The groundwork done on establishing a registered nature reserve in the south-eastern buffer of the Magaliesberg Biosphere has been difficult. However, considerable progress has been made over the past four years.
Called the Crocodile River Reserve, it includes the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, plus large areas to the west and east of the Conservancy.
Landowners understandably want to know what the advantages and possible pitfalls are of signing up for a Nature Reserve. The CRR committee decided to investigate a similar initiative for perspective - the Dinokeng Game Reserve, north-east of Pretoria.
Dinokeng is the first free-roaming Big Five residential game reserve in Gauteng - possibly in the world - bordering an urbanized area. It is a private/public initiative for which planning and development started in the early 2000s. It was officially opened in September 2011 after the introduction of four of the Big Five. Buffalo were the last of the Big Five, introduced in late 2012.
To get an overview of Dinokeng’s process, ex-Reserve Manager, Jenny Stevens, has been invited to speak to CRR landowners. Jenny has been involved from the beginning, first as chairman of a local Landowners Association, followed by a two-year stint as Manager of Dinokeng. She can now look back to assess the pitfalls and the achievements. On Sunday 10 November she will be addressing landowners in the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy area - and beyond. Questions and concerns can be put on the table regarding the application for Nature Reserve status for the Crocodile River Reserve.
Jenny also has a B.Tech degree in Game Ranch Management and has years of experience in game issues.
You are invited:
Date: Sunday 10 November
Time: 14:30 for 15:00
Speaker: Jenny Stevens, Dinokeng Game Reserve
Venue: Idlewinds Conference Centre on the R511
Facts and Fantasies about Frogs - with Vincent Carruthers.
Do frogs know when it is going to rain? Now is the season for the emergence of frogs. But where have all the Bullfrogs gone? Why does a Platanna have “plat hande”? Do frogs give you warts?
Vincent Carruthers, known for his involvement with the Magaliesberg, is also an authority on frogs and can answer these questions!
Venue: Meerhof Lodge, Hartbeespoort Dam
Date: Saturday 26 October
Time: Starting at 18:00 with drinks, followed by dinner and the show.
Costs R150.00 pp (dinner and show)
Workshop: Make a paper mache piggy bank
Learn how to make boxes, ornaments, bangles and bowls from paper. Create your own Christmas presents!
Who can attend? Anybody - housewives, domestic workers, anyone wanting to learn a new skill. Or sponsor a jobless person!
Date: Tuesday and Wednesday, 19 and 20 November
Venue: The Sheds, off the Gemstones Road in Roodekrans
Facilitator: Petro Lemmer from the Cullinan Conservancy
Cost: R50 for two days. Bring “padkos” to share.
An initiative of the Crocodile River Reserve.
Country Market at Skyview Garage
Date: 1 December 2013
Time: 09:00 – 14:00
Place: Next to Skyview Garage on the R511 (near Hennops).
THEME OF THE DAY: “All about the Dog”. Bring your best friend for the breed parade, mutt croning, agility jumps, dog egg races and much more!
Learn about different breeds, ask our experts about behaviour issues and watch the rescue dogs strut their stuff!
STALLS: From Books to Beer, Plants to Food, Beads to Jewellery and many, many more handmade goodies, CHRISTMAS SHOPPING at its best! Book now for breed parade, stalls and games before its too late.
A Floral Christmas gift
Five hundred species of flowers! Wild Flowers of the Magaliesberg, by Kevin Gill, features the abundant floral treasures found in the region that stretches from Gauteng into North West Province.
“To make it easier to identify an unknown flower I have arranged the flowers in colour groups,” says Kevin. “I have included the scientific names: English, Afrikaans and Setswana common names. But for those people who find the scientific names too onerous, I have good news! In 1927 Marcus Woodward published a book: ‘How to enjoy Wildflowers’. His ‘recipe’ contained nine elements but the most important, he said was ‘of pleasure in the flower for its own sake. This is the essential essence.’”
A warm welcome to Liothrips tractabilis, even if the word is unpronounceable. This stem-galling thrips (another mouthful) is the new weed biocontrol agent that spells bad news for the hated Pompom weed (Campuloclinium macrocephalum) that has been invading our grasslands. Pompom seeds were brought from Brazil to South Africa many decades ago, presumably by a well-meaning, enthusiastic but ignorant gardener.
Since then it has devastated vast areas in South Africa and local landowners have spent tens of thousands of rands on herbicides and labour, combating this pretty pink flower which appreciative “townies” sometimes pick on the roadsides for their vases.
It takes years of careful experiments to find some “gogga” which will target a specific foreign invader only, without itself becoming another threat. The good news is that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) recently issued permits for the release of biological control agents against Pompom and four other invasive alien plants in South Africa.*
Now for the roll-out… Landowners are waiting in anticipation.
Thank you to the Agricultural Research Council-Plant Protection Research Institute’s Weeds Programme, where many of the control species were developed. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the release of the first weed biocontrol agent in South Africa.
* Pompom, Chromolaena, Parthenium, Yellow bells and Water hyacinth.
The VeldTalk office gets wild and wonderful requests. “I have three injured snakes. Can I release them in the Conservancy? (Yes.) “I am a hippo catcher - can I come and catch the hippo in your area?” (No!) “We want to get married in the veld - where is a good place?” (Ummm…) “We’d like to do a prayer hike - walk a distance and pray under a tree, then walk another stretch…” (Let’s see if we can find properly spaced trees…) “I’m writing a thesis on rock circles - do you have any?” (Yes, about eight.)
“An entire bakkie-load of snares and a dead Kudu!” Arno Brand was incensed. He was one of the organisers of a Snare Hunt in which Hennops River residents took part on 5 October. “If the current rate of snaring game continues there will soon be no game left in the area! More than 150 snares have been removed in the past couple of weeks.”
“The best Ride the Rhenoster ever!” On a crisp spring morning more than 200 mountainbikers set off on a new trail through the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy. Two routes were available - 40 km for the tough guys and a 20 km trail for the less brave.
Three male African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) were captured on 6 July in the Thabazimbi area in Limpopo. They were moved to a holding facility, fitted with special collars and released. Tracking the dogs’ movements, the collars took four readings per day.