

W

e live in Germany and have been visiting South Africa regularly since 1989, always to see the national parks, particularly Kruger. On our last trip we had two extraordinary sightings. On the S30 from Lower Sabie to Skukuza we came across four wild dogs and a hyena. The five animals appeared to be friends. There was familiarity and a

10 WILD SPRING 2019

lack of aggression. We couldn’t help but wonder if this behaviour was unusual. Just outside Olifants Rest Camp, we saw a bateleur on the road eating a leo­ pard tortoise. Did the bateleur capture the tortoise or had it been killed by a car? Do tortoises belong to the normal prey spectrum of bateleurs? We were particu­ larly impressed by the fact that the bird could break the shell.


SIGHTINGS

Did the bateleur capture the tortoise or had it been killed by a car?

For insight into these interactions, Wild consulted Mitch Reardon, who worked as a ranger before becoming a wildlife photographer and writer. This pack of African wild dogs tolerates the lone spotted hyena in its midst be­ cause there is no food to squabble over nor pups at risk of attack. Also, they are probably quite familiar with each other. Tense relations exist between packs and clans when they compete in an unfor­ giving environment for similar food resources. Wild dogs are among the most successful hunters in the African bush. Hyenas are also efficient and versatile hunters, but ever opportunistic. One of their ways of obtaining food is to follow other predators and either wait for them to leave their kill and then eat whatever is left or steal the kill if possible. As a wild-dog pack roams through an area on the lookout for prey, hyenas follow it and use their size and numbers to drive them off the kill. A hyena easily outweighs a wild dog by 45 kilograms. A www.wildcard.co.za

lone hyena may attempt to snatch a piece of meat, but the dogs will rebuff their rival with bared-teeth strikes and agi­ tated chirping and clucking vocalisations. The clamour attracts more hyenas and their persistence increases. With a chorus of high-pitched cackles and whines they form an intimidating wedge and rush in. The wild dogs eat as quickly as pos­ sible and when they realise the odds have turned against them, relinquish what’s left of the kill and go on their way. There are no records of hyenas killing wild dogs, nor the other way around, in Kruger or anywhere else. Hyenas seem to be regarded as a mere irritant. Tol Pienaar, warden of Kruger from 1987 to 1991, reported that eight wild dogs hunting along the Jock of the Bushveld Road in the Malelane section were fol­ lowed by a hyena with two half-grown pups, five low-flying vultures and four jackals. But on another occasion a pack of wild dogs was seen wallowing in a waterhole alongside several hyena. There was no antagonism and they actually

Bateleurs’ varied diet includes reptiles and carrion.

SPRING 2019 WILD 11


SIGHTINGS

played together. At times like this, both species seem quite prepared to put aside their competitive natures and enjoy each other’s company. Raptor in the road The bateleur eagle’s sharp beak and strong talons probably did not pierce the sub-adult leopard tortoise’s protective shield to reach the meat inside. But there are other ways to secure the delicacy within. Two thousand years ago, Roman naturalist philosopher Pliny the Elder reported that golden eagles captured tortoises and smashed open the shells by soaring high into the sky then dropping them onto rocky ground. In the 1980s, field biologists observed golden eagles doing just that. If the shell withstood the impact of the first fall, the eagle took it back up to a height of 30 to 60 metres and dropped it again. One par­ ticularly robust shell plummeted to earth eight times before it cracked open. The bearded vulture, or lammergeier, also hunts in this way, as does the Ver­ reaux’s or black eagle, according to recent studies. One pair of Verreaux’s eagles was reported to have killed 84 tortoises over a 119-day period. Bateleurs eat a wide variety of food items, including small antelopes, ro­ dents, birds, reptiles and carrion. The latter makes up at least half of their diet, according to Rick Watson, who presented a doctoral thesis in 1986 that investigated bateleur ecology in Kruger National Park. At no time during his five-year study did he witness a bateleur drop a tortoise onto the terrain below to break open its shell. He found that they were especially attracted to road kill and one of the first birds to attend smaller carcasses, leaving only when vultures and larger eagles arrived. Soaring great distances at low altitudes and high speed makes them particularly suited for locat­ ing carrion. All the evidence suggests this Kruger bateleur is feasting on road kill. /


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Conservation, Partnerships & Ecotourism


INSIDE TRACK

In Kruger dog numbers are slowly climbing to over 300 after a low of just 177 in 2000.

A wild dog can be identified by its unique coat pattern. 14 WILD SPRING 2019


Make it count A photographic census of wild dogs and cheetahs starts in Kruger this spring. Your photos can help assess the size of the park’s population. By Janine Stephen

CALVIN KOTZE

E

veryone wants to see wild dogs loping along in the wild. If you’re in Kruger, keep a camera ready in case you are lucky enough to encounter a pack so you can participate in the wild dog photographic census, held every five years for about nine months. Cheetahs will also be counted, so snap away, keeping in mind that individuals are identified by their unique coat patterns, so side-on views are best. Data captured this way helped state vet Louis van Schalkwyk and colleagues locate wild dogs for a challenging vaccination project that ended earlier this year. In May 2016, a virulent strain of canine distemper, probably from domestic dogs, wiped out every member of the Lower Sabie Pack, one of about 19 packs in the park. This prompted a proactive vaccination project, which covered 45 to 50 per cent of all adult wild dogs in Kruger. The dogs were also vaccinated against rabies, GPS collars were placed on key individuals to monitor packs, and various health tests done. The rabies vaccines were successful. The distemper results were about to be received at the time of Wild going to print. Collars are extremely expensive, however, and they don’t last. In the absence of collars, reported sightings are very useful. “When the disease outbreak happened, the only information we had on resident packs in the

www.wildcard.co.za

park was from the photo census,” said Louis. He believes the project proved vaccination is possible, though, ideally, jabbing domestic and feral animals outside the park’s borders is the best first line of defence. Previous counts showed that pre2000, northern Kruger was a good area for wild dog, but by 2017 it had only transient visitors. As a result, four males from Mokopane and four females from Hluhluwe were taken to a boma near Shingwedzi in the hope of forming a new pack and expanding the animals’ range. It was a complex process. To aid the initial introduction, all animals were rubbed up against each other while asleep, as they use smell to recognise kin, then woken simultaneously. In time, there was “ultimate success”, said Grant Beverley from the Endangered Wildlife Trust. The released pack formed a home range, denned in the Mozambique section of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park of which Kruger is a part, and has raised at least two litters. Their GPS collar died in March but they had been finding plenty of suitable prey. Good news for the north and the whole of Kruger where dog numbers are slowly climbing to over 300 after a low of 177 in 2000. Exact census dates will be announced by SANParks and the EWT. Send photos with descriptions of where they were taken to census@ewt.org.za /

SPRING 2019 WILD 15


INSIDE TRACK The Jonkershoek amphitheatre offers spectacular mountain views wherever you look.

The abundance of fynbos was dotted with bursts of colour.

16 WILD SPRING 2019


SPRING in my step Sosyskloof, a refreshing pocket of indigenous forest in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, is the perfect place to stretch legs with friends. By Ron Swilling

T

he loveliness of the 9 800 hectare nature reserve on the outskirts of Stellenbosch always takes me by surprise. The Jonkershoek amphitheatre forms part of the Boland mountain range, the source of several rivers, including the Eerste River that flows into the Jonkershoek valley. With a choice of trails ranging between a little over five kilometres to 18, we opted for a sweet three- to four-hour trail, leaving ample time for a picnic in the shade of Sosyskloof. The circular Swartboskloof to Sosyskloof trail begins three kilometres from the reserve entrance and follows a path up along Swartboskloof through the mountain fynbos, before continuing on the more level contour path to So­ syskloof, where water trickles down the

rocks while ferns and grasses drink in the coolness of the indigenous forest. Along the way we were treated to spectacular views of fynbos slopes, forested kloofs and rugged peaks. When I arrived, my friends were already waiting and the children, like horses whose stable doors have been flung open, hared off past the restios, ericas and proteas that carpeted the lower slopes of this rich World Heritage Site, home to more than 1 100 plant species. To keep up with the energy and exuberance of youth, the adults needed some revving up. The sun was deliciously warm and the breeze blew the vegetation in gentle, flowing waves. Small robust waboom (wagon trees) Protea nitida crested the abundance of fynbos dotted with bursts of colour.

Top left to right: In fynbos there is almost always something in flower and depending on the time of year, you might come across huge pincushions or tiny blooms. www.wildcard.co.za

SPRING 2019 WILD 17


INSIDE TRACK

Following winter rains Jonkershoek’s slopes are green and the waterfalls in full flow.

When everyone had walked ahead, I stopped and breathed in the mountain world and listened to the silence. It didn’t take long before a feeling of peace and well-being enveloped the whole group, daily worries blown away with the wind. We reconnected with the Earth and recalibrated our rhythm with nature. By the time we reached Sosyskloof, the children had burnt off enough energy to enjoy the break. We took off shoes and soaked toes in the icy

mountain stream, enjoying the sprinkle and splash of a waterfall shower. Snacks were unpacked and passed around and the children spread out on rocks under the trees. Rock agamas sunned themselves and watched us cautiously before dashing off. Wending our way down, the pace was slower, it seeming too soon to leave the mountains. Already we were making plans for the next trail, reluctant to leave this magnificent stronghold of peace. /

TRIP PLANNER The trail The circular Swartboskloof to Sosyskloof trail is 5,3 km or 6,9 km and takes three to four hours, depending on route and pace. For the longer route, look out for the path that veers left next to the small weir at the beginning of the trail. Allow extra time for breaks and picnics, to savour the views and spot the flowers along the way. Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is 9 km from Stellenbosch. 18 WILD SPRING 2019

Conservation fee R50 an adult, R30 a child, free with a Wild Card

Contact 021-866-1560, www.capenature.co.za/reserves/jonkershoek-nature-reserve


KIRSTIN PETERSEN

TRIP PLANNER

TRIP PLANNER

Diepwalle

When their branches are decked in fresh green leaves for spring, these treeside destinations are more alluring than ever. By Gaynor Siljeur and Nell Hofmeyr

The explorer recommends

Diepwalle Camping Decks, Garden Route National Park

The hiker recommends

The tree climber recommends

The eco-warrior recommends

Langebos Huts, Addo Elephant National Park

Kameeldoring Treetop Chalet, Mokala National Park

Knysna Forest casts a captivating spell when you overnight at Diepwalle Camping Decks. Stay in a permanent tent or pitch your own on one of 10 wooden decks shaded by yellowwood, stinkwood and Cape pear trees. Each deck is equipped with power, a kitchen area and a cosy outdoor braai to sit at while you drink in the forest sounds. The three Elephant Trails take you on moderate day walks through pristine forest, past gurgling streams and colourful fungi. You’ll feel like a true discoverer as you tread the ground once walked by elephants. Don’t miss the Forest Legends Museum.

There’s nothing like a walk in the woods to clear the mind and restore the soul. At this secluded pair of huts in the Woody Cape section of Addo, sleeping four guests each, you’ll be totally at peace. The main bedroom and lounge boast impressive forest views, so you’re never far from the wooded wonderland outside. Discover ferns, fungi, rare birds and other delights on the walking trails that lead off from the huts. Visit the nearby coastal dunes for a dose of fresh air or, if you’re up for a challenge, head off on the two-day Alexandria Hiking Trail for a truly immersive experience.

Make your childhood dreams come true with a stay at this magical treehouse. Perched in the gnarled branches of a camel thorn tree with sweeping views of the wilderness, it’s like something out of a storybook. The cabin comes equipped with a double bed, small kitchenette and outside braai, perfect for quiet nights under the stars. After a day of adventure, while away the hours on the wooden deck, conveniently positioned above a waterhole for game viewing. Roan antelope, red hartebeest and zebra are frequent callers. This chalet is in high demand, so plan your trip early.

This reserve encompasses 250 hectares of indigenous forest, so there’s no shortage of nooks and crannies to explore. Make the most of your visit with an overnight stay overlooking the ancient yellowwood and stinkwood trees. The eco-friendly cabins ensure maximum comfort with a fully equipped kitchen, braai facilities and a cosy lounge. To feel truly at one with your surroundings, spend time in one of the tree-top bird hides. With 196 recorded bird species, Grootvadersbosch is a twitcher’s utopia. The reserve also has a jungle gym to keep the kiddies entertained.

Rates R217 a night for a camping deck, maximum four people. R444 for a deck tent with two single beds. Contact SANParks Central Reservations 012-428-9111

Rates R1 455 for up to four adults, R260 extra person, R130 extra child. Contact Addo Elephant National Park reception 042-233-8600

Rates From R1 360 for one or two guests. Mininum two-night stay. Contact Mokala National Park reception 053-204-8000

Rates Off-peak from R1 100 a night for one or two guests, R230 an extra person. Peak from R1 560. Contact CapeNature 087-087-9262

www.wildcard.co.za

Cabins, Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve

SPRING 2019 WILD 19


PEOPLE IN PARKS

The dry Kalahari?

It’s a rare privilege to watch the Nossob River flow. For one mobility-challenged Wild Card member, his first trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was more adventure than holiday. By Hilton Purvis

KGALAGADI

0N WHEELS

DRAMATIC SKIES Clouds building over a lone springbok signal rain and cooler weather.


From left to right: Black-backed jackal hunting for breakfast in the rain; first-time visitors Hilton and Loretta Purvis met up with friends at Nossob; springbok, and downpours, abounded.

LORETTA PURVIS

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y wife, Loretta, and I have been enjoying our national parks for more than 20 years, becoming frequent visitors to Addo, Mountain Zebra and West Coast national parks. We’ve also man­ aged to take in Karoo, Bontebok and Kruger as well as St Lucia and Hluhlu­ we. One park eluded us though: the Kgalagadi. Muscular dystrophy permanently places me in a wheelchair. My disability is profound and I rely entirely on Loretta for all of my daily activities. While we don’t necessarily see this as a limitation, it nevertheless colours our choices in terms of accommodation, transport and general accessibility. Our friends were almost evenly split between those who thought we were insane to consider visiting the Kgala­ gadi and those who encouraged us at every opportunity. In addition, we generated a fair amount of chatter around our motor vehicle, a stan­ dard VW Tiguan in 2x4 configuration, which was deemed unsuitable. We took a deep breath and

booked for February this year, despite being warned about extremely high daytime temperatures, poor road con­ ditions and dust, dust, plenty of dust. Arming ourselves with soft-sand driv­ ing lessons, the advice to lower tyre pressure to 1.6 bar, puncture-repair and towing gear, supplies of bottled water, neck scarves for soaking therein and atomisers, we headed north. On the first morning in the park we splashed through the gate, windscreen wipers swishing back and forth. We looked at each other thinking “the dry Kalahari?” The conditions did not dampen the spirit of the game and we soon found ourselves surrounded by soaking-wet, pronking springbok at Samevloeiing. The rain quickly subsided and we were treated to days of glorious sun­ shine, damp and dust-free roads, and lower temperatures. This allowed us to drive with the win­ dows down, filling the car with the smells and sounds of the bush. It also meant our gamewatching times could be extended to eight or nine A very chilled cheetah encountered at Kaspersdraai.

www.wildcard.co.za

SPRING 2019 WILD 57


PEOPLE IN PARKS

View from the Nossob bird hide with the river flowing by.

58 WILD SPRING 2019

hours each day, starting at six and get­ ting back to the cottage only after two, sometimes including another late after­ noon drive. Since the rain had dumped a lot of water onto the roads and into the bush, the waterholes were quiet and most of our encounters occurred in the natural landscapes. The naysayers didn’t believe we would make it to Nossob but we decided to give it a try, even developing a liking for the silky smooth sandy surfaces, free of road and tyre noise. In Nossob we met up with a number of Addo and Cape Town friends who were visiting the park at the same time. All of them were driving 4x4s and one couple of­ fered to guide us north to Polentswa to see just how far we could go. Good road conditions allowed us to reach as far as the picnic site of Lijersdraai, a beautiful area of the park. In the Auob riverbed, we made it to Dertiende Boorgat. On our second afternoon in Nossob, the heavens opened and a massive rain­ storm lasting nearly two hours flooded the campsite and created a small moat around our chalet. This provided us with perhaps the rarest sighting of all when we sat in the easily accessible Nossob bird hide and watched the Nos­ sob River flow by. It was an extraordi­ nary scene, followed a couple of days later by the appearance of flowers in the

veld on bushes which days earlier had looked stone dead. We were truly privi­ leged to witness this. We enjoyed wonderful sightings along both of the river roads. Lions were never in short supply, although they did spend most of their time doing what lions do best: sleep under trees. The cheetahs were more accommodat­ ing and we encountered them every­ where, from under a tree at Melkvlei, to prowling the open basin of Gems­ bokplein and a really close encounter on a sand berm at Kaspersdraai. The giraffes of the Auob riverbed provided us with endless entertainment as they strode majestically down the sandy superhighway or, much to our shock and horror, galloped down the dunes, or chose to browse among the trees, eye to eye with startled sociable weavers. We had countless sightings of gemsbok, springbok, wildebeest, hartebeest, kudu, brown hyena, steenbok and even a fleet­ ing glimpse of a badger. The birdlife was a particular treat, even for a couple who do not consider themselves to be dedicated birders. It would be an understatement to say it was plentiful; everything from little finches and weavers to hawks, falcons, eagles, secretarybirds and an abundance of kori bustards. The park literature in­ dicates there are approximately 200

LORETTA PURVIS

We had stepped out of our comfort zone and succeeded beyond our expectations.


resident kori bustards; we think they might have omitted a zero. The landscapes were simply breath­ taking: open riverbeds, red dunes, sprawling waterholes, gnarled trees, rocky escarpments and views that go on for kilometres topped by huge thunder­ cloud skies. Our wide-angle lens saw a lot of use and we even managed to try our hand at star photography of the crystal clear, unpolluted night skies. The amazing Kgalagadi light seems to mark every photograph with its unique stamp. After 12 fantastic days we sadly had to depart, feeling we could quite easily turn the car around and do it all again in a heartbeat. We had stepped out of our comfort zone, tackled new ground, and, thanks to the support and encour­ agement from friends, had succeeded beyond our expectations. Once you feel the red Kalahari sand between your toes, you will always want to return. /

TRIP PLANNER Conservation fee R89 an adult, R45 a child, free with a Wild Card Rates Chalets from R1 135 a night for one or two people. Bookings SANParks 012-428-9111, www.sanparks.org Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park lies 265 km north of Upington.

The deep ruts left in the mud by the wheelchair were still visible more than a week later and could quite possibly still be there now!

Morning coffee at Melkvlei.

The accommodation We checked into wheelchairaccessible chalets in Twee Rivieren for four nights, Nossob for five nights, then returned to Twee Rivieren for another three. Thanks to the kind assistance of fellow SANParks forum members, the Stocktons, we had detailed descriptions of the chalets and a preview through their photographs. This solved one of the major problems of travelling in a wheelchair, namely the element of surprise, sometimes rather nasty when the accessibility is not everything it promises. The disabled accommodation is adequate, although manageable only with assistance. The bathrooms have elevated toilet seats, which are a relic of the 1970s when we all used old-fashioned, clunky hospital-sized wheelchairs. Hopefully this will change as the units are upgraded and I can look forward to sitting on the loo with my feet actually touching the ground. The access I have one advantage over many other wheelchair users, being extremely lightweight and thin, with a correspondingly narrow wheelchair. This allows me access to places many others would not enjoy and definitely helped in Kgalagadi. Access into the units was manageable, although both Twee Rivieren and Nossob suffer from the problem of not having a paved parking area, which would link the access ramp to the motor vehicle and allow for safe transfer into and out of a vehicle. On our first morning at Twee Rivieren we sunk into the mud way past the wheelchair rims, requiring Loretta to turn me backwards and drag the chair to the car. It would have been impossible to manage on my own. The deep ruts left in the mud by the wheelchair were still visible more than a week later and could quite possibly still be there now! The staff were most helpful and when requested, sought to make our stay as comfortable as possible. The drives We covered more kilometres than normal, averaging 160 kilometres a day, since this was our first trip. In future, and there will be future trips, we will probably be spending more time at chosen destinations. Comfortable daytime temperatures, never above 35°C, and good road conditions allowed us to explore areas of the park we had never imagined possible for us or our vehicle. The rains brought water and mud into the equation, but those too were manageable with deflated tyres and a bit of momentum.

SPRING 2019 WILD 59


# R1 000

WILD WEEKEND

60 WILD SPRING 2019


CAMPING

g n i c n Bala Feeling cash-strapped? R1 000 buys a weekend of leisure and activity in the Cederberg Wilderness, camping and fuel included. By Romi Boom

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wilight on Friday, and zen mode evades Niels Dijkstra as he weighs the stones in his hand. Patience and ‘knowing’ the stones are required, so he perseveres. Niels himself is perched on a rock in the middle of the Rondegat River that bisects the campsite at Algeria. His focus intensifies as he builds up an alarmingly precarious pile. The stacked stone structure holds, for now. While the land artist is immersed in his hobby, Vivienne Dijkstra pitches her small tent alongside the spot painstakingly selected by her son for his triangular hanging tent, a portable treehouse more commonly known as a covered hammock. From her hatchback she then unpacks the weekend’s basic provisions, a creative kitchen to be prepared on a rocket stove,

fuelled by short sticks of which she has a bunch in her boot. For kindling she uses pages from an empty notebook. For sundowner sustenance, she quaffs home-brewed kombucha, a fermented tea she trades at local markets and funky festivals. Gypsy at heart and in lifestyle, the former dancer-turned-body-balancing instructor lives off the grid as much as possible. She adheres to the barter society notion, favours the exchange of credits and advocates greener ways to cut down on waste by repurposing old bottles and jars. We’ve just met and already we discuss organic patches and sustainable products such as the Revive herbal lemonade she makes with rose geranium and hibiscus, lavender and ginger. A conversation about happiness and health elixirs.

Opposite, clockwise from top left: Vivienne Dijkstra fires up her rocket stove; protea in flower; the waterfall above Algeria, stone sculpture in the foreground; Niels Dijkstra balancing stones − see more of his stone art on Instagram @zengravity. www.wildcard.co.za

SPRING 2019 WILD 61


CAMPING

For their weekend away from the city, Vivienne and Niels couldn’t have chosen a more soothing spot than evergreen Algeria with its murmur of water spilling over silky stones. Its charms invite families to simply relax in the natural pool or expend their energy on hikes along the riverside or up to the waterfall. Two new mountain-bike tracks, Honey Badger (6,6 kilometres) and Rock Jumper (3,3 kilometres), both have moderately difficult gradings and allow riders to enjoy the spectacular views of the jagged sandstone rock formations, burnt orange by iron oxide. On the agenda Saturday morning is the hike to the waterfall, slightly challenging and best undertaken with a walking stick. At an easy pace the hike takes three hours there and back, so there’s ample time to pack up camp and move on to the northern section of the Cederberg reserve. The next stop lies near the top of the Pakhuis Pass, 17 kilometres beyond Clanwilliam on the flower route to the Biedouw Valley and Wupperthal. Kliphuis, with its upgraded, shady campsite, is set in a grove of pine trees. One of the main attractions here is the famous Rocklands bouldering site, known for world-class rock climbing, although you’d be forgiven for simply lolling about in the tea-coloured water of the swimming hole in the Kliphuis River. If you want to burn off energy on Sunday morning but bouldering is not your thing, the 11-kilometre hike along a track to the picturesque hamlet of Heuningvlei, one of 14 Moravian Mission Church outposts, is spiritually enriching and one of my favourite trails anywhere. The small community of 25 families, overlooked by the towering Krakadouw peaks, is known for its

production of dried fruit and organic rooibos tea. Donkey carts were traditionally used to carry produce to Clanwilliam and, if you book a few days in advance, you can hitch a bumpy yet exhilarating donkey cart ride back to the top of Pakhuis Pass, where you left your vehicle in the car park. Booking is essential because the donkeys, which have to be rounded up in the veld, sometimes disappear for days on end. The hike to Heuningvlei is easy underfoot and shows off the spellbinding faces of the Cederberg. Gravity-defying cairns built by nature and boulders stacked in precarious formations add to the fanciful appeal of the landscape, a World Heritage Site. Although there’s not a soul in sight, I notice a rhino head silhouetted against the big blue sky, and around the next bend a Voortrekker woman in a kappie, flanked by her child. Mountain fynbos typical of the Cape floral region abound along the track and dot the mountain. At midday crags reflect light in shades of orange, copper and auburn. Come the golden hour, the scenery glows in salmon pink before morphing into lilac and violet. My only regret of the weekend? Stepping away from Friday evening’s campfire at Algeria, my headlamp revealed the unexpected presence of a bold spotted genet raiding my camp kitchen on the table. I promptly shooed the thief away without a thought of photographic evidence. Tourism manager Henry Davids was amused but not amazed when I shared my story. “They’re a common sighting,” was his nonchalant response. “They’re skilled opportunists.” Needless to say I waited all Saturday evening with camera in hand, but at Kliphuis the only wildlife at nightfall was the barking of baboons. Perhaps next time.

COSTS: Algeria R180 + Kliphuis R120 + Hiking permits R120 + Fuel R580 = R1 000 62 WILD SPRING 2019

/


One of the main attractions here is the famous Rocklands bouldering site, known for world-class rock climbing.

The hiking trail to Heuningvlei passes curiously shaped boulders.

CMYK (4-COLOUR) PRIMARY LOGO - always use as first choice

The Cederberg’s pristine wilderness can be explored on several day hikes, but be sure to get a permit.

TRIP PLANNER

The Cederberg Wilderness lies three hours north of Cape Town. www.wildcard.co.za

Conservation fee R60 an adult overnight guest, R35 a child, free with a Wild Card Camping Algeria R180 off-peak for one or two people, R60 an extra person, maximum six. R420 for six during peak season, Kliphuis R120 off-peak for one or two people, R20 an extra person, maximum six. R200 during peak season. Hiking permit Day hikes R60 an adult, R35 a child, available from Algeria and Kliphuis offices. The Maltese Cross is well worth an outing. Bookings CapeNature 087-087-8250, www.capenature.co.za Donkey cart rides Dalene van der Westhuizen, Heuningvlei 027-492-8001 SPRING 2019 WILD 63


As one of Africa’s largest marine protected areas, De Hoop is home to large pods of dolphin and southern right whale.

Take to the water

All set to become the best beach lodge in South Africa, Lekkerwater makes the most of its spectacular setting. By Romi Boom

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arge dorsal fins jut upwards. Upper bodies gleam black, bellies white, as a school of about 40 common dolphins mass in front of Lekkerwater Beach Lodge. As many again surf the waves in their approach to the feeding waters. They’re gregarious, hunting in a pack. We have ringside seats from the deck high above the shoreline.

Lekkerwater, the new beach lodge at De Hoop Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area, was built on the exact footprint of former president FW de Klerk’s holiday home. Situated in the eastern part of the reserve, previously accessible only to hikers on the renowned Whale Trail, the location is steeped in history. Cave shelters provide evidence of human habitation

The lodge offers utter seclusion, with just seven rooms for guests.

66 WILD SPRING 2019


RESERVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Lekkerwater Beach Lodge overlooks a pristine section of coastline.

dating back to between 64 000 and 100 000 years. After the house burnt down in 2015, the concession to build a seven-room ecolodge was awarded to Natural Selection, a conservation-driven safari company whose camps and lodges are known to be one-of-a-kind, blending into their southern African surroundings. The company puts conservation before profit and donates 1,5 per cent of gross revenue towards the expansion of wildlife areas and the upliftment of communities which live alongside wildlife and are committed to conservation. The new lodge was designed to focus on the dramatic coastline, with large sliding doors opening onto uninterrupted views. Shades of blue inside and out blend with environmentally friendly construction. Tick local and recycled materials, tick renewable energy, tick careful management of waste. Single-use plastic is avoided, amenities comprise recycled box soaps, brown paper bin liners are used, while potable water and fresh milk are provided in glass containers. Plastic straws and wrapped toothpicks have been banned, along with www.wildcard.co.za

plastic ear buds and shower caps. To minimise water usage, the landscaping is indigenous and guests are requested to be mindful of taking long showers. On our morning guided walk, we explored the shoreline, its rockpools and intertidal zones. Congregated in the crevices were countless periwinkles, peaceful grazers on microalgae. “Beware the winkle that finds itself alongside the whelks!” explained guide Billy Robertson. The latter are predators that capture prey with a tubular proboscis. We marvelled at crowds of anemones in multiple hues, on the margins of pools and in sandy gullies where they feed on dislodged mussels, urchins, whelks and other animals tumbled by the waves. Lunch was served right on the beach, toes in sand, with the region’s finest wines. In a nod to its carbon footprint, the lodge sources all produce no further than 80 kilometres away. Our afternoon hike followed eland spoor among magnificent fynbos flora, a malachite sunbird, an orb-web spider, caracal tracks and the pervasive scent of buchu. Stays at Lekkerwater are limited to two days, a foolproof recipe to return. /

SPRING 2019 WILD 67


WELLNESS RESERVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Look within

At a yoga retreat at the Melkkamer in De Hoop Nature Reserve, the journey is inward and the take-home memories bountiful. By Romi Boom

NAMASTE De Hoop’s serene setting is ideal for focusing on yoga and other mind12body WILDpursuits. SPRING 2019


“What a beautiful weekend! I learnt something important from each yogi on the retreat.”

From left to right: the reserve can be explored by mountain bike; De Hoop’s chefs make wholesome food with local ingredients; sunrise over the jetty on De Hoop Vlei.

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lei Cottage, perched above the lagoon edge, does not have electricity. When dusk descends, we light fat candles and gleaming paraffin lanterns. At first light, we boil water on the gas stove for an uplifting brew. The landscape feeds the senses, the seclusion lifts the spirit. Invigorated, some of us jump on mountain bikes for a brisk ride before the morning’s vinyasa flow class. Those who take time to greet the day stroll down to the wooden jetty for a closer look at pelicans, cormorants, flamingos, egrets, herons, grebes and sacred ibis. An animated island in the Salt River. I’m rewarded for my efforts with a prize sighting of an African darter feeding elegantly, sinuously and surfacing time after time with a silvery catch. We’re all yogis, some with years of practice, others just starting the journey towards inner peace. De Hoop Nature Reserve is a sanctuary, a healing space for wildlife and humans alike. A herd of caramel-tinged eland, all adolescents, hang out in the vicinity of the Melkkamer. Vagabonds, they also delight in their hideaway across the water from the reserve’s hub at the Opstal. The Melkkamer manor house complex with its two annexes, Vlei Cottage and Foreman’s Cottage, is reached in five minutes by boat or by a circuitous, 40-minute drive along the shoreline. Gracious and exceptionally comfortable, the homestead has wrap-around porches

www.wildcard.co.za

and sash windows. Wholesome food is served with affection by the Melk­ kamer’s resident chef and her team (they do have electricity). Between classes, there’s time for vlei walks, spa treatments and a drive to the beach at Koppie Alleen where serenity is found in the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean. “What a beautiful weekend! I learnt something important from each yogi on the retreat,” reminisced Crystal Farmer the Monday after. “My bottom is in my office chair, but my heart is still in the vlei!” One of several millennials on retreat, Crystal is an anthropologist with a profound interest in conservation. For her the breakaway offered an opportunity to clear her mind. Partner Jarvis Ball, newly on sabbatical, saw the potential for creative thinking about his furniture design business. Projection mapper Wayne Ellis, a whizz at light choreo­graphy, described his weekend as both relaxing and recharging. In the rustic ambience of the small barn which served as a studio, he found his inner zen in a sound journey, coaxing celestial music from the handpan: “True wealth is about collecting experiences and spending your time in meaningful ways.” Kate Ball, director of the retreat and Wayne’s partner, believes yoga– nature therapy restores balance in life. “De Hoop is the perfect setting to nurture present-moment awareness.” Is she surprised at the presence of SPRING 2019 WILD 69


RESERVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT

De Hoop is the perfect setting to nurture present-moment awareness.

Clockwise from top: Young eland wander along the vlei’s shore; doing yoga in the open air stimulates the senses; the Melkkamer homestead dates from the late 1800s.

so many young people on retreat? “For many of our generation, the concept of success is closely connected to personal growth and freedom, including regular travel adventures. It’s about making a conscious effort to create regular minisabbaticals for yourself. A yoga retreat is a perfect way to do this: it offers more than just a holiday. Yoga has transformative power, I’ve experienced it in my own

life and I love to share it with others.” While the weekend’s buzz is mostly about yoga, meditation and healthy lifestyle choices, treats include an enchanting sundowner cruise on the vlei at the golden hour, followed by a potjiekos event around the boma fire. Our final evening at De Hoop is overlooked by a full moon and we relish the quiet, still space inside of us. /

TRIP PLANNER Conservation fee R40 an overnight guest, R20 a child, free with a Wild Card. Accommodation Vlei Cottage is one of three Melkkamer houses for self-catering. R4 394 a night for one to eight people. Book with De Hoop Collection 021-4224522, www.dehoopcollection.com A stay at Lekkerwater includes accommodation, all meals, local drinks and daily activities. From R2 950 a person a night. For more information and to book, go to www.naturalselection.travel. 70 WILD SPRING 2019

Contact De Hoop Nature Reserve CMYK (4-COLOUR) 028-542-1114 Yoga retreat Email info@yogaspirit.co.za PRIMARY LOGO - always use as first choice

De Hoop is three hours from Cape Town, in the Overberg.

SECONDARY LOGO


WASTE NOT, WANT NOT Have you noticed that your Wild Card has ‘Earth’ printed on it? By supporting green initiatives, you can be a responsible Wild Card member and help preserve the wild. By Hlengiwe Magagula

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itter is always nasty but especially so in nature reserves. For park authorities waste management is a headache. Not merely unsightly but a danger to wildlife. Non-biodegradable waste remains an environmental hazard for decades, centuries even. We are an army seven million strong in the battle to protect our conservation areas. That’s how many people visit our parks each year. To help keep them pristine takes only small decisions. Despite best human endeavours, it’s hard

90 WILD SPRING 2019

to design baboon-proof bins that can be used by all park visitors, including children and the elderly. This means litter is often scattered by primate hands and birdy beaks. The best way you can help is to take your waste home and dispose of it there. Coastal parks are especially vulnerable to waste pollution and need special care. One of the most popular is Garden Route National Park, which has a focus on preventing degradation of ocean waters. As well as constant monitoring of Knysna estuary for E. coli pollution, the park campaigns to


PARKS PROTOCOL stop waste cooking oil entering water­ ways from nearby towns and reaches out to local schools through its ‘waste nothing’ initiative. In the latest project, SANParks and the Knysna Municipality are testing cargo nets on culverts to stop big items washing into the sea.

Below are our best tips for a greener holiday. As well as reducing waste, simple measures help minimise energy use and water consumption. The parks belong to us and we can show our love by caring for them for future generations.

RECYCLE, REFILL, REUSE Before your visit

When preparing for a trip to beach or bush, think about the eventual dis­ posal of everything in your shopping cart. Avoid items with excessive or non-recyclable packaging as well as single-use plastic plates, cutlery, toothpicks and straws. Get a reusable picnic kit, it will be cheaper in the long run. Think ‘nude food’ and get into the habit of preparing picnics without

the use of cling film or tin foil. Use containers or beeswax wraps which are washable and reusable. For drinks, get a refillable flask and avoid single-use cups that are a mix of plastic and cardboard and not recyclable.

During your visit

To reduce your eco footprint, curb carbon emissions and minimise noise and light pollution, follow our tips below.

ALL VISITORS Stop the vehicle engine when viewing wildlife. As well as saving fuel, it lets you enjoy the natural sounds and minimises disturbance. Wait for animals by a waterhole rather than driving round. Leave nothing in the park. Pick up a paper waste bag at the park entrance and take all waste home for safe disposal. In Kruger, Out of Africa shops have used only recyclable paper bags since 2001, made by the Gayatri Paper Mill in Germiston from sustainable forest material. Take particular care in your disposal of cigarette filters and every form of plastic. Enjoy a foot, cycle or horseback trail rather than driving. Look for souvenirs that are locally made from sustainable or upcycled materials. As well as supporting

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jobs, these don’t have the negative impact of items imported from the other side of the planet. Dine in at park restaurants instead of getting take-aways, and provide your own doggy bag or ask for environmentally friendly take-away food packaging. Containers made from bagasse (sugar cane pulp) cost more than cardboard but are completely biodegradable. Use a refillable water bottle. All parks provide potable water. Out of Africa has launched refillable water projects in Kruger, Addo Ele­phant and the Tsitsikamma section of Garden Route National Park. Look for the colourful range of water flasks made by Consol Glass, available at Out of Africa stores in the parks. In Marakele National Park, guests at MORE’s Marataba Safari Lodge are given reusable stainless steel water flasks, a practical souvenir.

Waste away With nearly two million visitors entering the gates of Kruger National Park each year, the refuse created is substantial. So are the opportunities for recycling. In 2014, SANParks, in co-operation with Nampak, opened a facility to sort the big five of recycling: glass, plastic, metals, cardboard and paper, from other waste. Employees at the Skukuza mechanical recycling facility operate conveyor belts to pick out glass, cans, PET plastic (typically used for plastic bottles and food containers), milk and juice containers, cartons and office paper before compressing and bailing them for transport to recycling centres.

SPRING 2019 WILD 91


PARKS PROTOCOL

Separate recyclables and look out for collection points in the park.

OVERNIGHT VISITORS Where needed, park accommodation has window screens and bed nets. Turn off the air-con, open the windows and enjoy the nocturnal sounds of the wild. Take a guided walk or game drive instead of using your vehicle. Aim to take home as much of your waste as feasible. Separate recyclables such as glass, aluminium and PET plastic and look out for collection points in the park. Use roll-on or cream insect repellants instead of aerosol sprays. Enjoy the serenity of rest camps and walk to the pool or shop instead of driving.

92 WILD SPRING 2019

BACKPACKERS

CAMPERS

Practise pack-in, pack-out, zero-impact walking.

Use solar LED lamps instead of paraffin or gas.

Carry an empty stuff sack for waste.

Check braai wood is obtained from sustainable sources.

Don’t bring glass on backpack trails. Not only is it heavy, it is against the rules.

Ask camp administration about the recommended disposal method of chemical toilet waste.

When wild camping, use sand to wash dishes and tins. Don’t burn plastics. Use only biodegradable soap. Burn toilet paper, carefully, and bury the ashes.

Pack a basin or sink stopper for conserving water while washing dishes. /

Take home as much of your waste as is feasible.

JOIN A CLEANUP SANParks Honorary Rangers often organise cleanups in parks and non-members are welcome. They’re sociable, fun and leave you with a good feeling at the end of the day. Contact them at www. sanparksvolunteers.org. Each September, hundreds of thousands of volunteers tackle coastal litter as part of the International Coastal Cleanup. Check www.oceanconservancy.org to discover how to join a local cleanup group or how to start your own.


CLUSTER OPTIONS

Go Wild! Join the

ALL PARKS CLUSTER Individual R 640 Couple* R1 055 Family* R1 290 CHANGE OF ADDRESS

CLUB

Remember to update your postal details online if you move or close your postbox.

SANPARKS CLUSTER Individual Couple* Family*

R 610 R 995 R1 195

CAPENATURE CLUSTER

www.wildcard.co.za wildcard@sanparks.org 0861 GO WILD (0861 46 9453)

Individual Couple* Family*

R 555 R 905 R1 085

MSINSI CLUSTER Individual Couple* Family*

BECOME A WILD CARD MEMBER AND GET:

R 555 R 905 R1 075

SWAZILAND BIG GAME PARKS CLUSTER

• 365 days’ unlimited access to participating parks and reserves • Wild magazine four times a year • Bimonthly Wild newsletter with special offers, competitions and events

Individual Couple* Family*

R 460 R 750 R 920

EKZN WILDLIFE CLUSTER Individual Couple* Family*

R 610 R 985 R1 185

INTERNATIONAL VISITORS

www.wildcard.co.za

Lekkerwater Lodge, De Hoop Nature Reserve

ROMI BOOM

ALL PARKS CLUSTER: Individual R2 900 Couple* R4 530 Family* R5 420 *Couple: Two adults or one adult and one child. *Family: Up to two adults and their five children under the age of 18, or one adult and six children (both South Africans and international visitors). Proof of identity, nationality and residency will be required when entering any park, reserve or resort. Prices subject to change without notice.

PRICES VALID UNTIL 31 OCTOBER 2019


See how many of our parks and reserves you can visit in a year – you could win free membership renewal. Visit www.wildcard. co.za to find out more. www.sanparks.org +27 (0)12 428 9111 1 Addo Elephant National Park 2 Agulhas National Park 3 Augrabies Falls National Park 4 Bontebok National Park 5 Camdeboo National Park 6 Golden Gate Highlands National Park 7 Karoo National Park 8 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park 9 Knysna National Lake Area 10 Kruger National Park 11 Mapungubwe National Park 12 Marakele National Park 13 Mokala National Park 14 Mountain Zebra National Park 15 Namaqua National Park 16 Table Mountain National Park 17 Tankwa Karoo National Park 18 Tsitsikamma National Park 19 West Coast National Park 20 Wilderness national Park 21 |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

THE

PARKS CHALLENGE

WILD CARD

National parks,

8

RESERVES

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

and resorts

30

IAi-IAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Namibia

21

N 14

N 10

3

Upington

Augrabies Falls National Park

Orange

Orange

N7

13 N 14

Namaqua National Park

Conserve. Explore. Experience.

60

Springbok

N 10

N 12

15

www.capenature.co.za +27 (0)21483-0190 1 Anysberg Nature Reserve 2 Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve 3 Bird Island Nature Reserve 4 Boosmansbos Nature Reserve 5 Cederberg Wilderness Area 6 De Hoop Nature Reserve 7 De Mond Nature Reserve 8 Gamkaberg Nature Reserve 9 Goukamma Nature Reserve 10 Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve 11 Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area 12 Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve 13 Jonkershoek Nature Reserve 14 Keurbooms Nature Reserve 15 Kogelberg Nature Reserve 16 Limietberg Nature Reserve 17 Marloth Nature Reserve 18 Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve 19 Outeniqua Nature Reserve 20 Robberg Nature Reserve 21 Rocherpan Nature Reserve 22 Swartberg Nature Reserve 23 Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve 24 Walker Bay Nature Reserve

De

N7

Klawer

3 Lambert’s Bay

St Helena Bay

Saldanha Bay

NORTHERN CAPE

Calvinia

Olifants

Clanwilliam

West Coast 19 National Park

Citrusdal

WESTERN CAPE

11 N7

Robben Island

CAPE TOWN

2

Worcester Robertson

13

23 12

False Bay

Hermanus 15

Laingsburg

1

24

21

Oudtshoorn 17

8

10

4

Bontebok National Park 4 7

Heidelberg Breede

19 George Knysna

Swellendam

Agulhas National Park 2

N9

N 12

22

Breede

16

Cape Point

Gr

Beaufort West

N1

Table Mountain 16 National Park

N1

Karoo National Park 7

Tankwa Karoo National Park

18

21

Langebaan

17

5

N 12

N2

6

26

Tsitsika Nationa

14

18

Mossel Wilderness 20 Bay National 9 Knysna Park National 20 Lake Area 9 KM

66 0

94 WILD SPRING 2019


0861 GO WILD (46 9453)

wildcard@sanparks.org

Mozambique

Limpopo

Mapungubwe National Park 11

Musina

N1

10

LIMPOPO

International: +27 861 46 9453 Fax: 086 502 6704

Kruger National Park

Makhado

N 11

50 POLOKWANE Marakele National Park 12

Limpopo

GABORONE

Thabazimbi

Mokopane

N 11

Modimolle Bela-Bela

Botswana

Lydenburg

MPUMALANGA

N1

PRETORIA/ TSHWANE

N4

Rustenburg Mahikeng

24

Emelaheni

Centurion Midrand Sandton

N 14

N 17

N 11

Bethal

MBABANE

N2 Vaal

Vaal Dam N3

N1

Bloemhof Bloemhof Dam

19

32

2 Bethlehem N5

N 11

6 21

20

Ladysmith

6

4

Ladybrand

11

MASERU

Estcourt 8

16

13

Caledon N 10

N 12

Orange N1

Vanderkloof Dam

14

Lesotho

N6

9

N2

Empangeni Tugela

BLOEMFONTEIN

Kosi Bay Lake Sibaya

Pongolapoort Dam Lake St Lucia

12

KWAZULUNATAL 10

Glencoe

Harrismith

Golden Gate Highlands National Park Winburg

Kimberley

17

Newcastle

Vaal

FREE STATE

3

Eswatini

Piet Retief

Volksrust

Kroonstad

Welkom

1 Hlane Royal National Park

Mlilwane Mkhaya Game Wildlife Sanctuary Reserve 2

Ermelo

Klerksdorp N 12

N8

MAPUTO Barberton

N 12

GAUTENG Vereeniging

Potchefstroom Vryburg

Mbombela

N4

Middelburg

JOHANNESBURG

NORTH WEST

Mokala 13 National Park

Phalaborwa

Tzaneen

5

3

Richards Bay

25 Tugela

24 1-2

N3

5

Howick

7 4

15 PIETER-

MARITZBURG

3

22 1 North Coast

Umhlanga

DURBAN Amanzimtoti

23 Orange

Kokstad

De Aar

18 Colesberg

Aliwal North

Gariep Dam

34

N9

N 12

Queenstown Graaff-Reinet

Cradock

5 Camdeboo National Park

Mountain Zebra National Park 14

N9

N6

N2

1

18

At Ezemvelo, present your Wild Card + ID + confirmation letter.

EAST LONDON

Grahamstown

Addo Elephant National Park

Tsitsikamma National Park

14

38

King William’s Town Bisho

N 10

Port Alfred Algoa Bay

PORT ELIZABETH

N2 St Francis Bay

ss 9 20 Knysna National Lake Area 9

www.msinsi.co.za +27 (0)31-765-7724 www.biggameparks.org +268-2528-3943 / 4

KM

0

50

100

150

www.wildcard.co.za

200 KM

www.kznwildlife.com +27 (0)33-845-1000 1 Amatigulu Nature Reserve

Wild Coast

MTHATHA

aufort West

e Knysna

Port Shepstone

Middelburg

N1

South Coast

N2

EASTERN CAPE

N 10

N2

1 Hlane Royal National Park 2 Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary 3 Mkhaya Game Reserve

1 2 3 4 5

Albert Falls Dam Bon Accorde Hazelmere Dam Inanda Dam Nagle Dam

2 Chelmsford Dam Nature Reserve 3 Cobham Nature Reserve 4 Didima – Cathedral Peak 5 Garden Castle Nature Reserve 6 Giants Castle Nature Reserve 7 Harold Johnson Nature Reserve 8 Highmoor Nature Reserve 9 Hilltop – Hluhluwe Game Reserve 10 Mpila – iMfolozi Game Reserve 11 Injesuthi Nature Reserve 12 Ithala Game Reserve 13 Kamberg Nature Reserve 14 Lotheni Nature Reserve 15 Midmar DamNature Reserve 16 Monks Cowl Nature Reserve 17 Ndumo Game Reserve 18 Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve 19 Phongolo Nature Reserve 20 Royal Natal National Park 21 Spioenkop Dam Nature Reserve 22 Umlalazi Nature Reserve 23 Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve 24 Wagendrift Dam Nature Reserve 25 Weenen Game Reserve

SPRING 2019 WILD 95


Bring your family to meet ours

From sunrise game drives to fireside entertainment, horseback safaris to MTB trails, family time lasts all day long in the Swazi bush. Kids love staying in our beehive huts and meeting the animals that wander through camp. With Eswatini (Swaziland) just over four hours from Gauteng, isn’t it time you added some special memories to the family album? MLILWANE: Beehive huts from R495 a person • Self-catering rondavels from R530 a person HLANE: Rondavels from R495 a person • Self-catering cottages from R530 a person

The Kingdom of Eswatini’s

Tel: (+268) 2528 3943/4 | reservations@biggameparks.org | www.biggameparks.org


EVERY MOMENT:

4787 Angelcy 2019

PURE MAGIC.

The moment you park your car or step off the aeroplane, the bright heat of the Central Kruger bouncing off the pavement creeps into your heart. Amiable staff lightens your burden and the cool luxury of our rooms washes your worries away. Gourmet meals make music in your mouth and nothing, but nothing will make you smile like an early morning encounter with baby ellies. Recharge your soul, reignite your inner magic and find your freedom at the Phalaborwa Gate of the Kruger National Park. 015 781 3447 | gowild@bushveldterrace.co.za

www.bushveldterrace.co.za | B&B rates from R1166pp THE LOVE ER? Visit our website for information about adventures, KRUG or our activities and to make a direct booking f p u Sign er on our t let news ite and get , webs discounts to s access ompetition c , ts l ia gif c e and sp ts! even

Profile for TiP Publishing

Wild Magazine Spring 2019 Preview  

Wild Card's wildlife environment and travel magazine containing top wildlife, park and reserve stories; illustrated with world-class photogr...

Wild Magazine Spring 2019 Preview  

Wild Card's wildlife environment and travel magazine containing top wildlife, park and reserve stories; illustrated with world-class photogr...