Showing posts from September, 2018

Our Landscape’s story of hope on 50/50!

Conservation South Africa (CSA)’s Mike Grover, in collaboration with Bertus Louw told an authentic story about our landscape in a documentary which was aired on SABC’s 50/50 programme on 9 September 2018. The story, called “Healing through Herding “, takes a landscape lens and contemplates how, historically, the migration of herbivores in the landscape from the drier savannah to the escarpment areas during the dry season contributed to eco system health. These migrations were halted through the erection of fences on the western boundary of the Protected Area system. This impacted negatively on the vegetation and its productivity.  Through the eyes of Cliff, a K2C Herd Monitor from Dixie allocated to CSA, the ground-breaking work of CSA, as supported by the SANParks BSP bush thinning teams, were explained. This is a story of hope, where the reconciliation of three bottom lines of sustainability were told: The social, the ecological and the economic. The latter enabled through access to…

The K2C Nodal Centre is a Team

By Rachel Malemela and Karabo Chiloane K2C BR staff attended a team build outing to Bourke's Luck Potholes on 07 August 2018 as the guests of MTPA. All K2C projects, including GEF, EM and NRM participated in this fun day.  The K2C landscape has the most breath-taking features, including the Canyons, the Mariepskop Mountains and the freshwater systems leading us to choosing the theme of event. The theme of the day was to explore and learn more about Bourke's Luck Potholes in a fun-filled way.There were four groups that consisted of six people per team.Each group had an exercise where a questionnaire needed to be filled-in about the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. One of the questions was who was Bourke's Luck potholes named after. After the knowledge found on the Blyde river Canyon Nature Reserve, the K2C staff members visited the Leroro village for an African cuisine meal. The traditional food included the following, Samp, Mageu, Tribe, Chicken feet and Mopani worms. “It…

Celebrating Women’s Month

By MT Uys

On 9 August the Mnisi Tribal Authority invited the K2C Nodal Centre to participate in the Tribe’s Women’s’ Day celebrations. The Tribe honoured the role that women are playing in building a cohesive resilient society. Representatives of Balule’s Black mamba al women anti-poaching unit shared with the audience the importance of women being connected to the environment as custodians of the well-being of our people.

Working together to care for our communities and save the environment

By Vulani Mabiunda The Sefapane Fund’s EcoKidz Programme together with the TUI Care Foundation support 1 550 primary school learners from grades five, six and seven in villages around the Kruger National Park in South Africa.  These learners receive education on nature and conservation with the inputs of K2C EMs. In addition to school-based learning on nature and conservation, 400 children are selected to visit the Kruger National Park each year for a two-day adventure camp that the Sefopane Fund offer as part of the educational programme and 1000 learners going on day field trips. Despite living within a few miles of the park, these children`s families can rarely afford to visit the park. Many of them are now given the opportunity to see giraffes, rhinos, wildebeest and other animals. The learners learn about Africa’s flora and fauna and the importance of preserving and respecting the natural environment around their community. The project has gathered great support from the local co…

The K2C Challenge – Trail Running connecting People and Nature

By Lazaro Sibaya On 14 and 15 July, the K2C Team supported KZN Trail runners to host one of the most challenging events on the national Trail running event: The K2C Trail run.
On the first day, the runners ran from Franklin Park to Mariepskop and the second day in the Blue Canyon reserve at the foothills of the Escarpment. This annual event truly symbolises the links between the three biomes in Biosphere: the savannah, the grasslands and the Afro Montane forests and markets our landscape as a niche tourism destination.
Lazaro Sibaya, EM Programme was one of the runners that represented the K2C. “Running is my hobby. It gives me physical and mental strength. I started running with a dream to run the Comrades marathon. My dream became true when I ran my first comrades in 2017 which I finished in 11:42:44 time – big achievement for a Novice. I went on training hard to improve my qualifying time for better seeding. Shortly after joining K2C this year I went for my second comrades in June, w…

SANParks BSP teams are making a huge impact to combat the spread of Parthenium

By Priscilla Hlongwane Parthenium is a dreaded alien that grows luxuriantly on roadsides, playgrounds, agricultural areas and residential plots. Seeds are spread by animals, movement of vehicles, wind and water. Seeds can remain in the soil for many years and are capable of germinating anytime when there is moisture. Infestation is spreading at an alarming into the K2C Landscape.
The effects of Parthenium are: ·In human beings it causes: asthma, fever and burning and blisters around eyes. ·On crops: Parthenium acts as a collateral host for many diseases caused by viruses in crop plant. ·In animals (wildlife and livestock) it causes mouth ulcers which inhibits grazing The well-trained SANParks BSP teams is using a chemical method with the use of the herbicide glyphosate to eradicate this dreaded invasive. This method is very effective in controlling this weed because 15 days after spraying, it causes the complete eradication of Parthenium population.

Celebrating Mandela Day with the Mametja People in Maruleng

By Thembi Marshall The SANParks BSP K2C NRM Rehabilitation project celebrated Mandela day in Mabins village on the 18/07/2018. The teams collected 22 litter bags of waste surrounding Mabins village. This was to promote a clean and healthy environment in the village. Tresser Malepe and Sarah Nonyane (K2C EM’s) did an Environmental Waste Management awareness talk for the team to address environmental waste issues.  The K2C BR donated a 2 500L Jojo water tank that was donated to the Mametja Tribal Authority in the spirit celebration of Mandela day celebrations. The Mametja Chief received the Jojo tank on behalf of Mametja tribal authority. The donated tank will be used to store water for the Tribal office. 
“We value our partnership with SANParks BSP and the K2C.” Kgosi Mametja said.

Mariepskop Resource Study and Mapping

By Naki Mmposi and Nick Theron Mariepskop, adjacent to the Blyde River Canyon, is the highest point in the K2C BR at 1944m above sea level. Mariepskop supports a large diversity of life and has some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the Region. The Blyde River Canyon as well as the surrounding escarpment of the Northern Drakensberg is a region very popular with tourists and it has a well-developed tourism industry centred around the iconic panorama route that links to the Lowveld. The mountain temperatures vary in different parts depending on the altitude and the aspect of the sun with temperatures rapidly decreasing with an increase in altitude.  Mariepskop as part of Mpumalanga Drakensberg makes significant ecosystem service contributions, which underpin human wellbeing especially in terms of water security for downstream users. For example, the Klaserie River, a tributary of the Olifants and part of the Limpopo system has its source on Mariepskop.  Historically Mariepskop For…

Kukula Traditional Healers hosted and international learning exchange

By Dimakatso Nonyane On the 4TH of September 2018 Kukula Traditional Health Practitioners (THP) hosted a community2Community learning exchange at the Vukuzenzele Nursery in Thulamahashe.  The Learning exchange was organized by Natural Justice and GIZ. 20 Participants from different countries such as Morocco, Senegal, Benin, Niger, Togo and Madagascar took part in this experience. The main focus of this exercise was learning about Access and Benefit sharing, Traditional Knowledge and most importantly the revised Bio cultural protocol.    Louise Swemmer, from SANParks’ Scientific Services, gave a brief presentation on the Pepper Bark Tree project the park is currently running that engages with Traditional Healers who are residing adjacent to the Park. The day was a great success as our guests had lots of questions around the Biodiversity Community Protocol and how it made a difference to the Kukula THP as well as some challenges they may still encounter. One of the participants who was f…

It happened in August in Vhembi Biosphere

By Vusi Tshabalala Biodiversity has globally been identified as the cornerstone for economic growth and sustainable development. As one of the mega-biological diverse countries, South Africa has posed a challenge on itself to establish mechanisms in which its biodiversity can sustainably be used to contribute towards addressing the circle of the three economic ills facing South Africa i.e. unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Earlier this year the Department of Environmental Affairs together with the Department of Tourism and its ministers hosted the 3rdBiodiversity indaba at the ICC in East London. The Indaba focused on 3 biodiversity economy sectors such Eco-tourism, wildlife and bioprospecting/bio trade where these sectors have experienced noticeable growth over the years making a contribution to agricultural Growth Domestic Product (GDP) and employment statistics of the country.
Following the Indaba, the President of the country Cyril Ramaphosa, together with our Minister of Envi…

The Protected Areas in our landscaped are METTed

By Jen Newenham On the 24thand 25thJuly the K2C hosted a Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) Assessment training workshop as part of the GEF Protected Area (PA) Programme. The workshop was facilitated by members of the Game Rangers Association of Africa: Kevin McCann, Peter Chadwick and Greg Martindale. Both days were well attended by our PA partners in the K2C landscape which included wardens, ecologists or other representatives from LEDET, MTPA, and private reserves (including communal / co-managed areas), nearby or immediately adjacent to Kruger National Park. Section Rangers from KNP, whose sections are on the western boundary of KNP and who have protected area neighbours, also attended. The aims of the workshop were: 1. to introduce the METT (latest SA version 3a), to those not yet familiar with it as a tool to assist protected area management; 2. Ensure all reserves completing METT assessments, do so in the same manner and with the same level of rigour so that there is…

Empowered to screen documentaries and facilitate discussions on the three bottom-lines for sustainability topics

By Shoki Mafogo  On the 29th-31stAugust 2018, the K2C team in collaboration with STEPS coordinated a Facilitators workshop. The main objective of this training was to maximise the many ways in which our Environmental Monitors can use the sand mining documentary, OUR SAND, as a tool to raise awareness and to bring about change in our landscape where sand mining in concerned. 
The three-day workshop consisted of a community screening where EMs got the opportunity to facilitate, using all the skills, knowledge and attitude that had been learned during the course of the workshop. A learning cycle that consists of the following elements was introduced to our EMs: Watch the film; Reflect; See the bigger picture(context) and Action plan.
The STEPS team brought along other films that focus on social issues which our EMs can use to bring attention to issues arising from their respective communities. Community engagement is a huge attribute of the EM program and we have confidence that this train…

Enabling Links to the Biodiversity Economy in our Landscape through the fRfR initiative

By Hope Morema
The K2C has attended its 5thHoedspruit Farmers Market under the fRfR(from the Region, For the Region) umbrella, supported by the K2C staff. The products sold at the farmer’s market have been produced by the local SMMEs, it has been a success since the fRfR initiative has started. The local SMMEs have made good sales and are appreciate the marketing platform they get at the Farmer’s Market. This positive feedback about the fRfR Initiative, inspired the K2C Team to help more of the local SMMEs. 

fRfR future plans  The fRfRplan is to identify a further 8-10 local Small Business Owners/Co-Ops through the EM Network to support them with business skills and business mentorship training. Support with linkages to markets is key. ThefRfR initiative plans to partner with Nourish in enhancing a further marketing platform for the local SMME. Looking at the tourists visits statistics at Nourish, we believe that it will be a good marketing strategy for the fRfR to place the non-perish…

Using Social Media Platforms innovatively - to submit data on Environmental problems and track Environmental Education

By Keneilwe Mmushi “Environmental Monitors (EMs), working in the Department of Environmental Affairs’ EM Programme in the K2C BR landscape are doing a splendid job in strengthening partnerships though environmental education, research support and identifying pressing environmental issues. These contributions are getting documented.” Mr Vusi Tshabalala, K2C EM Programme Manager said.  Since September 2017, community-based EMs have been collecting real-time spatial data on environmental issues and social engagements that contributes to a healthy relationship between nature and the society. The data collected is then shared on a social platform (WhatsApp messenger) and recorded in a spreadsheet”. The data is used to compile reports that serves to raise awareness and a shift towards achieving a healthy environment by trying to mitigate any environmental threats. K2C is in partnership with some of the major role players like LEDET, MTPA, SANBI and local municipalities which play a vital role…

Spatially aligning projects in the Kruger 2 Canyons Biosphere Region using ESRI GIS software

By W. van der Merwe ContextualisationThe Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region (K2C BR), as a UNESCO ratified Region in the Man and Biosphere Programme, is coordinating and facilitating the implementation of projects aimed at promoting environmentally sustainable socio-economic empowerment and improved conservation efforts.  Currently the K2C is implementing 5 different projects.  There are: 
SANParks GEF 5 Protected Area ProgrammeSANBI GEF Mainstreaming ProjectSANParks Biodiversity Social ProjectsDEA Environmental Monitor ProgrammeWWF Water Stewardship Programme. 
The K2C spreads across 2 provinces (Limpopo in the Norther and Mpumalanga in the South), with 8 local municipalities, as well as a large part of the middle of Kruger National Park, falling within its boundaries.  This is a vast landscape, spanning across 2,97 million hectares, includes savannah, afro-montane and grassland biomes.  This diversity means there are a multitude of projects, programmes and various different entities; a…