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!


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.


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! < to go apply NOW•



Through my involvement over a period of 50 years in the “science of learning”, mostly at higher education level and in teaching and motivating students, I came to the conclusion that achievement depends on the following 10 basic principles of learning:
• Attitude and Interest
• Motivation
• Anxiety
• Time Management
• Concentration an Attention
• Information Processing
• Selecting Main Ideas
• Use of Support Techniques and Materials
• Self Testing and Reviewing
• Preparing and Examination Strategies

1.ATTITUDE and INTEREST towards study and attainment:
Examinations are usually viewed by most learners and students as anxiety-laden situations e.g. “the fear for examinations”. At this stage of the year students are in their final preparation for the examination. Insecurity and lack of confidence are the main reasons why students become anxious about the examinations.

2. MOTIVATION in general, culminate from one’s life goals and experiences, aspirations, external influences, determination, diligence, activity and self-discipline and imagery. The more congruent these elements become within one’s way of life, the stronger and more realistic your motivation will be. The right motivation to succeed can only be achieved through realistic goals, determination, a balanced lifestyle, effective planning, and the setting aside of a specified amount of time needed to study. At this late stage you may develop the feeling that it is probably impossible to change to a more positive approach. The more you engage in these 10 principles, the more you will evoke a stronger motivation to succeed.

3.ANXIETY, the unnecessary and acute presence which can upset all good intentions. Examine your emotional condition and attitude with regard to study and the examination. Situations or events that cause disruption or tension are of special importance. It is better to be more positive by trying to live with and accept unfortunate situations as part of the academic process rather than keep worrying or becoming anxious about them. Also, anxiety in study develops because of not having a goal to work for. Before your examination make a list of all the objectives you wish to attain. Effective study will ease anxiety. Avoid being to tense when studying. Practise relaxation exercises while studying or even in the examination room when writing – tensing up can block the information and ideas “getting through”.

4.TIME MANAGEMENT when studying. How much effective study time do you still have before your examinations ? You may have only 20 to 25 hours per week left to devote to study. Therefore you have to plan study time available very economically. Definite learning objectives need to be set for each study session, eg. a summary of so many pages; a certain concept must be understood and applied; the solution of a certain type of problem must be mastered. Also bear in mind that it is not only the number of hours that go into the work, it is also the amount of work that is put into each hour, that counts.

Avoid cramming. During the examination, schedule the answering of questions to ensure that you will be able to answer the total number required. About 5 to 10 minutes are needed for reading the instructions, re-reading answers and, if applicable, checking response cards. Calculate the rate at which questions should be answered in terms of time per sections/questions/marks. Use the calculated rate as a guide and set time limits within which to complete answers. Approximately one and a half minutes per mark are available for a three-hour paper counting 100 marks.

5.CONCENTRATION and ATTENTION when studying. “I can’t concentrate. Minutes and hours slip by and I just can’t apply my thoughts to my studies.” Poor concentration is often related to a “passive and aimless approach” to one’s study. To ensure that one concentrate effectively, one should set oneself specific short-term objectives while studying. A general objective such as “I am studying to pass matric or to qualify for a specific career should be translated into concrete and specific learning tasks every time the student sits down to study. These tasks must be set in terms of the subject matter to be systematically studied.

Prof Hendrik Gous –
044 695 0841/081 270 4227
( To be continued – Part 2)

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

Is “Cat Walking” Really a Thing?

Have you ever seen a cat walking on a leash, like a puppy, behind her owner? Even if you snickered or sneered at the sight, you probably questioned whether or not your own furry friend may indeed need this type of outdoor exercise. Here’s an overview of “cat walking” and how to determine if you should try it with your own pet!

Why Might It Be a Good Idea to Walk Your Cat?
Think about the reasons you like to go for a walk outside. Perhaps this activity helps you to reduce your stress level, or maybe it’s a fun, easy way for you to get some exercise and fresh air. These reasons can apply to your cat as well! Heading out for a walk can help your feline companion overcome a case of the “indoor boredom blahs” and ensure that she stays in tip-top physical shape.

A quick trip outside may also quench your cat’s need to get back to her roots. When she’s inside, a pesky pane of glass separates her from the bounty of the backyard. But if you take her on a leashed walk, she can explore and investigate without the worry that she’ll get into too much trouble.

Why Might It Be a Bad Idea to Walk Your Cat?
Some shy or temperamental cats may not react well to a leash or the outdoor environment. If your cat is timid, scares easily or has anxiety in new situations, it may be best to avoid taking her on walks. It’s important for you to keep in mind that along with the wonders of nature — which for your cat translates to birds, birds and more birds — the great outdoors comes with a variety of intimidating new people, animals, vehicles and noises that may scare your cat.

You may also want to avoid taking your cat on walks if she is a dasher, runner or Houdini-like escape artist, as she may use the daily outdoor time to try to make a break for it.

How Can You Start?
If you do decide to try out the whole cat walking thing, you must be sure to take a series of steps to prepare your pet for this new adventure. Firstly, make sure that all of her immunizations and flea treatments are up to date, as there’s no telling what she may be exposed to during your daily half-mile jaunt.

You’ll also need to acquire all the necessary supplies. When looking for the perfect harness and leash, be sure to choose ones that are specifically made for cats. Don’t simply reuse your puppy’s old set! As a harness is likely a totally new concept to your cat, you need to introduce it to her gradually.

Start by leaving it around the house for a few days so that she can get used to seeing it before you attempt to put it on her. After those few days have passed, you should let your cat rub up against the harness so she can gradually get used to how it feels against her fur.

Next, you should encourage her to actually wear the harness around your house. When she seems comfortable, you should attach the leash and practice walking around from room to room. Be sure to praise your cat and give her a few tasty treats to reward her for prancing around in her new harness.

What Should You Do If Your Finicky Feline Freaks Out?
Surprised that your furry friend didn’t love his first adventure in the great outdoors? Just be patient and remember that cats don’t take to harnesses and leashed walks in the same way that dogs do. Some cats may need some time to adjust to this new concept, while others may never get the hang of it. But don’t get yourself in a tizzy if your cat snubs the idea of a leashed walk. There are plenty of ways your pet can exercise while indoors.

For instance, cat climbers and jungle gyms give your pet the chance to stretch his legs, jump, leap, bound and scurry upwards in ways that mimic climbing a tree. You can even make your own cat tree! If you’re feeling crafty, you should check out 7 DIY Cat Tree Projects. You can also schedule in routine play time every day. Just break out the toys and treats, get down to your kitty’s level and pounce away.

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.


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.•

What Is Your Dog Telling You?

They may not use words, but dogs say a lot more than we realize with their body language.

Though dogs have been our best friends for tens of thousands of years, they still read us far more skillfully than we read them.

My first dog, Mercy, was a border collie mix whose body could convey an epic narrative—especially when she was in the dog park communicating at once with dozens of her kind. I soon began to wonder just what they were all saying. Their gestures were obviously dense with meaning. At times, a nearly invisible movement by another dog would change Mercy’s course dramatically: She would bend into a play bow, or stiffen in alarm, or look away as if hoping that the dog enthusiastically eyeing her would suddenly forget she existed. Often he would.

Watching those intricately choreographed ballets of intention in the park, I realized that to each other, dogs speak loud and clear. Humans, by contrast, have real trouble deciphering their language. Though dogs have been our best friends for tens of thousands of years, they still read us far more skillfully than we read them.

We tend to think that dogs have relatively little to say because they don’t speak our language, but we are too focused on speech: Witness the tourist hoping to be understood by repeating a request ever more slowly and loudly, or the dog being scolded “Come here!” as he runs merrily away. Dogs are constantly asking us to listen, just not with our ears.

The language of dogs is primarily visual, enacted with their bodies. They speak with the direction of their gaze, the tilt of their tails, the distance they keep and the arc of their movement. Canine language is rich for the same reason ours is: We are both social, cooperative species.

Remaining ignorant of our companions’ modes of expression is not only a frustrating limit on our mutual sympathy. It is also dangerous for us and for them. Some 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year, many of them children (for those 4 and under, most of the bites are to the face and neck).

Dogs are generally quite adept at telegraphing warnings, so it’s our job to learn to read them better. This is also in their interest, since “behavior problems”—often the result of misunderstood canine expressions—are a leading reason that owners have to surrender or euthanize their dogs.

So what are dogs trying to tell us?

It’s all in the ears, tail and body.

The baseline posture of a relaxed dog includes having ears up and tail down. In an alert, often transitional, posture, the tail is held straight behind, the ears go forward, and the entire carriage raises. A fearful or anxious dog tucks his tail, lowers his body and pulls back the corners of his mouth. If his hackles (the hairs along the back of his neck) are raised and his nose wrinkled, he is saying he just might bite if pressed further.

Similarly, the dog whose tail is stiff and wagging slowly (not all wagging denotes pleasure), with ears forward and carriage following suit, may be announcing imminent attack. If he freezes, pupils dilated and staring hard, he is to be taken at his word: Watch out.

Some dogs growl before biting and some don’t; the canine body speaks louder than the voice. That is why dogs whose tails are docked or ears cropped lose some of their linguistic fluency. And it’s why some of our grooming choices, such as the poodle’s topknot, cause trouble when they are misread by other dogs as heightened carriage.

They’re sorry, in many different ways.

For the same reason that Eskimos purportedly have 50 different words for snow, dogs have a vast repertoire of gestures for appeasement and propitiation. The Norwegian dog trainer Turid Rugaas has identified some 30 “calming signals”—movements offered to deflect trouble (which may also relieve stress in both giver and receiver). Supremely subtle, sometimes so quick we don’t notice them, these appeasing signals include a flick of the tongue; turning the head or gaze away; suddenly sniffing the ground or sitting; yawning; shaking off; or approaching on a curve.

Please skip the hugs.

For a dog, what comes naturally to us primates when we overflow with affection feels like a threat. The desire to hug is one of the hardest reflexes for us to overcome, but reaching across a dog’s neck is an act of intimidation. He may tolerate it, but he doesn’t like it.

Like many dog owners, I do it anyway, but I’m always watchful: My current dog, Nelly, flashes her tongue to her nose or looks away during a hug, subtle but unequivocal responses to what she views as aggression. When strangers bend over dogs or reach out to pat their heads, or when children latch on to their necks—or stare into their eyes, another threatening gesture—many dogs will react with a volley of appeasements. If these go unheeded, they may feel forced to defend themselves. This is often why small children get bites to their faces, conveniently presented at muzzle level. Viral Internet photos to the contrary, it is not cute when toddlers lie on top on dogs or pull their ears; it is a lit fuse.

That’s not a guilty look.

The jury is still out on whether dogs experience guilt or shame, but chances are that “the look” popularly ascribed to a dog who has done something wrong is actually fear or anxiety prompted by the expectation of anger from the owner. Things commonly punished by us—“stealing” food, urinating on the rug—are hardly immoral to a creature whose values are so different from ours. The furrowed brow, half-moon eyes, slinky posture and lowered head of the canine “wrongdoer” are not an apology; they are signs of stress or requests to desist.

They love you too. My dog, and probably yours, has a special way of greeting those she loves: I call it helicopter-tail. (Nelly’s earsplitting screams of joy are peculiar to her.) Other signs of happiness are unmistakable and easier to read by humans than many of dogs’ other communications: a “rocking-horse” run, as vertical as it is forward; the greeting stretch (followed by “pretty please” front paws on your leg); the C-shaped body bend—the better to maneuver a butt for that all-pleasing scratch—and the smile.

Yes, dogs do smile. No translation needed.

—Ms. Pierson is the author, most recently, of “The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs Learn” (W.W. Norton).

Functional Fitness for Older Adults: 5 Essential Movements

Functional Fitness is a term you hear more often in recent years, especially in reference to fitness training for older adults. But don’t worry, just because it’s a new term, doesn’t mean it’s one more thing you have to make time for in your day. Functional fitness is all about training your body for life, rather than for a specific sport or for a certain esthetic appearance. It’s especially helpful for older adults because it addresses muscle imbalances and asymmetries, and it trains your body to move in the ways we move in everyday life.

There are five basic movement patterns that we use in everyday life. Let’s look at each movement and how we can train to improve that movement pattern.

1. Bend-and-lift movements.
In the gym we call it squatting, in everyday life it’s getting in and out of a chair or squatting down to lift a bag of groceries from the floor. Bend and lift movements require strength in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, but also plenty of stability in the core, and flexibility in the knees and ankles.

2. Single-leg movements.
You’ll often train single leg movements in the gym with a variety of lunging movements. In real life, single-leg movements are called for when you walk, when you climb or descend stairs, or when you bend and reach forward on one leg to get something from the floor. Like the bend-and-lift movements, single-leg movements require combined strength, stability and flexibility with an added element of balance over a changing center of gravity.

3. Pushing movements.
Pushing movements typically involve your upper body pushing forward (opening a store door) pushing overhead (putting an object on a high shelf) or pushing to the side (lifting your torso from a side-lying position). In your workout you can train for pushing movements with pushups, overhead presses or side planks.

4. Pulling movements.
Pulling movements in your activities of daily living might include pulling the car door shut, pulling the sheets down from the top shelf of the linen closet, or pulling your suitcase off the floor. In your workouts you’ll train for pulling movements by developing core stability, strength in your back and shoulders, stability in your shoulder blades and flexibility in your shoulders.

5. Rotational movements.
Your thoracic spine rotates with every step you take and any time you swing a golf club or tennis racket. Any time you reach across your body or twist through the spine, you’re engaging in a rotational movement. This complex movement pattern requires a great deal of core stability and strength to support the spine during the rotational motion.
You can certainly train each muscle for strength and endurance in isolation, but functional fitness trains muscles and joints to work together during complex movement patterns involving multiple muscles and joints at once. It’s how we move every day, and training your body to move well can improve how you feel every day.

RESEARCHED BY : KÁTIA C. ROWLANDS – Pilates Instructor– 082 513 4256