South Africa’s first dedicated walking festival is scheduled to be held along the Garden Route this Easter holiday from 25-30 March 2016.

1With 52 walks over 5 days, ranging from gentle to strenuous, the festival offers walks all along the Garden Route from George and Wilderness, Knysna and Plett to Storms River and Tsitsikamma, it is an event that the whole family can enjoy.

There are so many walks to choose from in the Plett area, but here are some definite highlights:

Peak Formosa summit walk
Nature’s Valley and Salt River Hikes
Kranshoek View Site Walk
Kiddies Pirate Walk
Birding and Frog Walks
Sunset Robberg Stroll
Winelands Walk
Land Art and Sundowners Walk
Robberg Point and Gap Walks
Nature’s Valley to Robberg Rocks
And many more….



Die stygende misdaadsyfer in Suid-Afrika is vir niemand “nuwe” nuus nie. Wat wel nuuswaardig is, is die toename in honde wat mense aanval. Verskeie faktore kan aanleiding tot dié stygende syfers gee. Van die redes wat voorgehou word vir die toenemende voorkoms van aanvalle deur honde is die verhoogde misdaadsyfer en die aankoop van groter en kwaaier honderasse as gevolg daarvan, asook die groeiende belangstelling in sekere gemeenskappe in onwettige hondegevegte.

Wanneer ‘n individu deur ‘n hond gebyt word kan dit tot groot emosionele-, fisiese- en eiendomskade lei. Wat staan u (die publiek) egter te doen indien u deur ‘n hond gebyt word? Wat is u regte? Is daar bepaalde stappe wat u kan volg indien u deur ‘n hond gebyt is? Hierdie artikel het ten doel om as ‘n informatiewe leesstuk te dien, om u in te lig rakende die verskillende regsaspekte wanneer u die onverwagte slagoffer van ‘n hondbyt is.

Die slagoffer van ‘n hondbyt kan aanspraak maak op die gemeenregtelike aksie bekend as die (actio de pauperie). Hierdie gemeenregtelike aksie is gebaseer op die eienaar se skuldlose aanspreeklikheid vir sy/haar hond se optrede. Vir die aksie om suksesvol te wees moet die slagoffer (hierna na verwys as die Eiser) egter verskeie dinge bewys. Die belangrikste sluit in:

1. Eienaarskap van die hond.

2.Dat die hond in stryd met sy natuur opgetree het. In hierdie verband moet die Eiser en die Eienaar (verweerder ) kennis neem daarvan dat ‘n mak huisdier, in dié geval die hond, teen sy natuur sou optree indien die huisdier iemand byt.
3.Dat die hond ‘n mak huisdier is.

4.Dat die hondbyt die Eiser skade berokken het.

Daar is egter ook ‘n aantal verwere wat geopper kan word teen die bogenoemde aksie, naamlik:

1.Indien die hond sy eienaar, en/of eiendom sou verdedig teen onwettige betreding/inbraak.

2.Waar uittarting aanleiding daartoe gee dat die hond reageer op die stimuli en daarvolgens optree teenoor die persoon wat die handeling uitvoer.

Daar rus geen onus op die beseerde Eiser om die vreemde optrede van die hond te verduidelik nie.

Wanneer hierdie tipe eise egter ingestel word is dit raadsaam om nie net met die hoofaksie (actio de pauperie) alleen te volstaan nie, maar om ook ‘n alternatiewe eis, gebaseer op ‘n tweede gemeenregtelike aksie, in te stel. Hierdie gemeenregtelike aksie staan bekend as die (actio legis aquiliae). Laasgenoemde aksie word ingestel waar die Eiser nie kan bewys dat ‘n bepaalde persoon die eienaar van die hond is nie, of indien daar nie bewyse gelewer kan word dat die hond teen sy natuur opgetree het nie. (Actio legis aquiliae stel) die Eiser daartoe in staat om ‘n eis van nalatigheid teen die persoon wat ten tye van die voorval in beheer van die hond was, in te stel. Die eis sal egter slegs suksesvol wees indien nalatigheid bewys kan word.

Uit die bogemelde is dit dus duidelik dat Eiser twee duidelike aksies het indien hy/sy deur ‘n hond gebyt word, naamlik die (actio de pauperie) en (actio legis aquiliae). Daar is egter (soos genoem in die artikel) verskeie vereistes waaraan hierdie aksie moet voldoen. Om skade te voorkom is dit egter ook belangrik dat ‘n honde-eienaar voorsiening moet maak vir publieke aanspreeklikheidsversekering om sy/haar boedel teen skadevergoedingsaksies te beskerm. Dit sal raadsaam wees om in geval van ‘n hondbytvoorval, ‘n prokureur te raadpleeg wat spesialiseer in liggaamlike beseringseise om die eiser van advies te voorsien



The Man at the Supermarket
When the supermarket cashier had added up my groceries, I was $12 over what I had on me. I began to remove items from the bags, when another shopper handed me a $20 note.
“Please don’t put yourself out,” I told him.
“Let me tell you a story,” he said. “My mother is in the hospital with cancer. I visit her every day and bring her flowers. I went this morning, and she got cross with me for spending my money on more flowers. She demanded that I do something else with that money. So, here, please accept this. It’s my mother’s flowers.” Leslie Wagner

Jim and the Job
My neighbour, Jim, had trouble deciding if he wanted to retire from the construction field, until he ran into a younger man he’d worked with previously. The young man had a wife and three children and was finding it difficult to make ends meet, since he hadn’t worked in some time. The next morning, Jim went to the union office and submitted his retirement paperwork. As for his replacement, he gave them the name of the young man. That was six years ago, and that young husband and father has been employed ever since. Miranda MacLean

A Family’s Food Angel
While going through a divorce, my mother fretted over her new worries: no income, the same bills, and no way to afford groceries. It was around this time that she started finding boxes of food outside our door every morning. This went on for months, until she was able to land a job. We never found out who left the groceries, but they truly saved our lives. Jamie Boleyn

The Little Lift
One evening, I left a restaurant just ahead of a woman assisting her elderly mother. I approached a step up and paused to see if my arthritic knees could climb it. To my right appeared an arm to assist. It was that of the elderly mother. My heart was so touched.

Colour Me Amazed
I forgot about the rules on liquids in carry-on luggage, so when I hit security at the airport, I had to give up all my painting supplies. When I returned a week later, an attendant was at the baggage area with my paints. Not only had he kept them for me, but he’d looked up my return date and time in order to meet me. Marilyn Kinsella

Bounty for a Wife
I was balancing caring for a toddler and holding down a full-time job, while my navy husband was on extended duty overseas. One evening, the doorbell rang. It was my neighbour, who was retired from the navy, holding a breadboard loaded with a freshly cooked chicken and vegetable stew.
“I’ve noticed you’re getting a little skinny,” he said.
It was the best meal I’d had in months. Patricia Fordney

She Gave Me Direction
As I left a party, I got on the wrong freeway and was immediately lost. I pulled over to the shoulder and called my roadside-assistance provider. She tried to connect me to a ­freeway police patrol, but that call never went through. Hearing the panic in my voice, she came up with a plan B: “You’re near this office,” she said. “I’m about to go off shift. Stay put, and I’ll find you.”
Ten minutes later, she rolled up. She guided me not only to the right freeway but all the way to the correct freeway exit. And then, with a wave goodbye, she drove back into the night. Michelle Arnold

Breaking Bread
Last December, before work, I stopped at a café and ordered an everything bagel with cream cheese. It was toasty warm, and I couldn’t wait to dig in. But as I left the café, I noticed an older homeless gentleman sitting at the bus stop. Knowing it would probably be his only warm meal of the day, I gave him the bagel.
But all was not lost for me. Another customer from the café offered me half of her bagel. I was so delighted because I realised that in one way or another, we’re all looked after.




What’s healthier in your coffee – sugar or artificial sweeteners?
Winner: Sugar.

Go ahead and opt for the real stuff. Not because artificial sweeteners aren’t safe (they are, as regulatory authorities confirm), but the premise that we should eat “real foods” in moderation is persuasive. Whereas your body knows how to deal with sugar (ie, you burn it for energy and, if you eat too much of it, store the rest as fat), emerging animal research suggests that, on the other hand, a habit of artificial sweeteners may interfere with metabolism and blood sugar regulation, possibly even contributing to weight gain and glucose intolerance. (One possible exception: people with diabetes, who must closely monitor their blood sugar levels, should talk to their doctor about the healthiest choices for them.)

But more important than how you sweeten your cuppa is your overall intake of sugar or artificial sweeteners, says dietitian Elisa Zied, the author of Younger Next Week. The World Health Organization says adults should limit sugar intake to about six teaspoons total each day (one can of soft drink can have about ten teaspoons). While recommended limits for sweeteners vary, Zied advises using no more than a couple of packets a day.

Which provides a superior workout – treadmill or cross-trainer?
Winner: Treadmill.

You can raise your heart rate and burn kilojoules on any piece of cardio equipment, but every time your foot comes down on that treadmill belt, you get the bonus of building bone strength too, points out Jessica Matthews, senior adviser for health and fitness education for the American Council on Exercise. Unlike the cross-trainer (elliptical), only weight-bearing exercises – such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, and weight training – help to preserve bone density.

Most exercisers also simply like the treadmill more than the cross-trainer, found a recent study published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills, which is a helpful factor if they’re trying to stick to an exercise programme. That said, folks with arthritis or who are overweight may find the lower-impact elliptical to be more comfortable for their joints, says Matthews.

Which diet is more effective for weight loss – low fat, low carb or Mediterranean?
Winners: Low carb and Mediterranean.

Researchers have been bickering over this diet dilemma for decades, but a major 2015 meta-analysis of 53 published studies involving more than 68,000 adults has tipped the scales slightly in favour of low-carbohydrate and Mediterranean diets over low-fat diets. Trials that included dietary supplements or meal replacement drinks were excluded from the study.

The researchers found that lowering fat content did not offer any long-term benefit in actually losing weight or in maintaining weight loss over other dietary interventions. Nevertheless, people on low-carb diets only lost 1kg (2.2lbs) more than those on low-fat diets and the overall average weight loss after a year in the trials was 3.75kg.

The researchers found that no diets worked particularly well in the long term – defined as more than a year. The key to success seems to have more to do with sticking to a diet rather than any one particular weight-loss plan, notes Dr Deirdre Tobias, lead researcher in the study.

“We need to look beyond the ratios of calories from fat, carbs and protein to a discussion of healthy eating patterns, whole foods, and portion sizes,” she points out.

Which is better when you’re tired – exercise or an extra hour of sleep?
Winner: Both, but sleep wins out slightly.

“When you look at the research, regular physical activity is important for high-quality sleep, and high-quality sleep is important for physical performance,” says Cheri Mah, a sleep medicine researcher at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco, in a recent TIME article.

Experts say healthy routines start with going to bed and waking up at the same time to ensure enough rest. With a well-rested mind and body, you’re more likely to have the energy to exercise.

Making time for the recommended at least seven hours of sleep a night and a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week could come down to cutting out other less important activities.

“Almost everyone could forgo 30 minutes a day of internet or TV time,” Mah says.

Which is the better germ fighter – soap or hand sanitiser?
Winner: Soap.

While soap doesn’t kill microbes, as the alcohol in some sanitisers can, washing with suds and water makes for cleaner hands, according to the infectious-disease experts at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Multiple studies have found that the combo of running water, lathering with soap, and friction from rubbing hands for 20 seconds removes the highest number of certain sickness-causing bacteria and viruses. No need to use warm or hot water – it doesn’t seem to help clear any more germs than cool water does and may actually dry out your hands more. When you can’t get to soap and water, a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol is a decent second choice, says the CDC.

Which is healthier for your feet – wedge heels or ballet flats?
Winner: Wedge heels.

Both allow for even distribution of your body weight, since there’s ample contact between the sole of the shoe and the floor (versus, say, stiletto heels). But more support can put wedges on top, says podiatrist and shoe designer Dr Michele Summers Colon. “Very flat flats are the worst shoes you can wear,” says Summers Colon. “There is no support for the mid-foot, so the ankle tends to roll inward, causing ankle, calf, and even knee soreness.



Community anglers are threatening tourist safety if fishing rights are not granted in the hopes that it would spur the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on in opening up parts of the Tsitsikamma marine protected area (MPA) to permit-quota fishing – a move which marine experts are calling flawed and likely to devastate fish stocks.
Fishermen from the surrounding communities, who have been pressurising the DEA to reinstate their fishing rights since the Tsitsikamma MPA was declared a no-take zone in 2000, are becoming impatient and have resorted to “threats and protests”.

Members of the community claim that fishing in the reserve is their historical right and will add to their livelihoods by alleviating poverty.

‘Threat to tourists’

“The communities were never consulted in 2000 when they took away our rights to the sea and our people are angry and will fight for their constitutional rights,” says Tsitsikamma Angling Forum member Henrico Bruiners “If they do not get access to the sea they cannot guarantee the safety of tourists, especially those walking the Otter Trail.”

The DEA announced a proposal in November to open the no-take zone and gazetted draft regulations to allow registered members from communities between Covie and Bloukrans, including communities within the Koukamma Municipality, to apply for recreational fishing permits.

A four week pilot phase to allow fishing in the MPA was approved by the DEA in December, only to be legally halted by a group of conservationists, Friends of Tsitsikamma, on the grounds that the department’s procedure was unlawful by allowing fishing ahead of closure for public comment on the proposed rezoning of the reserve.

They said the department was bowing to pressure from enraged fishers and even a short period open to fishing will have lasting detrimental effects on the reserve’s fish population – which is considered a crucial seeding ground for South Africa’s fisheries.

“No-take MPA’s are essential in providing a refuge and allow protected populations to recover in both number and size and to contribute to adjacent exploited populations through spill over,” says Bruce Mann, Senior Scientist at the Durban Oceanographic Research Institute.

Professor Peter Britz from the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science at Rhodes University says traditional fishing rights can be restored in terms of the Constitution which recognises traditional and customary rights even if they are not defined in law.

“But the problem is that the draft Gazette regulations do not frame the issue as a historical restitution one. The park is to be opened to all residents of the area, not just families historically compromised. This approach is flawed because the DEA lack the correct policy to guide them on fishing rights.”

According to DEA spokesperson, Zolile Nqayi, restitution cannot be applied to the sea and the proposed rezoning is not to restore real rights. “It’s an attempt to address the fact that these communities have been denied access to enjoy and use marine resources which they have historically been allowed to undertake prior to declaring the MPA.”

But Friends of Tsitiskamma remain concerned that the lack of policy will allow a greater number of fishers into the reserve, heightening the impact on sensitive marine resources and setting a precedent that will compromise other protected areas.

“The current lack of due process in Tsitsikamma has the potential to undermine all protected areas in South Africa, both marine and terrestrial,” says marine biologist, Professor Mandy Lombard.

Meanwhile experts have clearly indicated to the DEA the dire consequences of allowing fishing in the MPA, which will result in a rapid decline of fish stocks.

“Resident fish populations within these controlled zones will be depleted very quickly, even with the bag limits proposed,” says Bruce Mann.

With 500 fisherman registering at SANParks for the pilot phase, each permitted to fish for four days a month and limited to ten fish per day, an average of 20 000 fish are destined to be pulled out of the water every month.

Previous attempts were made to open the Tsitsikamma MPA to fishing in 2007 and 2010, but the then environmental ministers took heed to scientific advice, deciding not to allow fishing and appealing to local communities to respect their decision which was in the interest to the nation as a whole.




Military dogs are unsung heroes who protect and serve alongside the brave men and women in the armed forces. From going through basic training to serving veterans who are home from combat, these amazing canines do their part without question, with only love and companionship as their reward.

Here are the stories of two amazing military dogs:

Jud, the Wounded Warrior Service Dog

In 2004, Mike Morrison fulfilled one of his life’s dreams by enlisting in the army. Then, at the age of 19, he went from basic training directly to Iraq, where he served as a recovery specialist. Unfortunately, Mike developed severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In 2008, he made his way home after receiving an honorable discharge.

Upon his return, Mike was plagued with nightmares, and he found it nearly impossible to keep a job. But the veteran was able to find joy when he met and married Tiffany, a wonderful, supportive woman who helped him through his darkest days. But Mike still struggled to cope with his everyday life.
Finally, someone suggested a service dog. When the veteran was first presented with the idea of getting a service dog, he was hesitant. “I had always thought service dogs were for the blind and the mobility-impaired,” he says. But after speaking with other veterans who relied on their service animals, Mike quickly warmed to the idea and set out to be paired with a canine companion. Unfortunately, he faced a road block. “I did some research and discovered that the average wait time to get a service dog was 2 t o 5 years,” he explains.

That’s when Mike discovered Mutts with a Mission, a nonprofit organization that trains pairs of veterans and dogs. He soon set out to find the perfect service canine for him. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw Jud,” Mike recalls. “He was a two-year-old lab. He stood beside me and wouldn’t leave.”

It was doggie love at first sight! “By the time we finished our first walk, I remember telling myself ‘this is the dog for me,'” says Mike.

During his first night in his new home, Jud jumped into action by waking Mike up from two different nightmares. That was all it took for the veteran to know that his new canine companion was the perfect support system. The pair finished their training program and passed with flying colors.

Before he met Jud, Mike could barely leave his house and rarely spoke to anyone. But today, with his service dog by his side, Mike has found a new lease on life. In fact, the veteran devotes most of his time to volunteering at Mutts with a Mission. He speaks in front of groups of people and even marches in parades, promoting the program and sharing his story.

Senna, a Mine Detection Dog (MDD)
Senna was born in 2006 in the Netherlands. When she was just a year old, she was selected by the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) to train as a Mine Detection Dog (MDD), the highest echelon of explosives dog. This program trains dogs to sniff out land mines, creating a safer place for children, families and troops to work and live in war-torn countries.

Senna served the US Air Force in Afghanistan for two years by clearing areas so that airplanes filled with troops and supplies could land safely. The military dog then cleared land for the US Army in Kandahar for two more years. MDD Senna’s final assignment in Afghanistan was to work with the UN for six months.

After more than five years clearing about 1.5 million square meters of land, Senna retired from active duty, becoming the Canine Ambassador to the CHAMPS Team in 2012. The service dog traveled with her handler, Kimberly McCasland, to visit and perform simulated minefield demonstrations at schools, the State Department and the UN, until she died in October 2015.

One of the most important parts of the MDD Training is to teach each dog how to bond to his or her handler. After all, only the handler takes care of the service dog in the field — the pair is together at all times, until the MDD returns to the kennel each night. This special relationship is what keeps them alive while working in dangerous conditions. “The love and the bond between dog and handler is incredibly strong,” says McCasland. “These dogs bless our lives, and then go on to save so many others.”