Dargle Nature Reserve – Almost There

All four landowners whose properties will form part of the Dargle Nature Reserve have completed the final documents and they have been sent to the MEC for signing.   Barend Booysen (landowner) and Gareth Boothway (MCF Biodiversity Stewardship Manager) are obviously delighted at this progress.Gareth Barend signing res.

Gareth says “The establishment of the Dargle Nature Reserve will contribute to the long term protection of the Critically Endangered Midlands Mistbelt Grassland and the Vulnerable Eastern Mistbelt Forests of the Midlands.  These vegetation types are known to contain a great diversity of plants and animals, some of which are endemic to the Midlands.  The Nature Reserve is placed with in a highly productive landscape on privately owned land, providing the ideal habitat for  a number of iconic species.  Take a walk through the forests and grasslands and you are likely to spot Oribi, one or two of the Crane species, Cape Parrot and Samango Monkey. It is fantastic to see private landowners making this invaluable contribution to conserving KZN’s biodiversity, increasing the green footprint in our country.”

butterfly on plectranthus

Many years ago the Dargle Conservancy, through the vision of Andrew Anderson,  began working towards having a large area of private land officially proclaimed as part of the KZN Biodiversity Stewardship Programme to protect areas which contain critically important habitats. Due to changes in personnel and lack of capacity,  it has been a long road.  Unfortunately along the way, a number of landowners have pulled out,  so the original area of 2000ha has reduced to 890ha.  We are confident however that once this segment is completed, it will grow.  A number of neighbours have already expressed interest in being part of Phase 2.  Andrew comments “The future of biodiversity conservation is in the hands of the landowner. Accolades must go to the landowners who have made such a bold and forward-thinking contribution to conservation in South Africa.”  

Dargle meeting at Old Kilgobbin

Kate Robinson, whose 100 hectare property, Lemonwood, forms an integral part of the Reserve said “I am thrilled to be part of this, as I firmly believe we have a duty to take care of natural resources for future generations.  This means that no one will be able to come and build 20 cottages in this lovely patch of forest, ever.”  

aerial shots of lemonwood res.

Part of Dargle Farm, owned by Graham and Vicky Griffin, will also be protected.


In 2009, in a bold plan to strengthen the food web, 40 Rock Hyrax (Dassie) were reintroduced into an area that was once home to a thriving population on the Dargle Farm. The Dassie is the most important component of the food web that is missing from parts of the Dargle and as this is strengthened, the Conservancy hopes other rare species will return.  Since then, Graham has introduced two more groups to improve the gene pool and reports that they are often spotted, are settled and breeding.

Photos By Trail Camera

Old Kilgobbin Farm, owned by John and Carl Bronner has areas of grassland and forest and many springs and streams – important source of water for millions of downstream users.

pool in ouhout gorge crop res.

The Booysens of Kilgobbin Cottage were the first to offer regular walks in the Midlands. this programme has now grown to include 12 walks. Barend must be thanked for his commitment over many years hosting those who don’t usually have access to the countryside. The walks serve to inspire everyone to cherish biodiversity and to understand the eco-system services which these areas provide humanity. Visitors relish the opportunity to get up close to some of the special trees, which include: towering Yellowwoods, ancient Lemonwoods and majestic Prunus africana, and to marvel at the ferns and mushrooms on the forest floor.

Kilgobbin forest walk.KAREN EDWARDS RES

Chair of the Dargle Conservancy, Nikki Brighton commented. “In the Dargle we take our role as custodians of an important water catchment and some of the most vulnerable biodiversity in South Africa seriously.” 

What is the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme?  Click here to read about the MCF BSP

View of Inhlosane from waterfall -Barry Downard.RES

5 thoughts on “Dargle Nature Reserve – Almost There

  1. David

    A truly wonderful achievement, which will give inspiration and pleasure to those who have the initiative to visit and absorb its grand natural values; humbly I say a “well done”


  2. Mrs C.J. King

    Dear Nikki,

    Thank you so much for that! What a wonderful beginning to another beautiful Midlands day!

    Love from,


    Mrs. C. J. King,


    P.O.Box 196,

    Nottingham Road,

    Kwa-Zulu Natal, 3280,


    S – 29 21′ 189″

    E – 29 55′ 798″

    ALTITUDE:- 4,326feet (1,442metres)

    Tel: 00 27 (0)33 815 9518

    Mobile: 00 27 (0)82 941 3533

    E-MAIL C.J.K@bundunet.com



  3. Pingback: 19 Walks – Plant Abundance

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