Tag Archives: wetlands

Finally the Falls!

River Walk Banner Logo small

On Day 5 of the Catchment to Confluence Karkloof River Walk the team was thrilled to be joined by 2 fresh pairs of legs, Mbuso Khambule (new SAPPI Environmental Officer) and Mondli Goba (SAPPI Communications Officer), just in time to pass through some of the SAPPI Shafton plantation areas on the Karkloof floodplain.

pic 1

Team setting off. From Left: Nduduzo Khoza (EWT Eco-Ranger), Mondli Goba (Sappi), Mbuso Khambule (Sappi), Twané Clarke (Karkloof Conservancy), Ayanda Lipheyana (GroundTruth) and the photographer behind the camera is Sue Viljoen (WWF-SA)

Our destination for the day was the Karkloof Falls, starting at the pumphouse on Gartmore farm, which as the crow flies did not seem all that far. But we now knew by experience that following the meanders of a river over rough terrain or tall vegetation where there is no path is not likely to be a walk in the park.

Pic 2

Sue Viljoen (WWF-SA) pushing through the tall vegetation in the wetland

As we pushed through the wetland, we stopped to gaze at the distant Karkloof mountains, home to the river’s source where we had come from 5 days earlier, feeling pleased with the distance we had conquered so far.

We started up there

The team felt a sense of pride as we gazed upon the distant mountain

We were excited to see 2 Grey Crowned Cranes fly over us, with their characteristic “mahem” call, en route to one of the bird hides at the Karkloof Conservation Centre. What would Karkloof be without its treasured cranes? We had been treated to sightings of a number of cranes on the previous days as well. In total 11 Grey Crowned Cranes were seen and 4 Wattled Cranes. And it was only fitting that most of these cranes were spotted on farms belonging to “Crane Custodians”.

pic 3

Nduduzo Khoza (EWT Eco-Ranger) and Twané Clarke (Karkloof Conservancy) excited to see these custodianship signs.

Custodians are landowners who are formally recognised by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) for their voluntary contribution to the conservation of threatened species on their farms, such as crane, oribi or blue swallows. (Download “Guidelines for Custodianship in SA” here)

By tea time, we had traversed the Shafton wetland and reached the Karkloof River bridge which crosses over the road to Cramond.

pic 4

Karkloof River bridge along the Cramond road. From left: Ayanda Lipheyana (GroundTruth), Mbuso Khambule (Sappi), Twané Clarke (Karkloof Conservancy), Sue Viljoen (WWF-SA), Nduduzo Khoza (EWT Eco-Ranger) and Mondli Goba (Sappi)

Mbuso reminded us of the extent of SAPPI plantations that had been removed from the Shafton wetland a number of years ago and allowed to rehabilitate back to natural vegetation – some 186 ha were not replanted due to the existence of this important wetland system.

Pic 5

Looking back at the rehabilitated wetland beyond the bridge.

The next section of the river was slow moving, noticeably poorer in water quality and showed signs of being at the bottom of the valley’s catchment area, which ultimately receives all the nutrient rich runoff from the various activities along the way. The water colour had changed to a more murky greenish colour, there was a type of sludge on the rocks, in some quieter corners, traces of foam was seen on the surface and the sewage weed could be seen in many places along the river’s edge.

River Rockery Pano

At the first set of large, impressive rocks above the falls, we did a Mini-SASS test, which showed the water was “critically modified”, confirming our impressions that the river’s quality was now compromised. At this site, a dead bushbuck was found between the large rocks, leaving us wondering what happened here. It looks like it lost its footing while trying to have a drink.

pic 6

Doing a miniSASS before heading off on the last section to the Karkloof Falls

The condition of riverine buffer along this last stretch was also compromised due to high levels of alien invasive vegetation (such as the big clump of bamboo shown below, poplar saplings, elderflower and all the other commonly seen invasives we had seen higher up in the catchment). Pastures were unfortunately established very close to the river, and therefore without a wide section of natural vegetation to act as buffer and filter for the runoff, the river is all the more impacted.

Pic 7

A clump of bamboo at the river’s edge.

Having followed every twist and turn of the river now for 5 days, we felt a certain sadness at the deterioration of the river’s health. However, the sight of the picnic site for the Karkloof falls picked up our spirits. Destination at last! Hooray for being able to pull off our boots and take a break in the shade! Here we were spoilt with orange ice-lollies by our videographer, Jayne Symes, who is putting a video clip together of the river walk. What a welcome gift! Thank you Jane!

Jane Symes

Jane Symes (Black & White Studios) was our hero that day. These ice cold treats were welcomed after a day of scorching heat and little shade.

While catching our breath over lunch, we chatted at length about the problem of litter at a public picnic site like this, and how increasingly popular the Karkloof Falls had become. Would new signage saying “litter free zone” and removing the dustbins help to change people’s behaviour so that all rubbish is taken away by visitors?

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Karkloof Falls picnic site along the river could be the perfect setting for a litter free zone

There was just 1 section left to walk down to the actual Karkloof falls viewing point and lower picnic site, our end point for the day. We said “bye for now” to the river, with the very last leg of the river’s journey to be continued the following Thursday, 6th April. A team photo in front of the falls was a fitting way to exclaim “WE MADE IT!”.

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We made it! The Karkloof River Walk team have reached the Karkloof falls

Celebrating World Wetlands Day

Article supplied by the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

World Wetlands Day, celebrated annually on 2 February, provides an opportunity to celebrate a natural resource that is critical for people, the environment, and biodiversity. Wetlands come in all shapes and forms, from estuaries along our beautiful coastlines and high altitude inland wetlands within the grasslands of Mpumalanga, to the hard working wetlands within our urban landscapes. Much of our conservation effort within the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is centred around the protection, restoration, and management of wetlands and the catchments that feed them, and we encourage you to celebrate World Wetlands Day with us.


Two of South Africa’s three crane species, the Grey Crowned and Wattled Crane, are completely dependent on wetlands for their survival – yet both are threatened with extinction. Their threatened status mirrors the loss of wetlands in our country, with an estimated 50% of wetlands completely transformed in South Africa. The African Crane Conservation Programme (ACCP), a partnership between the EWT and the International Crane Foundation, has used these charismatic, long-lived birds as flagships for wetland protection, restoration and management.

The ACCP’s South Africa Regional Manager, Tanya Smith, confirms that the efforts of the ACCP team and its partners have ensured the protection of nearly 100,000 ha of grasslands, wetlands and associated rivers in important catchments for people and cranes in South Africa over the past five years. The protection of the key water resources contributes to the long-term security of our water supply for millions of people in South Africa.

Wattled Cranes

Pair of Wattled Cranes at the Karkloof Conservation Centre – By Patrick Cahill

From large charismatic cranes to the small and slippery, wetlands are home to many. Globally, amphibians are the most threatened class of vertebrate with 32.5% of species currently listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. Approximately 800 species of amphibians make exclusive use of wetland habitats. Here in South Africa, a tiny frog the size of your thumbnail is found only in 25 wetlands along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline. Therefore, a key focal species of the EWT’s Threatened Amphibian Programme (TAP), is the Endangered Pickersgill’s Reed Frog. These coastal wetlands are unique in their structure and are themselves classified as Critically Endangered. “The presence of flagship species that depend on wetlands for their survival really helps leverage support for the protection and restoration of wetlands,” says Dr Jeanne Tarrant, TAP Programme Manager. The EWT embarked on an ambitious journey to restore four of these wetlands in the Durban area through alien plant control, re-establishment of indigenous plants and assessing wetland rehabilitation needs and this year will be working towards formal protection of two of these wetlands through community stewardship models.

This year’s World Wetland Day theme is “Wetlands for disaster risk reduction” and this theme truly celebrates the services wetlands provide for us free of charge. Wetlands greatly reduce the impacts of flooding by slowing down the flow of water, and reduce the impacts of droughts by slowly releasing water to our streams and rivers. In the current drought gripping much of South Africa, the role and protection of healthy wetlands has never been more important.

silindile learning about wetlands

Slindile students learning about the importance of wetlands

The EWT is involved with several World Wetlands Day celebratory events around the country. In KwaZulu-Natal, World Wetlands Day will be celebrated at the Greater Edendale Mall wetland in Pietermaritzburg on 2 February from 10am. This is a collaboration of all partners of the KwaZulu-Natal Wetland Forum and will see over 300 children learning about and experiencing the value of wetlands. In the Eastern Cape, the EWT and the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa have partnered to get our future generation’s hands dirty experiencing the wetlands of the Amathole area, where the EWT has been implementing catchment restoration work for the past three years. Lastly, in Gauteng, World Wetlands Day will be celebrated on 17 February at Tembisa Esselen Park Pan. A fun day of activities is planned, so be on the lookout for the EWT stand.

Later on in the month, you can get involved in raising awareness for our special wetland dwellers, the frogs, by joining in on a number of Leap Day for Frogs activities, including the EWT’s attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest game of leapfrog on Friday, 24 February. This exciting event gets underway at 10am on the Durban beachfront promenade near uShaka Marine World. Find out more by visiting www.leapdayforfrogs.org.za or emailing JeanneT@ewt.org.za

Yellow-striped Reed Frog 1 - Nick Evans

Yellow-striped Reed Frog by Nick Evans

You can make a difference to our wetlands all year round in a number of different ways, including:

  1. Planning a wetland clean up in your community with local schools and parents.
  2. Reducing your waste, reusing bottles and containers you would normally throw away, use reusable shopping bags and recycle! Our water resources like rivers and wetlands are heavily impacted on by litter and waste, so these small actions can make a huge difference.
  3. Reporting any illegal dumping in wetlands and rivers to your local municipality or police station.
  4. Supporting the efforts of organisations like the EWT in protecting wetlands on your behalf.

Useful resources to learn more about World Wetlands Day 2017:

Beautiful Reed Frogs of the KZN Midlands

-By Nick Evans –

Despite ‘frog season’ slowly and sadly coming to an end, one can still go out and see some of the region’s most striking species, the Reed Frogs.

Painted Reed Frog by Nick Evans

Painted Reed Frog by Nick Evans

The Reed Frogs, amongst a few others, will still be active for about another month or two. After that, once Winter arrives, the evenings will be a lot quieter without Africa’s amphibian chorus. Most frog species only breed and are active during the rainy months (Spring/Summer). That is when the night skies are at their loudest, with hundreds of frogs serenading each other! So if you don’t get a chance to go and see them this season, get ready to see them next Spring!

Yellow-striped Reed Frog by Nick Evans

Yellow-striped Reed Frog by Nick Evans

As their name suggests, Reed Frogs spend most of their time in reed beds, where they are a key link in the food chain. They are crucial to the health of the environment, just like all other frogs. They’re predators of insects such as mosquitoes and flies, and they are preyed upon by birds, snakes and more. They’re excellent climbers of course, and during the day, they are often found sticking to people’s windows and doors, hiding away from the hot sun.

Waterlily Frog by Nick Evans

Waterlily Frog by Nick Evans

Here are three of the Reed Frog species that occur in the KZN Midlands:

1. Yellow-striped Reed Frog (Hyperolius semidiscus).
A beautiful species that is a little bit larger than the other Reed Frogs in the area. They are quite easy to identify, look out for those glorious yellow-stripes going down either side of the light green body, and for their blunt snout! You’ll often hear their croak-like call coming from dams and other bodies of water.

Yellow-striped Reed Frog by Nick Evans

Yellow-striped Reed Frog by Nick Evans

2. Painted Reed Frog (Hyperolius marmoratus marmoratus)
A very pretty species. Interestingly, there are three sub-species in South Africa, ranging from the Western Cape, all the way to Northern KZN and further North.
As their name implies, they look like they’ve been hand painted, their colours can be absolutely stunning! They’re not always too easy to identify, as juveniles, which are a light brown colour, often throw people off. Their call is unmistakable though, an ear-piercing, short whistling sound. Stand near a group of breeding males and feel your ears eventually start to ring!

Painted Reed Frog by Nick Evans

Painted Reed Frog by Nick Evans

3. Waterlily Frog (Hyperolius pusillis)
One of the smaller species of Reed Frogs, Waterlily Frogs are generally found on low-lying vegetation on the water. They make quite a loud insect-like chirping noise! Obviously they love waterlilies, but they also like to sit on Duckweed, an alien invasive plant that starts to cover entire ponds. Dead reeds on the surface of the water is a favourite hang-out too.
They’re very cute little frogs, which almost appear to be see through. Look out for a female that’s full of eggs, you’ll be able to see them inside of her!

Waterlily Frog by Nick Evans

Waterlily Frog by Nick Evans

A great way to spend an evening is to go ‘frogging’! Get a small group of people together, and venture off into the nearest wetland/pond (just be security conscious of course), and have a look for these beautiful frogs, and all the other interesting animals that occupy these damp areas. Your eyes will be opened to the magic of nature! All you need is a torch, gumboots, maybe a camera, and some enthusiasm, and you’ll have a wonderful time!

Yellow-striped Reed Frog by Nick Evans

Yellow-striped Reed Frog by Nick Evans

Nick Evans runs a programme called KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, a chapter of The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization. The aim of the programme is to promote awareness of these ecologically important animals, and to educate the public. For snake awareness and identification talks, or frogging evenings, please email Nick at nickevanskzn@gmail.com. With assistance for snake removals, you can contact Nick on 072 8095 806, who will put you in touch with the closest snake catcher. (Nick is based in Durban).

The Last Stand for our Birds


One-third of the 112 most important sites for nature in South Africa are facing imminent danger of irreversible damage, according to a new South African IBA Status Report published today by BirdLife South Africa.

These sites – known as Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) – are threatened by invasive species, changes in habitats through incorrect burning practices, and agricultural expansion or mismanagement. Unprotected IBAs in particular are deteriorating at a concerning rate, most especially in grasslands, wetlands and fynbos, but habitats in protected IBAs are also showing signs of deterioration. Over 85% of all IBAs face high to very high levels of threats, and there is little distinction between protected and unprotected IBAs in this regard. The IBAs with the highest and most imminent threats will be included in BirdLife International’s list of IBAs in Danger, the global list of priority sites identified for urgent action.


This South African IBA Status Report is accompanied by a revised National IBA Directory, building on and up-dating the first such inventory published in 1998. It provides updated information of the most important aspect of each of these 112 IBAs, including the geography and climate of the area, the list of the bird species found at the IBA, the biggest threats to the site, and what conservation action is taking place to secure the IBA. This publication can be used by conservation practitioners and planners to prioritise their work, by developers who need to understand the sensitivity of an area, and can even be used by bird enthusiasts to plan a birding trip.

The 112 IBAs in South Africa are the last stand for bird conservation on a landscape level. Protecting these sites has benefits not only for South Africa’s birds, but also for other animals, plants and the vital ecological services these sites provide to people. These services include providing us with fresh water, managing floods, controlling disease, and providing grazing lands for livestock farming. Conserving IBAs is also important for attaining our government’s environmental commitments like the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Target 11 that calls for the expansion of terrestrial Protected Areas by at least 17%, and the Convention on Migratory Species. Therefore, their deteriorating status is a very high concern which requires immediate attention from government agencies and other stakeholders.


The main recommendations from the IBA Status Report to remedy this situation include that government needs to allocate more resources towards managing protected areas and expanding the protected areas network through biodiversity stewardship. That IBAs should be used as a first cut when identifying priority areas for conservation, including for protected area expansion. By following the published management guidelines, the agricultural sector is able to manage their lands for the parallel purposes of producing livestock, improving veld condition and conserving biodiversity. IBAs should be considered as red flags and often exclusion areas when other development options are being considered, such as mining.

While both these publications are milestones for bird conservation, they need to be seen as the spearhead which will now be used to lobby, plan and implement effective conservation for birds, their habitats and other biodiversity.

Front cover1

Both the revised IBA Directory and IBA Status Report can be bought in hard copy from BirdLife South Africa’s IBA Programme (011 789 1122, daniel.marnewick@birdlife.org.za), or the electronic versions can be downloaded for free from: http://www.birdlife.org.za/conservation/important-bird-areas/documents-and-downloads.

For further information please contact Daniel Marnewick at daniel.marnewick@birdlife.org.za (011 789 1122).

Go with the Flow

Dargle Conservancy supports environmental education at a number of schools in the area including the Lions River Primary school, situated beside the Lions River flood plain.  As there is very little point trying to outdo the professionals at their game, Dargle engages the Midlands Meander Education Project (MMAEP) to conduct lessons and activities on their behalf.  Although things don’t always go according to plan, there is no doubt that lots of learning happens when the MMAEP Bugs are about.

Gugu, Eidin and Nkanyiso arrived early one morning in May to do lessons around wetlands and water.  After checking in with all the kids and teachers they handed out frog masks and set off down to the field below the school to warm up, play leap frog games and get excited! Lydia Comins from SAPPI is also very involved in the school and has been planting indigenous trees, re-painting and removing rubbish. Lydia was keen to come along for the day too. To start, Gugu told the famous Talking Yam story which had the children roaring with laughter.


Nkanyiso did a question and answer activity that helps to assess learner’s prior knowledge and understanding about water and wetlands. It also helps the learners to be able to  identify and analyse environmental problems, improving problem solving and decision making skills. Eidin: “The kids absolutely LOVED Nkanyiso and he kept them on their toes.”  Next they played The Windows on our World Wetland poster shows connections, interdependences, and cause and effect relationships. Many new words were learnt from this activity, including erosion, wetland, delineation, alien plants, invasive plants and pollution.

100_3549Then the highlight of the day – heading outdoors and off to the local wetland to reinforce the classroom learning. At the edge of the plantation, the kids split into two groups and had a race to find as many different leaves and grasses and flowers as possible. At the sound of the hooter everybody returned with their plants- laid them out on some boards and discussed them.

100_3581After a snack, everyone trudged off across the wetland to find the river. It was quite a mission through invasive brambles. The wetland is very overgrazed and therefore more vulnerable to getting invaded.


When the Lions River was eventually found, it was a depressing and dismal sight. Green and sludgy, the banks choked with brambles. There was no way that the planned  search for river creaturesand miniSASS test could be done.  Instead a lively discussion on living and lifeless rivers and how a river SHOULD look and why this one looked so bad, followed. We found examples of alien plants – morning glory and indigenous ones too- Juncus krassii and Phragmites. A couple of learners were able to spot frogs and crabs.

10247501_625864247498258_2684438249713512893_nSaddened, the group headed back across the wetlands and got lost.  Nkanyiso comments “The reeds were taller then us and the wetland was mushy. It took us quite a long time to find a way through but we did eventually manage and we were free.”


They came to a deep squishy black mud stream crossing.  Eidin recalls; “It was only possible to jump if you were a tall athletic limber 13 year old (yes, there was one, but only one!) everybody else began to mill about panicking and eventually rolled up their pants and waded through getting helpfully lugged by a volunteer who stood bravely in the middle of the stream up to his thighs. I managed to get through fairly covered in mud!  A small determined crew found another crossing that involved less shrieking. Either way it was a good adventure and cheered everyone up immensely. Good adventures ALWAYS involve mud! We made a big circle and did a ‘thumbthing’ which involves locking thumbs and saying what we learnt that day.”


Back at school, everyone cleaned up, did a little gardening and plant identification before bidding the MMAEP Bugs a fond farewell. ‘When you are in a wetland, you have to go with the flow!’ concluded Lydia Comins who had a great day with the kids, reeds and mud.

Beautiful Cranes Nature Club

Each Conservancy in the Midlands does different activities to strengthen environmental awareness and learning in the region. N3Toll Concession is delighted to fund many of these activities through the Midlands Conservancies Forum (MCF) Environmental Learning and Leadership Programme. MCF believes that in order to protect precious eco-systems and the goods and services that they provide to society, it is important to educate and inspire our communities, and young people in particular, to understand and value them.

Bill Barnes Crane and Oribi Nature Reserve – home to the KZN Crane Foundation – has started an Enviro Club for the children who live around the 450ha reserve with their allocation of the MCF funds. KZNCF believe that it is important that everyone understands the importance of the grassland and wetland eco-systems which are a feature of the Reserve and the habitats they provide for endangered cranes.


On the first day (a sunny autumn Saturday) 19 youngsters aged between 10 and 16 were welcomed by Nkanyiso Ndlela, Environmental Education facilitator for KZNCF. After an explanation about Reserve and the work of the Crane foundation, there was a lot of discussion on a suitable name for the new club. Beautiful Cranes Nature Club got the most votes. Everyone helped make up some simple rules for the club which included being on time, respecting the Reserve and one another, and no littering.

Nkanyiso asked the children what activities they hoped to do with their new club and a wide selection of ideas were recorded. These ranged from learning more about wetland plants, doing drama and singing, to going on environmental trips.


The first activity of the day was making Wattled Crane masks. With the new Wattled Crane Nursery (almost ready to receive chicks) in the distance, this was an ideal opportunity to chat about the vulnerability of the last few hundred Wattled Cranes in the wild.


Caring Monuments was the next activity in this action packed morning. Nkanyiso: “A monument is made to stop people from forgetting or from being forgotten – they can be buildings or statues. This reserve is named after a man who did very important work in Conservation – Bill Barnes. Together we designed a monument for wetlands to be called a Caring Monument and made up caring messages to be part of the monument.”


The final activity was based on the importance of wetlands and involved getting feet wet to discover the plants and animals that occur in the wetland on the Reserve. Everyone had great fun and found frogs, water beetles, sacred ibis, incema, imifino, a grey heron and tadpoles.


Nkanyiso hopes to inspire other young people interested in the environment, and show that with dedicated effort, they too can follow their dreams. The Beautiful Cranes Nature Club is a great start.


Ukubaluleka kwamaxhaphozi

Nkanyiso Ndlela is passionate about wetlands. He is the environmental education officer for the KZN Crane Foundation in Nottingham Road. In an effort to inspire others to care for this precious resource, he wrote this article.

Noma-ke amaxhaphozi edlala indima enkulu ezimpilweni zabantu, njengokuhlanza amanzi, ukusiza ekuvikeleni ukuguguleka kwenhlabathi, ukugcina amanzi, futhi aphinde abe ikhaya lezitshalo kanye nezilwane ezinhlobonhlobo ezithembele kuwo amaxhaphozi ukuphila, njenge nyoni ethathwa njenge nyoni yesizwe sase Ningizimu Africa, Indwa (blue crane) umdwebo wayo obonakala emalini yalapha eNingizimu Africa uzukwa (5cent), Izimpaphe zayo ezise sisileni ebezifakwa inkosi uShaka ekhanda njengophawu lokukhombisa ubukhosi. kodwa ukungawanakekeli nokuwasebenzisa ngendlela engafanelekile kusaqhubeka.

Blue Crane by Pat Cahill

Blue Crane by Pat Cahill

Amaxhaphozi angumthamo wempilo yokulawulwa kolwazi. Abesetshenziswa izigidi zeminyaka edlule, kudla kuwo imfuyo, njenge ndawo ekutholakala kuyo izitshalo ezinjengo uMhlanga (Phragmites australis), iNcema (Juncus kraussii), iMisi (Cyperus textillis), iKhwane (Cyperus latifolius), njalo njalo ukufulela izindlu, ukuluka kanye nokuthunga amacansi, obhasikidi.

r wetland - Nikki Brighton

Incema and other wetland plant species by Nikki Brighton

Aphinde abe indayo lapho kunga dotshwa khona kanye nendawo yokwenza ucwaningo lwemfundo. Ngaphandle kwamanzi impilo ngabe ayikho emhlabeni. Izitshalo, izilwane kanye nabantu badinga amanzi ukuze baphile futhi nokukhula. Iningizimu Africa ayisenawo amanzi ahlanzekile amaningi kanti amanzi amaningi asemihosheni kanye nasemifuleni angcolile.

r satyrium in wetland impendle 403

Satyrium halackii flower in Impendle wetland by Nikki Brighton

Imiphakathi iyanxuswa ukuba ibambisane nezinkampani ezilungisa ziphinde zinakekele amaxhaphozi ngokuwasebenzisa ngendlela efanele okanye ngendlela enenqubekela phambili. Izindlela-ke abantu abalimaza okanye abaphazamisa ngazo ukusebenza kwamaxhaphozi njenge ndawo eyimvelo ziningi kakhulu, njengokulahlwa kwa doti kuwo, ukutshala kuwo ngaphandle kokulandela imigomo nemi bandela, ukwakhiwa kwemigwaqo nama damu ngendlela engafanele, ukudlisa imfuyo nokushisa imililo ngendlela engafanele, ukwakhiwa kwenxanxathela yezitolo ezindaweni eziseduze kwamaxhaphozi ngaphandle kokulandela imigomo nemibandela, ukusetshenziswa kwezitshalo zasemaxhaphozini ngendlela edlulele okanye eyeqile.

Cattle and Blue Cranes by Sandra Merrick

Cattle and Blue Cranes by Sandra Merrick

Ucwaningo olusanda kuvezwa ngamaxhaphozi, adlala indima enkulu ekunciphiseni umoya ongcolile emhlabeni okanye emkhathini eyaziwa nge(carbon dioxide- CO2) kanye ne (methane-CH4) Ebangwa izimboni ezikhiqiza ugesi, ukusikwa kwezihlahla, ukushisa udoti, njalo njalo. Lokungcoliswa komhlaba okubangela ukufudumala komhlaba ngokungafanelekile okugcina kubangele ukushintshashitsha kwesimo sezulu ngokuthusayo nokunga jwayelekile okunomthelela omkhulu omubi ezimpilweni zabantu kanye nasezitshalweni. Amaxhaphozi-ke kuyavezwa ukuthi ayasiza kakhulu ekuvimbeni lemimoya engcolile iwugcine ngaphansi kuwo ngokwenvelo, uma engahlukumezekile okanye uma engaphazamisekile ukusebenza kwawo ngokwemvelo.

Ukuthola imininigwane enzulu ungaxhumana nalezi nkampani ezilandelayo:




The Importance of Wetlands in Kamberg

The Kamberg Conservancy used their allocation of the MCF Environmental Learning and Leadership Programme funds for a lesson on the importance of wetlands at Dabulamanzi school for Grades 4,5 and 6.  Nkanyiso Ndlela facilitated the lesson on behalf of the Midlands Meander Association Education Project and MCF.


When I arrived at school the teacher and the learners were ready for me. I introduced myself and the Midlands Conservancy Forum and the programme for the day. I ask the learners to stand up and we played fun life skills game, where they have to use their two body senses – sight and hearing. I asked the learners to do what I say, not what I would do. So, for example I will say touch your head but I would be touching my toes.

I divided them into three groups and I used the Windows on our World Wetland game as an ice breaker and to tune them into the day’s topic. This game helps learners to develop the skill of identifying and analysing environmental problems and it shows connections, interdependencies, and cause and effect relationships.


Learners were paying attention and following the instructions. Although this activity created conflict amongst groups, I kept encouraging group work and discussion as a group. They were interacting with one another and asking questions. We discussed the importance of wetlands and the causes of wetland pollution.

We then took a trip to the closest wetland, where we were able to identify negative agricultural impacts on wetlands – for example monoculture. I explained to them that some farmers spray their crops with chemicals and that gets washed down to wetlands.


Other impacts observed were alien plants – bug weed and bramble, and litter coming from the school and road. We also identified incema, which is a grass used to traditionally make mats.


We then went back to the class room where each learner shared their experience in the wetland by presenting to the rest of the class.

I then introduced the wetland food web worksheet, asked the learners to draw lines between animals and plants to show who eats who, illustrating how all life in an eco-system is intricately connected.


I closed the programme by recapping, asking them what they have leant. They response showed that they have learnt something as they could remember the importance of wetlands and also wetland pollution.

Sanele Duma, educator commented “We had a wonderful time. The kids really enjoyed themselves as this was the long awaited field trip. It is also an important part of the curriculum to do this hands on learning. Now they understand wetlands much better. We hope to have another lesson like this. Thanks to the Conservancy.”


Wetlands and Tourism

This article first appeared in The Green Times.

World Wetlands Day celebrated in February marks the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in Ramsar, Iran. The aim of the convention is to protect the World’s highly sensitive and declining natural wetlands and to raise awareness of the importance and value of wetlands to people around the globe. The Convention has been signed by almost all national governments around-the-world, with South Africa becoming a signatory in December 1975.Bronner panorama WETLAND 4

The country currently has 21 designated wetlands of international importance across the country covering over 554 136 hectares in size and ranging from the Prince Edward Islands to St Lucia, Kosi Bay, Langebaan, Nylsvlei and the Natal Drakensberg Park.

“However, the country has numerous other less well-known local sites that tend to be overlooked or unappreciated and efforts need to be taken to raise the profile of all wetlands in an effort to protect this valuable element of South Africa’s biodiversity” says Greg McManus, managing director of the Heritage Environmental Management Company.

r umngeni vlei in winter 020

An economic driver

With the importance of tourism as an economic driver in South Africa – and the potential negative effects of tourism on these internationally recognised areas, the tourism sector is often best placed to assist in the development of these fragile environments.

r karkloof conservation centre 5th anniversay wetland

SBS International and the Heritage Environmental Management Company have urged the industry to become more involved in efforts to protect and raise awareness of threats faced by wetlands and the important role wetlands play in biodiversity and the protection of species.

“The environment and our unique tourism offerings attract a growing number of tourists annually to the country, and with this comes a greater responsibility by the tourism sector to play an active role in protecting the country’s fragile wetlands. We can best do this by raising awareness of the sites with visitors and locals alike,” he adds.

A natural attraction to water

People are naturally attracted to water, to coastal wetlands such as coral reefs and beaches, and to inland wetlands such as lakes and rivers, reflecting the strong bond between people and nature as well as the unique aesthetic appeal of wetlands.

r kids at karkloof wetland

“Hotel and resort development and tourism activities in and around sites such as wetlands pose additional challenges to the sustainable and responsible use of wetlands, and increased impacts associated with human interaction, traverse patterns and activities associated with tourism need to be fully understood,” says Neal Dickinson, director of operations at Heritage.

As part of their efforts to raise awareness of tourism-based impacts, Heritage works closely with its certified members and others in the tourism and hospitality sector to ensure the highest possible awareness of issues such as wetland protection and has challenged the hotel and resort industry to get involved in the protection and sustainable use of their closest wetlands.

“While there are internationally recognised sites across the country, we need to be aware of the impacts being felt on wetlands closer to home,” adds Dickinson.

Other sensitive areas often overlooked

Often, local, less significant but equally sensitive areas are overlooked by local authorities, development agencies and even developers of tourism-based businesses, and Heritage is working closely with all interested parties to ensure higher awareness of the impacts that unplanned and poorly executed developments take place.

r wetland - Nikki Brighton

“Development of tourist facilities in sensitive areas takes place as a result of a lack of understanding of the role wetlands play in the biodiversity we have, and by raising issues related to the protection of wetlands, we hope developers and the tourism sector will play a more prominent role in their protection” says McManus.

This year’s theme: Wetlands and Agriculture

The theme for World Wetlands Day 2014 is “Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth” in recognition of the sensitive balance between preservation and agricultural development taking place globally.

The events this year will focus on the need for the wetland and agricultural sectors (and the water sector too of course) to work together for the best shared outcomes and follows the declaration of 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming by the United Nations.

Small-scale farming plays an important role in the hospitality and tourism sectors through the provision of local produce and agricultural products, and often these activities take place in marginal or ecologically sensitive areas around unlisted or local wetlands and ecologically sensitive areas.

wetland flowers bramble invading

The tourism sector can influence the role played by small-scale farmers in the protection of wetlands.

Dickinson calls on hoteliers, resort operators and others in the tourism sector to join Heritage in recognising World Wetlands Day on Sunday, 2 February by becoming involved in any number of initiatives associated with designated sites across the country.

Raising awareness of their closest site with visitors and guests and organising awareness visits and activities is being encouraged as part of this global event.

disa - .RES

World Wetlands and Wattled Cranes

Every year on the 2nd of February, the world celebrates World Wetland Day, a time to take stock of the value of wetlands to people and the health of our planet. World Wetland Day 2014 will also mark the culmination of one of the most successful Wattled Crane breeding seasons in recent times. The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s African Crane Conservation Programme (EWT-ACCP) and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) are excited to report that the 2013 KwaZulu-Natal aerial survey of cranes yielded the highest count of Wattled Crane’s since the start of the surveys 20 years ago!

Wattled Crane flock_Karkloof_sunset

261 Wattled Cranes, including chicks, were counted during the survey. While 55 breeding pairs monitored on the ground through the 2013 season have fledged a minimum of 21 chicks. Completely dependent on wetlands for their long-term survival and with approximately 85% of all South African Wattled Cranes being found on privately owned farms, this year’s World Wetlands Day theme ‘Wetlands and Agriculture’ is so appropriate.

wetlands and agriculture

“South Africa’s Wattled Crane population is finally stable and showing a slight increase in KwaZulu-Natal, where approximately 90% of the country’s population is found. We fitted leg colour rings to a total of 16 chicks this season – this is the highest number of Wattled Crane chicks ever ringed in one season since the start of colour ringing of Wattled Cranes in 1987. Colour ringing of chicks, under permit, allows us to answer critical questions including movement, survival, age of first breeding, sex ratio’s and proportions of adults that breed. This enables KZN Wildlife and us to monitor how well the population is doing and to implement conservation action appropriately,” said Tanya Smith, Senior Field Officer of the EWT-ACCP.

Adult and Juvenile Wattled Crane by Kevin Christie

Each year, the province’s crane aerial survey totals approximately 25 hours of flying and covers roughly 20 000 km2 over five days. The results achieved would not be possible without the concerted effort by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the EWT.
“A big thank you to the farmers who are actively involved in efforts to conserve Wattled Cranes and wetlands. Your involvement, commitment and passion has continued to grow each year. Collaboration eases many of the challenges we face in the field and helps us to achieve the kind of conservation results that benefit the species we are trying to preserve,” concluded Tanya.
Wattled Crane conservation in KwaZulu-Natal is sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank through the implementation of the EWT’s Drakensberg Crane and Wetland Conservation Project, in collaboration with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and KZN Crane Foundation. For more information on the annual crane aerial survey or any of the above initiatives, please contact Tanya Smith on tanyas@ewt.org.za


Tanya Smith
Senior Field Officer
African Crane Conservation Programme
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 83 394 7476

Brent Coverdale
Animal Scientist: Mammals and Birds
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Tel: +27 33 845 1449

Nomonde Mxhalisa
Communications Manager
The Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 11 372 3600