Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The walk in progress

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Emergency Services on standby

People waiting for the walk to start
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Cancer walk for life

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Cancer Rellay for Life

Surviving Cancer
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Monday, December 15, 2008

[Fwd: FW: accommodation available over CHRISTMAS]



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: FW: accommodation available over CHRISTMAS
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 09:54:31 +0200
From: Advantage Tours & Charters <advantage@zululink.co.za>
To: 'Advantage Tours & Charters' <advantage@zululink.co.za>


 



 

 

From: Advantage Tours & Charters [mailto:advantage@zululink.co.za]
Sent: 15 December 2008 09:52 AM
To: 'Advantage Tours & Charters'
Subject: accommodation available over CHRISTMAS

 

HALLO ALMAL!

 

Andre has accommodation available from 23 – 26 December for 4 people at R650-00p/night –

Please phone Andre on 0825611571

 

BLESSED CHRISTMAS WISHES...!

Warm Regards
Riëtte Bennett
St.Lucia Tours & Charters t/a Advantage Cruiser CC
e-mail: 
advantage@zululink.co.za

web :    www.advantagetours.co.za

Tel   :  035 5901259

Fax  : 035 5901053

Cell  : 083 487 2762
Box 151, St Lucia,South Africa 3936
1 McKenzie Street,  St Lucia 3936, ** corner of Dolphin Supermarket  , the very first information office as you enter the town of St Lucia after crossing the bridge , at the traffic circle find parking immediately on the right (next to PEP stores) **

our GPS co-ordinates are :: S28 22. 335 E32 24. 773   ....St Lucia Village South Africa

 

 

CONTACT US FOR THE FOLLOWING :

 

WHALE WATCHING ( the only legal permit holder currently in KwaZulu Natal ), HIPPO & CROC BOAT CRUISES ( aboard the luxurious ADVANTAGE CRUISER ), DEEPSEA BIG GAME FISHING, iMFOLOZi /HLUHLUWE GAME RESERVE TRIPS, CAPE VIDAL SNORKEL SAFARIS, TURTLE TOURS, OCEAN ADVENTURE for DOLPHINS and other MARINE MAMMALS , HORSE RIDING , KAYAKING , etc . with experienced skipper/guides Danie, Bien and Berno and lady skipper/guides Riëtte Bennett and Natasha.

 

**PLEASE ALWAYS INFORM US IN GOOD TIME ABOUT GUIDE CHANGES and cell contact numbers - ** GUIDES TO DOUBLE CHECK ON DEPARTURE TIMES 24HOURS AHEAD OF TIME

 

Cancellation Policy :

In the event of notification of cancellation, the following cancellation fee shall apply on the full booking :

 

Less than  3 days prior to arrival: 100% cancellation fee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RSG en SATSA vs Beach Driving

It is sad that people hide behind conservation when it comes to Beach Driving. This is the most profitable source of tourism in South Africa. It is more productive and has a higher hield than Sugar Cane farming. It distributes funds more evenly than any BEE enterprise  yet to be set up.

The beach area at St. Lucia is void of sea live due to Sugar Cane Farming in and around iMfolozi flood area. To say that Sea Turtles are effected by Beach Driving is a lie. During the hight of beach driving north of Cape Vidal, this area was the only place in the world with an increase in turtle nesting sites. Sea Turtles nest are above the high water mark and 4x4 vehicles drive in the inter tidal zone.

The only life in this zone is bulia  snails and they survive in the glassy zone. This has no relevance to beach driving.  The inter-tidal zone is the area above the low water mark and below the high water mark. The sand displacement in this area is beyond comprehension.

Any body claiming that the 3000 km coast line of South Africa can not be utilized in some places for beach driving is blatant ignorant or promoting their own agenda like mining or coastal developments. This is not constitutional and a misuse, no an abuse of power and knowledge.


by Petrus Viviers
0835847473

Sunday, December 14, 2008

iMflozi River still flowing

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Mouth still close

Altough the iMfolozi River has breached at Mphelani it is not running wide and St. Lucia mouth is still closed.
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iMfolozi River in flood

Good rain brought the river into flood.
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

[Fwd: FW: Accommodation for December]



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: FW: Accommodation for December
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 12:34:50 +0200
From: Advantage Tours & Charters <advantage@zululink.co.za>
To: 'Advantage Tours & Charters' <advantage@zululink.co.za>


 


From: Shelley Klomfass [mailto:info@sunsetstlucia.co.za]
Sent: 03 December 2008 12:25 PM
To: Maputaland Guest House; Advantage Tours & Charters; heritage Tours & Safaris
Subject: Accommodation for December

 

Hi everyone,

Just a quick email to let you know i have a 2 sleeper chalet available from the 20th to the 28th of December available @R795 per day for the chalet.

Please forward to the B & B's for me.

Thank you

Regards Shelley

SUNSET LODGE – 035 5901197 -

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Elephantcoast.co.za - ADSL SAIX.Net

For almost four months Telkom SA ADSL users could not see
www.elephantcoast.co.za and www.isimangaliso.co.za or
www.forafrica.co.za. We are in consultation with Telkom and the problem
should be resolved soon. This will help The Graeter St. Lucia era with
marketing and hopefully all the products we created at For Africa will
be working now.

Please feel free to use these products at www.forafrica.co.za -
www.forafrica.co.za/fishing - www.forafrica.co.za/submit

We will gladly add a Blogs for Clubs free of charge

Enjoy al these new toys.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fishing from jetty

Anglers soaking up fresh vitamen D.
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St. Lucia Estuary Healthy

After recent rains the water levels of the estuary is much higher and boats can be launched for estuary fishing.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Whale Watching for Friday - 28/11/08

 Whale Watching for Friday is almost fully booked for the first trip, we’ve got a 2nd trip departing at 07h15

SATURDAY is also beautiful weather , calm seas and light surf, so conditions ideal to go whale watching- we’re trying to get the 05h30 trip full before we’ll start a next trip as always -

 
With SUMMER starting we’ve had a large amount of other additional marine mammal sightings – dolphins in large schools, whale sharks, sea turtles, flying fish, and other species of shark –

 
Keep in touch if you have any interested clientele -

 

Warm Regards
Riëtte Bennett
St.Lucia Tours & Charters t/a Advantage Cruiser CC
e-mail: 
advantage@zululink.co.za

web :    www.advantagetours.co.za

Tel   :  035 5901259

Fax  : 035 5901053

Cell  : 083 487 2762
Box 151, St Lucia,South

Friday, November 21, 2008

[Fwd: FW: Vacancies at Lai La Log Cabins for December]



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: FW: Vacancies at Lai La Log Cabins for December
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2008 14:11:24 +0200
From: Advantage Tours & Charters <advantage@zululink.co.za>
To: 'Advantage Tours & Charters' <advantage@zululink.co.za>


 

 

 

Hallo Everybody

 

Lai La Log Cabins has still got empty units available for the December season , so if you’re fully booked and you want to refer people her way please phone Rita on 035 – 590 1276

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

St. Lucia Fishing 22 - 24 November 2008

St. Lucia Estuary Water Levels
With all the rain and the iMfolozi River flowing water levels in The Estuary is high. With more rain comming before the weekend and with last quarter of the moon fase over this weekend it just might be a nice fishing weekend.
 
Fish early in the morning at St. Lucia beaches or miday in front of the ski-boat club. Late Afternoons from the view point or new beach. Markers #4 and #6 will also be good spots.
 

Bait:
Sardine - Silver Bullet or Pencil Bait
Mole Crab - Fresh and secure with cotton
Prawn - On small #1 or 1/0 hook light tackle in foamy water (live bait)
Live Bait
Use Live Bait on slider and with grapnel sinker
 

Sunny Shores
310 McKenzi Street
St. Lucia
 
For the Hungry Angler we have 1/2 Bunny or Curry and Rice only R25.00
 
Freshly Baked Pies Daily

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blogging For Money

SafariNow Affiliate Program Overview AFFILIATE PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Welcome to the SafariNow.com Affiliate Programme. You can earn money from your website by providing your customers with Africa's leading accommodation reservation solution.

Simply read on, sign-up and start earning!

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Things at For Africa

 Travel Destinations and Holiday Accommodation
Internet Services
 
The mother ship, For Africa has some adtional functions added. We now host a bigger better Fishing section.
 
Brag Bag
Anglers, their friends or families can add fishing stories with Photo's to the Site by filling this form. These  submissions are subject to moderation. Keep the submissions to the topic. Anything about Angling, Fishing or Boating and the relevant products or sales regarding these topics are acceptable.
 
Events
Any one can submit events related to Fishing, Boating or Fishing Retail outlets with this form. 
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Water Levels stabelising

With recent rains the water levels in the iMfolozi River has risen dramatically. This means that water restrictions will be lifted in the near future. Although with more rain falling in the catchments areas of the River, it could mean that the iMfolozi River will break trough into the ocean again. The current hydraulic pressure will be lost in such a scenario and the inflow of water into the Estuary from the River will seize.
 
All back pressure to keep water in the River upstream will be lost and once again all the potential tap water will run into the sea again. Good or bad this is the natural cycle and humans have to adapt around this conditions. The down side of this is restriction on development and this restric's the flow of five star tourism. With the increase of Five Star tourism more development is needed an a greater pressure is added to the environment and the life span of the planet.
 
Sometimes mans footprint on earth is just to deep for nature to survive.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Maywood Nursery - Christmas Special 2008


All Specials or news can be send to info@stlucia.org.za to be displayed on this Blog...

TOURS over Christmas

Hallo Everybody

 We ARE still doing WHALE WATCHING at the moment, this morning's trip saw between 3 and 5 Humpback Whales per trip  - mother and calf pairs.

 Please keep this e-mail somewhere to refer back to  -

 From the 20th of December till the 3rd of January we will be doing extra trips to accommodate all clientele.

 Hippo / Croc departures for those two weeks will be 09h00, 11h00 , 13h00, 15h00 and 17h00, thereafter in January we'll be back on 10h00, 12h00, 14h00 and 16h00.

 Maybe it's a good idea to advise  some people to do the 09h00-11h00 trip daily, then it gives the first half of sunbathers a chance to burn themselves to smithereens at Vidal, and then by mid-day other clients can take leisurely drive to Vidal and through the Park, and return before the gates close at 19h00. Fortunately we have longer daylight hours.


ON CHRISTMAS DAY WE HAVE NO STAFF so no tours will be going out on the 25th of DECEMBER.

On the 26th of December we're ( all the boats in town ), are waiting for approximately 150pax from the passenger liner in the harbor, they will be taking up all the mid- morning trips, but we will be able to accommodate your clientele on the 09h00, 15h00 and 17h00 trips.

Please ask all clientele to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Please do not make any bookings if you're not 100% sure that your client will pitch at the activity, as again no day goes by without some kind of no show at either one of the activities, I'm pretty sure you won't be happy if we constantly ask to keep rooms and there is constant no shows – I know I'm irritating when it comes to this issue, and I apologize for this in advance, but speaking to other ''activity'' operators in town, they seem to have the same problem. Please accept responsibility of paying for the ticket that you booked the tour for. (( **again 99% of the lodges who deal with us, respect us mutually and don't do ''no-show'' bookings, but one or two of the places we have the same problem with frequently** ))….sorri…..☺…..we will insist that clients come and pay else we can't keep their seats...please from now on when you phone to make a booking give us a ticket number to put next to the booking.

WE WILL BE DOING HIPPO / CROC TOURS on the 1st of JANUARY, BUT NO OCEAN trips, as we're not prepared to put our lives at risk like last year on the beach on New Year's Day, no rescues will also be done by us on the 1st of January, last year WE were almost killed by the intoxicated bathing public after trying to save people out of the ocean.

 From about the 1st week in December  - the whales migrate back to their feeding grounds, they are drained, hungry, starved, anorexic after an entire season in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean with no krill to feed on, their calf's have sucked them dry ( he he ) – then we'll be starting the 2 hour MARINE MAMMAL OCEAN ADVENTURE as with the flying fish, turtles, whale sharks, sharks, and dolphins there's still lots to see and people enjoy the 2hours on the ocean. ADVANTAGE will also start DEEP SEA FISHING again from the 1st week in December, so if you have keen fisherman you can give us a call, BERNO the BUSHMEN, our eager fisher-whale-guide will be steering the fishing boat out daily. Our Deep Sea Fishing rate for December will be R660-00p.p and the Ocean Marine Mammal Tour staying on R350-00p.p

Please keep in touch and let me know if there is any concerns or questions –


 

********Sandy just popped into the office to bring a carrot cake, she's the lady from Monzi who always bake those nice chocolate and carrot cakes – for a long while she hasn't been baking anymore , but she's back into baking, and if you'd like to order cakes please phone her directly on 082 899 1009 ******* ( she asked me to pass this message on, she delivers in St Lucia on a Friday )


 

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY EMPTY ROOMS IN DECEMBER, AS OUR PHONE IS RINGING OFF THE HOOK FOR ACCOMMODATION, ESPECIALLY FROM THE 20TH TILL AFTER NEW YEAR…..


 

HIPPO  / CROC rates increase on the 1st of January annually with R10-00p.p in ticket price, so please don't forget about this and write the incorrect amount on the tickets.


 

Have a Stunning Day...!

Warm Regards
Riëtte Bennett
St.Lucia Tours & Charters t/a Advantage Cruiser CC
e-mail: 
advantage@zululink.co.za

web :    www.advantagetours.co.za

Tel   :  035 5901259

Fax  : 035 5901053

Cell  : 083 487 2762
Box 151, St Lucia,South Africa 3936
1 McKenzie Street,  St Lucia 3936, ** corner of Dolphin Supermarket  , the very first information office as you enter the town of St Lucia after crossing the bridge , at the traffic circle find parking immediately on the right (next to PEP stores) **

our GPS co-ordinates are :: S28 22. 335 E32 24. 773   ....St Lucia Village South Africa

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Updated News - 02 November 2008

PRETTY much WHALES this last couple of weeks, again like I said 2/3 weeks ago hardly a day goes by that we don't see at least one mother-and-calf pair.

 

Bonuses lately is lost of dolphins, and even the odd pair of male-female loggerhead turtles ''making babies'' in the ocean before coming ashore shortly to come lay eggs. Weather conditions have been awesome , we either have full day winds and then cannot operate at all, or otherwise we're blessed with long wind still days.

 Please again understand that we won't be taking any bookings if people don't come and pay, there is just too many people that book seats and don't pay and don't pitch – and our policy remains first come first serve, if any agent/guesthouse expects us to keep a seat, that agent/guesthouse will be held responsible for the payment if their client booked don't pitch.

 ( Annemarie, remind me to tell the staff to bring you the beautiful swimming turtle photo we have )

 Hippo and Croc Tours are very busy this time of the year with tour groups – so please make sure to book individuals early to avoid disappointment – we do apologise for certain days that we're fully booked and can't accommodate your pax, specially when we're waiting for those passenger liners in the harbor to bring 200pax that fills all the boats – but remember you're support is precious and appreciated and it's fortunately only a couple of days that we have these huge groups.

Riëtte Bennett
St.Lucia Tours & Charters t/a Advantage Cruiser CC
e-mail: 
advantage@zululink.co.za

web :    www.advantagetours.co.za

Tel   :  035 5901259

Fax  : 035 5901053

Cell  : 083 487 2762
Box 151, St Lucia,South Africa 3936
1 McKenzie Street,  St Lucia 3936, ** corner of Dolphin Supermarket  , the very first information office as you enter the town of St Lucia after crossing the bridge , at the traffic circle find parking immediately on the right (next to PEP stores) **

our GPS co-ordinates are :: S28 22. 335 E32 24. 773   ....St Lucia Village South Africa


Water Crisis
 

Umkhanyakude District Municipality wishes to inform and alert the residents of the following areas that the Umfolozi River has dried up which resulted in the shortage of water to: 

  • St Lucia
  • Kwamsane
  • Dukuduku
  • Mtubatuba
  • Undlovu
  • Khula Village
  • Monzi
  • Nordale
  • Riverview

 

Communities in the above mentions areas are advised that water tankers and ''Jojo'' tanks will be supplied by the District Municipality at key areas with immediate effect.

 The Municipality appeals to the public to be patient and be co-operative during these truing times.

 Emergency number – 035 573 1100

 The Hon. Mayor Cllr. LM Mtombeni


SERENE-ESTATE GUESTHOUSE

SERENE-ESTATE GUESTHOUSE

A guesthouse what is totally different regarding architecture and exclusivity. Minimalistic with a warm athmosphere. Big luxuroury rooms (50m2 each), a fantastic view into the garden and Park with all the birds and animals, silence, a beautiful large swimmingpool and warm Dutch hospitality.
Read More
Accommodation Type Guest House
Room Pricing
  • Per Person Sharing from R420 to R550
  • Special Deal: Up to15% Discount 
    Terms:We have just opened our newly built unique and very exclusive guesthouse That's why we offer you a room (incl. breakfast) for R 420.00 p.p.p.n. sharing . A single room supplement R 100.00 Offer Valid from 01 August 08 until 01 December 08. Terms and Conditions apply.
    Location: St Lucia, Zululand, Elephant Coast, KwaZulu-Natal, Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, South Africa, Africa
     
     

    Discovering Adam and Eve’s Playground

    Sodwana beach
    Sodwana beach

    Samango monkeys clamber in the treetops
    Samango monkeys clamber in the treetops

    Location Greater St Lucia Wetland Park  
    Author Samantha Black
      View more articles by Samantha
    Submitted 23 Jun 2008

    Discovering Adam and Eve's Playground

    St Lucia – top eco destination in South Africa

    The Elephant Coast in KwaZulu Natal, embraced by the warm Indian Ocean, the Umfolozi River and Mozambique is one of South Africa's most beautiful and unspoiled travel destinations. It is a perfect destination for everyone - be it for the sensitive ecologist, the great outdoors fan or the happy camper sitting on the boulders at Mission Rock sporting his hook, line and sinker. At the heart of this heaven-on-earth is a popular holiday village with a saint-like name - St. Lucia, the only private village surrounded by a Natural World Heritage Site (iSimangaliso / Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park). 

    Adam and Eve and their pet hippos

    St. Lucia is an eco-tourism Mecca, and centre point to an incredible 21 different eco-systems. Adam and Eve's playground lures with dense evergreen forests of towering fig trees, a lush undergrowth of ferns and wild orchids hanging from the trees. Palm savannahs with thousands of wild date and Lala palms dot the white sand, and swamp forests are home to myriads of exotic birds. A paradise in which you would expect our biblical ancestors to have had their own pet hippos! But beware, the hippos' laid back yawn hides a force not to be messed with!

    A safe way of getting up close and personal and tickle their incisors is a trip down the estuary on one of the river touring boats such as the Advantage. This luxurious passenger ferry was custom built to venture into shallow waters – you might even be able to inspect a croc's 66 pointy teeth!

    We boarded the ferry for the sundowner tour on a beautiful late summer's evening, arguably the best time to visit the Greater Wetlands, when mosquitoes are few, but Gin and Tonics still flow. The first 12 km upstream passed with great anticipation, alas with not much else to do than getting the camera lenses ready and the glasses full. Soon enough though our captain spotted the first herd of river horses and the crowd on board shifted dangerously to the very lee of the boat! The imbalance was easily taken care of by the captain's next heart-beating announcement: crocodiles on the shores under the mangrove trees, at three o'clock! And a few meters away from the ancient reptile, there was a Kudu busy eyeing us out, while a Giant Kingfisher was perched watchfully in the tree above - picture perfect.

    Crocodile smile
    Crocodile smile

    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    For the birds

     

    September 26, 2008

    Zululand
    OBSERVER
     

     

    For the birds

    Zululand bird guide - Michael Blose explains the Zululand birding routes to an interested birder at the British Bird Fair

    BirdLife SA's stall at the British Bird Fair was usually swamped - a good indicator of the huge number of foreign birders interested in what South Africa offered

    Tanya Waterworth

    LOCAL Zululand bird guides got a taste of the international avi-tourism market when they visited two overseas birding fairs.
    Making his first trip overseas, Zululand Birding Route's Manager, Michael Blose, said the trip was unforgettable as they met birders from around the world at the famous British Bird Fair and the Dutch Bird Fair.
    Held in Rutland Water, the British Bird Fair is recognised as the biggest gathering of birders in the world.
    With Zululand boasting a high concentration of sought-after sightings and a wide diversity in habitats, Blose said there was a 'noticeable interest' in birding destinations in South Africa by visitors to both birding fairs.
    'South Africa is definitely high on the radar screen when it comes to avi-tourism, competing against destinations such as Kenya and Uganda,' he said.
    He added that the Dutch Bird Fair attracted a lot of family groups and younger birders.
    This was a move away from the traditional perception that avi-tourism only attracts the 50-plus age group market.

    Unique experience
    And the guides also thoroughly enjoyed their first experience of the United Kingdom and Europe.
    'The transport system in Amsterdam is excellent and there were lots of people everywhere.
    'It was also nice to see places that are relatively crime-free.
    'Cars just park on the side of the road as there is no real need for garages and we saw kids cycling around Amsterdam late at night,' he said.
    But the biggest highlight was meeting up with international birders who had visited Zululand.
    'It was great to bump into some of our clients who greeted us like old friends. Birding is all about connecting with nature and meeting people -it was an amazing experience,' he said.



     

    Water project splashes out

     

    September 26, 2008

    Zululand
    OBSERVER
     

     

    Water project splashes out

    Tanya Waterworth

    DONDOTHA community members danced with joy when taps were turned on for the first time following the official commissioning of a multi-million rand bulk pipeline project undertaken by uThungulu District Municipality in Mbonambi Municipality.
    Following months of anticipation, the taps were opened on the R11-million water project, which will benefit close to 130 000 people, at an average of eight people per 15 874 households.
    This 12km, 450mm diameter bulk pipeline will serve as a main artery leading from the Nseleni Water Works all the way to the Nomavovo area, which in effect means the pipeline will provide capacity for water to flow into Mbonambi and further to Ntambanana.
    Speaking at the launch held at Dondotha Community Hall, uThungulu District Mayor, Stan Larkan, said it was indeed a cause for celebration as this was one of the major projects on the district's budget.
    'This project has been a long journey for us and I wish to thank our community and the Mbonambi Municipality for their patience and support, as well as our councillors and officials for their untiring efforts to get this project running,' said Larkan.
    The Upper Nseleni Project did experience some problems, resulting in a delay in the delivery of water to the community, which according to the uThungulu technical team, was with regard to ensuring that the water supply was clean.
    'We want to make sure that if we provide service delivery to the community, it must be of the best quality,' said Executive Director Technical Services, Zwe Msomi.
    'The reason for the delay at Dondotha and Pathane was because the pipes had to be cleaned first to avoid health hazards,' he added.
    Msomi further assured the Mbonambi community that by November, all areas around Dondotha would have access to water with the Sabhuza Reservoir open and about 470 taps working.
    GB Bhengu, a member of the KZN Legislature, said it was 'unfortunate' that since 1994, communities from Dondotha and Nseleni were still facing problems of access to clean water and good toilets.
    'These are not the only areas affected, but many rural communities across KZN are still affected. About 61% of rural communities still do not have clean water and good toilets,' he said.


     

     

    RAIN RELIEF

     

    September 26, 2008

    Zululand
    OBSERVER
     
     

    RAIN RELIEF

    Larry Bentley

    RESIDENTS in the fire-stricken areas of Zululand have welcomed the rains which have fallen over the weekend, mostly on Saturday.
    In the Melmoth area, which was worst hit by fires a few weeks ago, the farms south of the town received 50mm, while Melmoth itself recorded 42mm and north of Melmoth 22mm.
    Another area recently in the news due to the dire water shortage, Gingindlovu, received 61mm, but unfortunately this is not enough to relieve the situation and residents are urged to still conserve water.
    eShowe and Ntumeni received between 80-60mm, mostly as a continuous drizzle which was welcomed in the burnt areas since it prevented soil erosion.
    As figures from further north came in, the rainfall dropped dramatically, with only 20mm being measured in the Hluhluwe area.
    Richards Bay measured 100mm over Friday and Saturday, while Mtunzini recorded 85mm and Empangeni and Heatonville averaged 90mm.
    Farmers are hopeful that, although late, this will ease the dangerous fire conditions which have been prevalent over the last few weeks and will usher in the rainy season.
    KwaMbonambi, Port Durnford and Mtubatuba recorded 75mm, 95mm and 52mm respectively.



     

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    National Heritage Day - St. Lucia

    24 September 2008
     
    A somber windy day in the drought stricken Wetlands. St. Lucia Estuary where buzzing last knight, but this morning everything is grave quite. The streets are empty and the in the shops staff are chittering away about the changes in South African politics. Zuma, the Zulu, will bring much change tot his region once he is President. That is the general feeling of all the people here at grass roots level.
     
    With water restrictions running into dry tap the future of this coastal World Heritage looks bleak. A large water resovoir, pre or post treatment are badly needed. Maybe even a dam in the iMfolozi River or other management schemes are seriously needed attention. If The CEO being demoted KZN Wildlife are facing a batle for funding and this will even increase the burden futher on local comunities and the Wildlife assets of the province.
     
    Mkuze Game Reserve closed:
     
    Water shortage as a severe impact on the tourist destinations of Zululand and serious infra structure development and resource management are needed for this region. Dune mining at Richardsbay could be more detramental to the environment than Global warming, yet the people in charge of infrastracture development and tourist marketing are sitting on their hands.
     
    St. Lucia Mouth:
     
    Water water Every where?
    With not enough fresh water flowing into the Lake System, the opening of the mouth is not going to happen during the drought. iMfolozi was rechanelled into the Estuary system, but with the river bying dry bed at the moment, now in flow of fresh water are experienced. Everything is now depended on Mother nature. Good rainfalls in the upper Ulundi area and even as far west as Vryheid will help the system. With Cyclone season aprroaching we can expect a breaching of the Moth again in Early November 2008.
     
    Cape Vidal:
     
    Experiencing Eskom power supply due to stormy winds over the last week. Roads have been upgraded and much of the park have been opened up to the public, even small cars can access all the roads easily and four of the big 5 are to be viewed along these routs.

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    From: KZN Wildlife News Desk

    Hippo Management

    July 23, 2008;

    HIPPO MANAGEMENT
    Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) is the provincial agency mandated to manage nature/biodiversity conservation within the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is an agency that has a proud record of dedication to this purpose stretching back more than fifty years. The organization and its staff have come to realize that this mandate can produce situations that call for hard decisions and drastic action - usually with regard to situations involving actual or potential conflict between large and potentially dangerous game and humans.


    EKZNW has a very clear policy for dealing with problem animals and in particularly large and potentially dangerous game such as hippos. If such an animal cannot be driven back to its home range or captured it is destroyed before it becomes a threat to human life. From the very early days of this saga our staff monitored "the Verulam hippo" and its movements. It did not once present a safe opportunity either to catch or destroy it. There is also no explanation as to why hippos roam in this way - although a likely reason is that the animal had been evicted from its home range by a stronger herd bull. There is currently no viable way of preventing this sort of movement by hippos seeing as they usually move along waterways which are almost impossible to fence.


    Our experience with roaming hippos is such that we know it is wise to leave the animal alone as much as possible until it chooses a direction of travel. This animal, after being harassed at Ballito sought refuge north of Tinley Manor in very dense bush so thick that it was not safe to track it. We did in fact state at the time that we hoped that it would carry on northwards and return to its place of origin.


    EKZNW staff monitored the animal's movements constantly and had our game capture staff evaluating the situation both from the air and on the ground. These are men who are arguably amongst the most experienced in the game capture field in Africa if not globally –– and have an internationally acclaimed track record. Our experience in dealing with hippos goes back a long way indeed and over many years a great many methods of catching hippos have been tried with indifferent success. Using dart-injected drugs is seldom successful because the moment the dart hits the animal it flees to water which is its natural refuge. There the drug takes effect, the animal lapses into unconsciousness and drowns before it can be hauled out. In addition, there is, at this time, no safe, tried and tested immobilising drug combination that is effective on hippos. Using the drug combinations that makes rhino capture extremely successful places the life of the hippo at risk through its physical reaction to these drugs.


    The other, more successful method is by passive capture which only works for animals already settled in an enclosed body of water like a small pan or dam. This involves erecting an electrified fence around the pan, and putting up a massively built steel enclosure with a trap door at the entrance. Lucern and hay is placed inside the trap and as the animals consume the natural fodder around the pan they begin to feed into the trap. It can take weeks before the animals venture into the trap and the door can be triggered. This does not work for a roaming single animal and certainly was not appropriate in the situation involving the ""Verulam hippo" that was in a river impossible to seal off.


    A hippo is not an animal to be trifled with and of all the big game animals of Africa it has the reputation for causing the most human deaths. It must also be understood that this animal was in a very stressful and foreign environment. Hippos do enter the sea occasionally but not willingly and at Ballito this animal certainly was not surfing as many media reports indicated, and which gave the impression that the animal was having fun. This animal was being harassed by people, dogs, vehicles and aircraft, disturbances which ( in their protected area environment) they are normally not exposed to. Under these conditions hippos become very unpredictable, irritable and extremely dangerous. It is also highly unlikely that anyone who has no experience in hippo capture nor has access to heavy enough and appropriate equipment will succeed in catching one. An amateur capture operation will not only place at risk the lives of those directly involved but also those of innocent people in the vicinity. Such an attempt is also quite likely to have a seriously negative environmental impact on the area in which the capture is attempted. We are, after all, talking about an animal that weighs up to one and half tonnes, is immensely powerful, fast, very aggressive and is armed with a fearful array of tusks which it has no compunction about using.
    At no stage was capture a viable option in the case of the ""Verulam hippo", and EKZNW took the decision some time ago to destroy the animal before human lives were further threatened. It moved into a settled area at Verulam before this decision could be implemented. When the animal moved onto eThekweni Municipality land management of the situation passed to the eThekweni Municipality although EKZNW did agree to advise and support them where necessary. The eThekweni Municipality appointed a professional hunter to destroy the hippo and was also responsible for disposing of the carcase which was buried in one of the municipal dumps.


    Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife sent two experienced members of staff as observers and as a back-up. Three shots from heavy calibre rifles were fired at the hippo which ran about 40 metres and disappeared into the river. A search using spotlights showed no sign of the animal which in itself was an indication that the animal was dead. Had it been wounded it would have been visible. At dawn the carcase of the animal was found at the same spot at which it had entered the river. This indicated that it had died within minutes of being shot. It was later found that one bullet had hit the animal in the heart. It is not uncommon for large animals to run a short distance after being heart-shot.
    Critics might well say that EKZNW did not explore enough options but it must be understood that to begin experimenting with capture techniques when a large, powerful and aggressive animal is in the midst of a human settlement is not wise practice. It is also necessary to evaluate the physical impact of these operations on the immediate environment. The EKZNW Game Capture Unit has a long history of innovation with regard to animal capture and has been experimenting with various methods of catching hippos for many years. To date the most successful method has been passive capture with its attendant limitations.


    Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has received numerous emails and other messages from concerned citizens about this incident, and many opinions have been expressed in the various media. While the organisation appreciates the concern felt by the public, and respects people's right to express opinion, it must be emphasized that decisions taken in such situations are backed by knowledge, experience and understanding gained from similar occasions over time. EKZNW regrets that it was necessary to destroy this animal but does remind people that the organisation has a responsibility to the broader community in such circumstances.

    Drought closes Mantuma Camp

    September 16, 2008; Ron Physick

    Due to the extreme drought being experienced in Northern Zululand, the boreholes that supply water to Mantuma Camp in Mkhuze Game Reserve have dried up. With immediate effect the camp is being closed until further notice. All visitors that have bookings are being contacted to cancel their visit and, where possible, to be offered an alternative venue. Mshopi Campsite near the main gate in Mkhuze Game Reserve has also been affected and will also be closed until further notice.

    The public will be kept informed about the situation through this website. Please contact Central Reservations on 033 8451000 for further information.

    Water Water Every Where

    With the "dry spell" the Zululand coast is experiencing the Northern Section has been so dry that the town of St. Lucia Estuary has been with daily dry tap for weeks. This is not helped by the aggressive development and expansion of the little town. Guest Houses seems to be the most favourable choice for developers. This is all and all very scary since the Water Supply is not the only problem the town is facing.

    Eskom lines running through very sensitive wetlands and with the town only having one entrance, huge Eskom Pylons following the road leading to this world heritage site is not ideal. Further the problem of power extends to Eskom not being able to supply the countries power grid with sufficient power. St. Lucia Estuary also has major waste disposal problem and the sewerage works was last updated in the early 1990's.

    The sewerage pond system where designed with South African tourist target market. The evaporating pond system worked fine under the pressure of a hundred annual school holidays and the 250 days slow period. With World Heritage Status the market change and the tourist season is from August to February. Thus leaving almost no time for the evaporation system to function.

    Since the town is build on a very small piece of land between the Estuary and the ocean and considering the sandy soil it will not be easy solving the problem of Water, Sewerage and waste disposal. Water supply is about 30 km away and ideally waste disposal will have to be run to Mtubatuba also 30 km away. Sewerage works will have to be moved there as well and this will lead to a pipe line running through the same sensitive wetlands system as the Eskom power lines. Leakage on such a line is unstoppable.

    Development for St. Lucia Estuary is very bleak at the moment and the problems will prevail as long as nature is respected. Ironically the very thing that made this town famous are now threatened by the success the was born from it.