Robberg Coastal Corridor declared a protected environment

The Robberg Coastal Corridor (RCC), which comprises a 20km stretch of unspoiled coastline between Robberg Nature Reserve and Harkerville State Forest, has been declared a protected area. Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning of the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, signed the declaration on August 31.
Pam Booth, Founding Director of the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative, who initiated the research into the possibility of implementing protected environments by landowners, said: “The preservation of the RCC from encroachment and development, and linking it to the two core protected areas, Robberg Nature Reserve in the east to the Garden Route National Park in the west will extend its length to over 35 kilometres from the tip of Robberg Peninsula to Noetzie – more than sufficient to sustain a hiking trail along a coastline equally as spectacular as the famous Otter Trail on the Tsitsikamma Coast. It will also protect and facilitate the natural movement of the flora and fauna along the Corridor, thereby preserving the diversity of genetic species and enabling better adaptation to the vagaries of climate change. Most important, it secures the last remaining ecological lifeline to the increasingly isolated Robberg Peninsula.”
Robbie Robinson, former Head of SA National Parks, and Chairman of the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative, said: “Generations of conservation-sensitive landowners have struggled to keep the link between Robberg and the remaining coastal lowland fynbos viable. It is essential to maintain this vital corridor.”

Two locals for Adventure World Championships

Two Knysna locals are part of top South African team Merrell Adventure Addicts, heading to the Adventure Racing World Championships in Brazil.

The team of four leave on Saturday 7th November for the long journey to the wetlands of the Pantanal in Brazil, where they will compete against 40 top international teams in this extreme endurance sport. The 700km course with various legs of mountain biking, trail running and kayaking will be undertaken as a single stage, expected to take the winners about 120 hours non-stop. It is predicted that the exceptional paddling skills of our Merrell team, currently ranked Number 7 in the world, will give them a good advantage in the wet course which will see them in and out of rivers and flooded areas.

All teams must be fully prepared to survive unassisted in the wilderness and preparing all the equipment necessary is in itself “an adventure in international relations”. So says captain and Knysna resident Graham Bird, who has spent countless hours talking with other foreign teams to swop favours. So although they will be rivals out there, the spirit of true sportsmanship is evident in the camaraderie shown before and after the event. “Teams overseas have sourced things for us that we can’t get here, and we have done the same for them. We are taking several sets of custom made paddles for ourselves and other teams that were specially made by Albert Wasserman of Knysna Racing. They split into four pieces – thereby easier to carry on the long running legs.” The local company will no doubt be getting many more orders next year when several of the same teams will come to challenge the eagerly anticipated Expedition Africa 500km event which is being held in Knysna and Sedgefield in June 2016.
Aside from good athletic abilities, the team needs optimum navigational skills to complete the course. All they receive is a set of maps and must find the checkpoints and finish line using only a compass. No GPS systems are allowed however each team must carry a transmitter which allows supporters of the race to view their progress on screen. It’s called ‘dotwatching’ for the armchair enthusiasts who report having sleepless nights themselves as they shout directions and advice to their team, represented by a little dot amongst many on a map. “The technology allows people to get involved and see a bit of what we do. Without the sweat dripping in their eyes!” said Karatara local, Hanno Smit.

The Pantanal is the world’s largest freshwater wetland with an extraordinary, concentrated biodiversity. Teams and the media, who will be following some of the action via a riverboat, will be in the home ground of jaguars, giant otters, anacondas, caimans, macaws, marsh deer, tapirs, over 700 species of birds, 260 species of fish and 80 reptile species.

“We are going to be racing very hard but we are always aware of our surroundings and know how privileged we are to be able to compete in such exotic places. Knowing that people all over the world are following us is truly wonderful. We hope they get inspired to enjoy the outdoors as much as we do.” Said Donovan Sims who, together with Robyn Kime makes up the rest of the South African team.

Live tracking will be available from the moment they start, at 18h00 SA time, Saturday 14th November. The link to this and updates and images will be posted on the Facebook page of Merrell Adventure Addicts.

-The Gremlin

Tsitsikamma trails open from tomorrow

SANParks rangers patrolled hiking trails as part of an assessment subsequent to recent heavy rainfall. They checked for windfalls, uprooted trees and river stream crossings. The trails in Tsitsikamma will be opened tomorrow (Thursday).

12 hiking trails in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) have Green Flag status from the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA). This is a global benchmark for hiking trails and includes the following criteria: Conservation status, health and safety measures, cleanliness and maintenance, sustainability, management and others.

Most hiking trails start and end in the Storms River Rest Camp. There are 12 hiking trails with green flag status in Tsitsikamma: The Waterfall hike, the Loerie, Blue duiker, Platbos nature walks, Goesa nature walks, Rugbos trail, Stinkhoutkloof, Salt River, Varinghout trail, Kalanderkloof and Grootriver trail.

All hiking trails in Knysna and Wilderness remain open and the Park’s planned launch of the Graspad cycling trail (Harkerville, Knysna) this coming Saturday, the 07th November 2015 continues.

-southcapenet

Plett Harvest Fair at The Yard

Friday 27/11 Day/Night market starts at 14h00 till 21h00. A variety of stalls with fresh produce from our local growers, Christmas related products, Arts and Crafts, jewelry and homemade goodies, pancakes, food court, craft beer and more.

Petanque Competition from 16h00 with cash prizes at a R25.00 entry fee for doubles. This is a fantastic family event from Grandparents to children. Lets get those teams together for lots of fun. (Prize for team with best name)

Seafood stall with fresh oysters and other delicious fishy treats.

Food court will serve a HANGI (Maori underground cooking) buffet @ 1900 @ R100.00 per head, (limited avail) Slow cooked in banana leaves it is an unforgettable culinary experience. Kids fun court and entertainment.

Saturday 28/11 opens at 0900 till 1700 with 40 plus Stalls, biggest veg and ugliest veg competition, Big Breakfast, Food court, Kids entertainment, Pony rides, Dog show and Pet owner lookalikes competition, Craft Beer, Wine tasting, live Music, Classic Cars, fresh Seafood and Oysters, Bric n Brac Arts and Crafts and so much more.
www.plett-tourism.co.za/events/plett-harvest-fair/

More colourful Plett gardens for PAWS

Garden lovers can look forward to the fourth Plett Open Garden Day in support of PAWS, on Saturday 31 October from 10:00 to 16:00. This popular event will again feature Rae Gilbert’s magnificent Bosky Dell Rose Garden as the anchor garden. Last year, despite cold and wet weather, 313 hardy visitors turned up to help PAWS raise the impressive sum of R34 000.

The roses at Bosky Dell will show off their first glorious flush of colour and visitors can enjoy the tea garden, PAWS quality cake and plant sales – with live music thrown in.

Tickets at R60 for all four gardens will be sold at all the gardens. Flyers describing the gardens and their locations will be available at all the gardens, and can be collected from Barney’s Kiosk, next to Mugg and Bean, in the Market Square Shopping Centre.

Plett GardensThe small, but committed PAWS team works hard to raise enough funds to cover our monthly operating costs of about R50 000. Without the generous support of the public for our events,, we cannot continue to provide the essential primary health care service, to improve living conditions for the many neglected and abused dogs and cats in the Bitou region.

The featured gardens are:

Bosky-Dell Rose Garden. Access on the N2, opposite The Heath – follow dirt road to the farm. This magnificent rose garden, containing more than 6 000 rose bushes, is based on strict geometric design, with the bright colours of a large variety of roses complemented by indigenous borders and shrubs. A central pavilion, overlooking a verdant valley, houses the tea garden and visitors can stroll around a lovely lily pond.

Plett GardensHawkes garden. Brackenridge Estate, access via main entrance, off Piesang Valley Road. Directions available at gate. The position of the stand, at the top of the ridge and exposed to prevailing wind was an important factor when planning the garden. Mike Vlok, the designer of this impressive indigenous garden, over two stands, created several tranquil corners, including a pond with a Robbie Leggatt sculpture. The plan includes imaginative planting of some exotics to provide year-round colour.

McIvor garden. 52 Bitou Glade, access via main entrance to Brackenridge Estate, off Piesang Valley. Directions available at gate. Designing this indigenous garden was quite a challenge because of severe clay conditions. Graham von Hoesslin provided the backbone for the layout, and the owner set about planting her garden for the bees, birds, butterflies and buck. She has had to learn to share her garden with many wild visitors, including a voracious tortoise who loves gazanias.

Plett GardensDippenaar garden. 4 Robbebergbaai Road, Brakkloof, Last road left, off the road leading to Robberg Nature Reserve gate. This garden was very new when it was featured during the first Open Garden Day in 2012. Now, three years later, it has matured and still offers a large variety of mainly indigenous plants, with natural and unstructured plantings . It was designed for maximum impact of colour and to attract nectar, fruit and insect-eating birds.

For more information contact Marsja Hall-Green: 073 645 9476/044 533 4578•

South Africa Orca Conservation Project

Often referred to as the Rainbow Nation owing to its great cultural diversity, South Africa is one of the most multifaceted countries in the world. It plays host to a vast multicultural society, with a mishmash of cuisines from all over the world and 11 official languages! With Kruger National Park, the Cape of Good Hope, and the awe-inspiring Table Mountain, South Africa has a varied and vibrant array of wildlife and natural geography that has inspired travellers and entranced locals for centuries.

This project takes place in Plettenberg Bay, a fashionable eco-tourism hotspot and a beach-lover’s paradise located along the heart of the infamous and stunning Garden Route. Home to some of the world’s most fascinating marine species including Humpback Whales, Bryde’s Whales, Orcas, Bottlenose Dolphins and even the odd Great White Shark, this project is perfect for anyone looking to catch a glimpse of one of the oceans’ most wanted.

1If you have a passion for marine wildlife and habitats, or want to gain valuable experience in marine research and conservation, this will be the perfect project for you. If you’re just looking to learn a little more about marine ecosystems, try the two week project and learn transferrable skills in research and data collection – you can even earn a qualification in marine animal care!

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

This project aims to focus on research and education regarding the diverse dolphin and whale species in the Plettenberg Bay area, as well as environmental conservation and monitoring. Plettenberg Bay is located along the Garden Route of South Africa, and is home to an abundance of rare and unique wildlife and fragile ecosystems that need to be protected to maintain their biodiversity. Carrying out research and analysis of the local marine and terrestrial environment is a vital component in the ongoing preservation of this spectacular region. By collecting data about the marine wildlife, including whales, dolphins, birds and fish, you will be helping researchers to better understand the state of the rivers and the bay and determine the health of the ecosystem.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

Activities on this project will vary depending on the time of year and the needs of the research centre, but no matter when you go, the work will be very much hands-on and you’ll have an unforgettable experience! No day will be the same in Plettenberg Bay – some will involve more rigorous physical work like tank maintenance at the centre, whilst others will move at a more leisurely pace. Be prepared to adapt though – daily schedules can change at a moment’s notice if an exciting opportunity comes along!

Your working week will be Monday-Friday, from 8.30 to 16.30. Tasks that you may be asked to carry out could include:

Assisting research teams out on the ocean
Tag and release fishing
Animal rehabilitation
Aquarium maintenance
Bait collection
Fin profiling and spatial distribution
Tree planting and alien tree removal
Beach clean up
Local school conservation education
The contribution that you make during this project will be vital for the upkeep of ongoing studies and wildlife analysis. You will have a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to observe some of the most mesmerising marine species in the world while participating in important conservation and community development work.

You will have the evenings and weekends free to explore and get to know the area you’re staying in. In the week, you can pop in to the lively town centre for dinner with your fellow volunteers. At the weekends, take a stroll down the endless stretches of unspoilt beaches, take a hike through the towering forests, or discover hidden lagoons in the peninsula – the possibilities for exploration in along the Garden Route are endless. If you’re in the mood for something a little more adrenaline-inducing, you could try your hand at surfing, skydiving or bungee jumping for a little extra cost!
frontiergap.com/projects/772/South-Africa-Orca-Conservation-Project < to go apply NOW•

New GM appointed at Plettenberg

Forever Resorts, Lodges, Hotels and Retreats is shuffling and repositioning staff at its various properties in South Africa.

According to Marketing Executive and Spokesperson, Christo Wagenaar, the strategic move forms part of the company’s five-year plan of re-defining its operations and expanding its management core.

André Steyn, GM at Swadini, will take over as GM at Plettenberg.

Monica van der Linde, current GM at Plettenberg has been appointed GM of Loskopdam and Waterfall.

Johan Bezuidenhout has been appointed the new GM of the company’s flagship resort, Badplaas.

Allan Hoffman, current GM at Mount Sheba, will take over at Blyde Canyon while still overseeing operations at Mount Sheba.

Fanie Fick, previous Food and Beverage Manager at Gariep, has been appointed Resident Manager at Mount Sheba.

Nols van den Berg, Deputy GM at Badplaas, has been promoted to GM at Swadini.

Caroline Jackson, Deputy GM at Warmbaths, has been appointed new GM of the Forever Hotel @ Centurion.

Colin White, Eco and Farm Manager at Warmbaths, has been appointed Group Game Manager to oversee game farming and conservation areas at Warmbaths, Badplaas, Tshipise and the Loskop Country.

The transfers will be completed by January 5, 2016.

“We as a company are very excited about the mix of experience and innovative youth among our General Managers and trust that this will not only bode well for the company but also contribute to create memories that will last forever for our guests,” said Kobus Tait, MD of the Group

Jeep Team’s Dylan Rebello wins Tour de Plett

Jeep Team’s Dylan Rebello absolutely shredded the course and competition claiming victory at the 85-km Tour de Plett MTB race finishing in 3:40:00, ahead of second-placed Neill Ungerer (3:40:56) and Neil Clark in 3rd (3:42:28). Tour de Plett was held in the Garden Route, Rabello’s home ground, on Saturday 10th October 2015.

The Tour de Plett is considered one of the most scenic MTB races in South Africa, treating riders to a spectacular route of challenging climbs, jeep tracks and single tracks through the Garden Route’s indigenous forests, game reserves and pristine coastline.

Commented Rebello, a Knysna local and former junior African cross-country champion, “What a great day out at the 5th Tour De Plett. This is always a great event with absolutely stunning views of the coast and was made even better this year with a new route and a few floating bridges. Thanks to Jeep South Africa for supporting me, Cadence Nutrition for fuelling me through the windy conditions, and POC South Africa for keeping the wind out of my eyes. I’m really happy to come away with the win!”

2015 Tour De Plett results: 85km

Dylan Rebello – 3:40:00
Neill Ungerer – 3:40:56
Neil Clark – 3:42:28
Veron Moos – 3:45:38.33
Francois Grotepass – 3:45:38.91
Brandon Willcocks – 3:54:11
Gaeren Wilkinson – 3:59:53
Eugene van Rooyen – 4:08:10
Rudi de Wet – 4:09:02
Pieter Nortje – 4:10:01
For the full results, go to to http://www.tourdeplett.co.za/race-results-85km.html

Dutch tourist assisted at Plett

Marc Rodgers, NSRI Plettenberg Bay deputy station commander, said: “At 16h40, Friday, 09th October, NSRI Plettenberg Bay crewman Nic van den Handel, out on a daily exercise run to the Robberg Nature Reserve, had come across two men carrying their injured friend.

It appears that a 25 year old Dutch tourist felt pain in his foot yesterday but thinking nothing of it he embarked on a hike today with his two friends, both 29, one from Holland and one from Miami, USA.

During the hike the pain in his foot grew more severe and after twisting his foot on rocks he was unable to continue and eventually, on the Robberg Nature Reserve Wild Side, unable to apply pressure to his left foot his two friends began to carry him and they had carried him already for three hours when the NSRI volunteer happened upon them while out on his daily run.

Assistance was requested from Nic and the three tourists were happy to have found help. NSRI launched our DISCOVERY Rescue Runner and our sea rescue craft LEONARD SMITH.

On arrival on the scene, in heavy sea conditions, our sea rescue craft LEONARD SMITH could not get close enough to rocks to transfer the patient onto her.

The DISCOVERY Rescue Runner was able to negotiate the swells and get close enough to the rocks, in between swells, to transfer the patient from the rocks onto the DISCOVERY Rescue Runner and he was transported out to LEONARD SMITH then brought to our sea rescue base where a friend collected him and took him to hospital for further treatment.

With fading light we dispatched a land rescue party and in darkness, using torches and headlamps, we hiked the two friends of the patient safely out of the Robberg Nature Reserve to their vehicles and they required no further assistance.

The EMS/AMS Skymed helicopter had been launched to assist but was cancelled en-route as she was no longer needed.

TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE

SMS 32287 with your name and a message of support for our Sea Rescue crew

Bikers open hearts to animal welfare

The annual Ulysses Garden Route Motorcycle Club (UGR) Plettenberg Animal Welfare Service (PAWS) bike run was held at Plettenberg Bay on October 4.

With the weather playing its part, hundreds of bikers from across the Garden Route turned out to support the annual event.

A huge amount of dog and cat food and resources were donated at the fun-filled event, which included lucky draws and a handover at the Berlin Restaurant in Plettenberg Bay – a part sponsor of the event.

Pick n Pay kindly arranged specials on their dog and cat food and there were also contributions in the form of prizes from LM , the Surf Café and other sponsors.

“It is gratifying in times where everyone is tightening the belt to see that folks out there still care for our four-legged friends and can open their hearts and wallets to support the wonderful folk at PAWS,” said UGR Chairman Mig Vermaak.

He also paid tribute to the support of other motorcycle clubs from the Southern Cape that turned out to give their support to Ulysses including Excalibur, Scattered Links, CMA, Renegades, Black Top Surfers,Wranglers, Moths and Syndicate to name but a few; many bringing their families along for a memorable day.

Tracy van der Byl , kennel manager at PAWS, expressed her delight at the substantial donation by the bikers.

“We use these products very constructively in especially poorer communities where animal owners, on receiving a food parcel, are encouraged to have the animals
vaccinated and receive treatments if necessary.
The willingness of the bikers to support us is very welcoming and very heartwarming,” said Van Der Byl.
UGR hosts the annual Whale Rally, which is now being held in Hartenbos.

-thegremlin.co.za•