Category Archives: Did You Know?

Welcoming of the Whales to the Bluff

Durban has it’s very own annual whale festival aptly named ‘Welcoming of the Whales Festival’. Held in conjunction with the World Whale Conference hosted in Durban this year (2017), the Welcoming of the Whales festival was part of the tourism drive of the South Durban community tourism organisation, Sodurba.

Sodurba is marketing the South Durban Basin as the Whale Coast with an emphasis on education, history and entertainment to entice tourists to visit the area.

This video showcases the Bluff, Durban, as an ideal spot for whale watching on the eastern coast of South Africa. The event is held annually at Anstey’s Beach where people are treated to an array of stalls and information on marine life. Produced by MARZAC Productions Sponsored by Sodurba Special Thanks to JP Prinsloo

Here are a few behind the scenes pictures from the 2017 event. Please follow this link to view our Facebook page with all the event pictures here!

 

VETS MARATHON 2017

The Bluff Athletic Club, situated in Smith Drive, Ocean View has served the community over the past 52 years. Being a non-profit organization its core aim is to provide the entire community with the facility and opportunity to participate in much needed and important physical activity, in this case road running.

Our club has the esteemed privilege of hosting a race which attracts athletes from all parts of the country to our beautiful suburb, and as such, we need to host an extraordinary event. Due to the success of last year, this year we again have taken on the responsibility of hosting a 42.2Km Marathon (comrades qualifier) as well as the half marathon (21.1km) & 15Km walk.

The race takes place on Sunday 12th November 2017. The anticipated entries would be in the region of 700-800 athletes, possibly more.

Since you have been open to supporting us, and are an integral part of our community, our request is for your organisation to become a part of this unique event by being a sponsor. Without sponsorship, we cannot provide the much anticipated shirts and medals, nor offer competitive cash prizes for our category winners.

Sponsorship options are as follows:

  • Main sponsors will be requested to give a donation of R10 000
  • Secondary sponsors will be requested to give a donation of R5 000
  • Water table sponsors will be asked to donate R500 & man a water table for the duration of the race
  • Alternatively, you may donate anything we can use towards our prize giving on the day

Main sponsors will have first choice on advertising sites on the field & have their logo printed on the race attire handed to athletes who have completed this tough race. This will ensure that your institution is well advertised at this event (as well other events to follow since our shirts are sought after and often wore in various events that follow). All sponsors will have their logo printed on the event flyer which will be handed out at several events prior to the race & may advertise on the day on the field. We kindly request that you consider coming on board with us and the Bluff community to ensure the success of this exciting event.

Should you wish to discuss the matter further please do not hesitate to contact either myself, Dennis (Chairman) or Shanna Lake.

PLEASE share if anyone can assist! Let’s make 2017 a huge success for all!

CHAIRMAN – Dennis Houston-Mcmillan
SECRETARY: Shanna Lake
076 186 3920 or 076 151 1175
Email : dennis@jpe.co.za or info@bluffac.co.za

Nature & Wildlife

Bluff Nature Reserve was proclaimed in 1961, making it Durban’s oldest bird sanctuary. The original extensive wetland area was split in two by construction of Tara Road, with the majority of the Vlei being to the east of the road. The reed beds potentially provide extensive roosting and breeding areas for several species of herons and egrets, as well as African Spoonbills and several crackers and rails. However, in the last few years breeding activity appears to have been mainly restricted to the likes Egyptian and spur winged Geese, swamp-hens and coots.

Some birds seen at the Bluff Nature Reserve

Rufous-winged African Purple Swamp-hen Black throated Wattle-eye Black Crake
Grey Sunbird Yellow-throated Longclaws African Fish-Eagle Black-headed heron

Kenneth Stainbank is a 253 hectare reserve in Yellowwood Park, Durban, which was proclaimed in 1963. Established as a result of a bequest of land from Mr. Kenneth Stainbank, the area offers fine examples of coastal forest and grassland habitats for many species of plants and animals. There are 13 km of nature walks and a pleasant picnic site is available. A walk for the physically disabled has been specially designed. There is also a 10km mountain bike trail which is fairly challenging in places. An entrance fee is charged at the entrance gate, where visitors can obtain maps, plant and animal lists from the Field Range.

Some birds seen at the Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

Grey Cuckooshrike Scrub-Robin Purple-Crested Turaco Green Malkoha
Little Bee-Eater Narina Trogon Tamourine Dove Lesser Striped Swallow
Squacco heron Black Swallowhawk Honeybird Red-backed Mannikin
White-eared Barbet Black Saw-wing Spotted Ground-Thrush Green Twinspot
Yellow-bellied Greembul Mountain Wagtail Grey Waxbill Rattling Cisticola
Olive Woodpecker Brown-Backed Bronze-winged Courser African Jacana
African Rail Red-Chested Flufftail White Browed Yellow Weaver
Neddicky Barn Swallow Square-Tailed Drango

The Conservation Legacy Experience

Urban Route: Conservation Legacy

Experience the South side of Durban- Whale Research and conservation

Conservation Legacy Route:
Whale research and Conservation forms a very important part in our KZN Whale Coast brand. The project includes the establishment of an online platform that will allow “citizen scientists” to upload photos of whales, to be identified by marine science experts. This will bring benefits not only for conservation of the whales and their ocean environment, but also for coastal communities through training and economic opportunities – they have in fact offered internships for Tour Guides in this field. Sea Quests’ primary goal is to support research, training and conservation expeditions that build knowledge and awareness of our oceans and contribute to sound decision-making and management of the marine environment. This takes place on the vessel M.Y. Angra Peguena, a 72ft ocean- going expedition vessel. Apart from their research and while they are in Durban Harbour they will offer fundraising events – e.g. music under the stars; a picnic day on the vessel at see or even a weekend cruise for divers etc.

whale time logoWhale Time

The Wildlands Whale Time Project is supported by The Blue Fund, a partnership between Grindrod Ltd. and Wildlands. The Project’s goal is to bring science, conservation, tourism and community together around this iconic species. It aims to contribute to updating scientific knowledge of the Humpback whale populations and to engage public in whale sightings and associated monitoring of the distribution, behaviour patterns and habitat use of the whales.

logo20-20clown20v520copy_f8e64cf12dbaed90354083c98cab5aaaWESSA Treasure Beach

The Treasure Beach Environmental Education Centre on Durban’s Bluff is rich in history and ecological importance. It is also the site of the original radar tracking station for coastal defense during World War 2 and has one of the last remaining patches of coastal grassland. The Centre has been operational since 1985 and Offers a wide diversity of educational experiences to all ages. The roof of the building can be used by our guests as a viewpoint to watch whales and dolphins moving up and down our coast, while enjoying tea & scones. This can be combined with an interpretive stroll in their patch of unique Coastal Grassland (led by a guide). Good Birds, Insect life, photographic opportunities.

Bluff Nature Reserve (Forest & Wetland)

Our Bluff Nature Reserve is a gem of a spot right in the middle of an urban/industrial space. The trail around the pan is pleasantly flat from beginning to end and great for birding butterfly or frog spotting or a general self-guided nature stroll. The hide overlooking the Southern end of the pan is a perfect spot to relax, spot some of our shyer water birds or even have a sun downer. This spacious structure is also wheelchair friendly and fairly easy to reach in a chair from the ample parking.

Bluff Eco Park

The Bluff Eco Park has various activities and programs in place. A cycle track, bird walks for local old age homes and other interest groups. General nature interpretation walks for the public/guests. Basic bird, tree, frog, butterfly or snake identification programs are available.

Wilderness Leadership School
Art Gallery & Castle – Mary Stainbank grew up on the farm Ndaba Nkulu in what is now the residential suburb of Yellowwood Park- some 30 minutes from the Durban city
centre. The family farm was the original settlement of the Stainbank family when they arrived in Durban on one of the family owned steamships which used to ply from England in the late 1880s. In that time the new arrivals would gather in Farewell Square and then proceed by ox wagon to their new sites. Guided tours available.

Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve
Kenneth Stainbank is a 253 hectare reserve in Yellowwood Park, Durban, which was proclaimed in 1963. Established as a result of a bequest of land from Mr Kenneth Stainbank, the area offers fine examples of coastal forest and grassland habitats for many species of plants and animals. Notable species are zebra, bushbuck, reedbuck, and impala, blue, red and grey duiker, vervet monkey, rock hyrax, slender mongoose, bush-baby, egyptian mongoose, banded mongoose, water monitor and genet. The reserve has an interesting variety of indigenous flora and over 200 bird species on record. There are 13 km of nature walks and a pleasant picnic site is available. A walk for the physically disabled has been specially designed. There is also a 10km mountain bike trail which is fairly challenging in places.

 

The KZN Whale Coast Experience

Urban Route: KZN Whale Coast
Experience the South side of Durban- KZN Whale Coast

Whale Route:
The Route starts at The Whale History Museum, situated at The Maritime Museum. Visitors can stroll through the Maritime Museum exploring the boats as well as experience the Whaling History Exhibition. Giving insight on where our Whale Story started to where we have now come to a Conservation Era where all whales, dolphins and sea life are protected and admired. Opportunity is given to local communities to involve themselves in Whale Eco Tourism.

KZN whale coast2There are already initiatives in place through the Whale Time project to put the KZN Whale Coast Whale Migration on the local and international map as an amazing conservation and tourism phenomenon.

We have numerous establishments with land based whale viewing opportunities.

Next stop is Wilson’s Wharf where you can enjoy a cruise through the harbour, go whale watching or enjoy a relaxing beverage or meal at one of the vibrant restaurants. Or do some browsing/shopping at the many curio shops. Then follow the M4 South to the Bluff, KZN’s Whale Coast.

Take a drive to the Bluff Beaches – our PROPOSED BLUE FLAG BEACH. Plans are in place to develop this point and add a variety of water and beach activities and offer exciting and adventure activities a place where people can hire equipment for the day: Scuba diving, Paragliding,Canoe, Paddling, Snorkeling, Surfing, Extreme Body boarding, Fishing, etc.

logo20-20clown20v520copy_f8e64cf12dbaed90354083c98cab5aaaWESSA Treasure Beach

The Treasure Beach Environmental Education Centre on Durban’s Bluff is rich in history and ecological importance. It is also the site of the original radar tracking station for coastal defense during World War 2 and has one of the last remaining patches of coastal grassland. The Centre has been operational since 1985 and Offers a wide diversity of educational experiences to all ages. The roof of the building can be used by our guests as a viewpoint to watch whales and dolphins moving up and down our coast, while enjoying tea & scones. This can be combined with an interpretive stroll in their patch of unique Coastal Grassland (led by a guide). Good Birds, Insect life, photographic opportunities.

KZN Whale Coast

KZN Whale Coast together with WhaleTime share the goal to bring science, conservation, tourism and community together around this iconic species.

Whale Time is a special time of year (June to November) on the East Coast of South Africa when we are privileged to observe some of the whale species that frequent the KwaZulu-Natal coast.

SO, HOW CAN YOU HELP US HELP THE WHALES?

Increasing our knowledge and understanding of these extraordinary marine mammals’ biology and population structure, through the photographs you send us, will help to improve the accuracy of the data used in assessments of the population recovery and future conservation of these species.

The whaling industry in Durban had its beginnings in 1907 when the Norwegian Consul in Durban, Jacob Egeland, went back to Norway and, with fellow Norwegian Johan Bryde, raised money to start a whaling operation in Durban. The two men formed the South African Whaling Company that year and brought two ships for catching whales to Durban from Sandefjord in Norway.

Hunting began in July the following year and ended in mid-November, by which time the two catchers had killed 106 of the huge animals, mostly Humpbacks.

The original whaling factory was within the harbour entrance, near where the whale slipway can still be found. This was a popular bathing area at the time but because sharks were now attracted to the whale carcases, and on account of the smell produced, the whaling factory was forced to move around the headland to the ocean side of the Bluff – KwaZulu-Natal.

Source: WhaleTime

Learn More by visiting KZN Whale Coast Facebook Page or WhalesTime’s Blog

How to help a stranded marine animal!

How to help a stranded animalWE NEED YOUR HELP!

On average fifty marine animals are stranded or washed up on the South African coastline each year. Sadly the number of animals being reported as stranded is on the increase.

Download and share this brochure to help and educate yourself and the rest of your community.

ORGANISATION CONTACT DETAILS STRANDED ANIMALS
EZEMVELO KZN WILDLIFE  031 2741150 – OH
083 380 6298 (24hr)
 All marine animals
SEA WORLD 031 328 8222 – OH
031 328 8060 – AH (Public Holidays & Weekends)
Dolphins, whales, seals,
penguins, turtles,
whale sharks
KZN SHARKS BOARD  031 566 0400  Whale & dolphin
entanglements in nets
CROW  031 462 1127  Sea Birds

 

ESSENCE Fest Durban 2017

ESSENCE Fest Durban 2017 returns for an unforgettable experience. Check out who else has been added to the line up so far and plan your trip today!

  • GLOBAL EMPOWERMENT
  • YOUR FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL CELEBRITIES
  • MUSICAL PERFORMANCES
  • AND MUCH MORE!

Last year’s inaugural Durban Festival drew more than 10,000 attendees and featured appearances by Steve Harvey, Phaedra Parks and singers Estelle, Kelly Price, NE-YO, Wizkid, Black Coffee and more.

“The City of Durban looks forward to the 2017 edition of the Essence Festival Durban,” eThekwini Mayor Cllr. Zandile Gumede said in a statement. “Durban is being discovered by global travelers looking for new and different cultural experiences combined with the excitement of nature and historical significance.”

September 26 – October 1, 2017

Sea Quests

Ocean Conservation Expeditions

OBSERVE – SUBMERGE – CONSERVE

sea-quests-angra-pequena-03
Angra Pequena is a conservation, research & training expedition boat

SEA QUESTS primary goal is to support research, training and conservation expeditions that build knowledge and awareness of our oceans and contribute to sound decision-making and management of the marine environment.

Learn More | Facebook | Twitter

 

Whaling Industry in Durban

Whaling off the KwaZulu-Natal coast – Compiled by Terry Hutson

The whaling industry in Durban had its beginnings in 1907 when the Norwegian Consul in Durban, Jacob Egeland, went back to Norway and, with fellow Norwegian Johan Bryde, raised money to start a whaling operation in Durban. The two men formed the South African Whaling Company that year and brought two ships for catching whales to Durban from Sandefjord in Norway.

image-whale-diveHunting began in July the following year and ended in mid-November, by which time the two catchers had killed 106 of the huge animals, mostly Humpbacks.

The original whaling factory was within the harbour entrance, near where the whale slipway can still be found. This was a popular bathing area at the time but because sharks were now attracted to the whale carcases, and on account of the smell produced, the whaling factory was forced to move around the headland to the ocean side of the Bluff – KwaZulu-Natal.

Here a second factory was also planned, the Union Whaling & Fishing Company with Egeland and Abraham Larsen  as partners, but this had yet to start operations. In the 1909 hunting season the whale capture rose to 155 whales, yielding 1070 tons of oil, 12 tons of whalebone and 148 tons of boiled bone. The latter was sold locally; the rest exported to Europe. By 1910 the Union Whaling & Fishing Co was in operation with three catchers and in that year killed 233 whales.

In the following years other whaling companies opened, each with a factory on the seaward side of the Bluff. Most of these soon closed down or amalgamated – among the latter were two companies that formed the Premier Whaling Company, which was taken over by Lever Bros in 1914.

Among those that closed were the South African Whaling Co and the Union Whaling & Fishing Co, although a new Union Whaling Co (UWC) would reopen in 1921, again with Egeland and Larsen at the helm and employing locally-raised capital. UWC took over the original Union Whaling & Fishing Co station on the Bluff and after a slow start went on to become the surviving whaling company in Natal. In 1931 Lever Bros sold the Premier Whaling Company to Union Whaling at a heavy loss, and with the other companies having all shut by then, the Union Whaling Company continued as the sole occupant of the Natal whaling grounds, although it operated both factories right through until 1953 when it located all factory operations in the former Premier premises.

The remains of this factory are all that is evident today, and although in a dilapidated condition they are worthy of being made available as a memorial to the men and women of the whaling industry, and the whales themselves that once performed such an important role in the economy of Natal.

A special train was used to take the carcases around the headland to the respective whaling stations. This practice continued right until the end of operations in the 1970s. The whaling season off the KZN coast lasted from March to September because whales would migrate northward past Durban at the start of the Antarctic winter and pass by on their way south again. During these months, the catchers could reap a rich harvest of whales without having to sail much more than 150 miles from Durban.

In the early years the majority of whales killed were Humpbacks but as the number of these migrating along the coast quickly diminished, other species including Sperm, Blue and Fin whales became important. By the 1930s the numbers of Blue whales were becoming less while Fin whales lasted until the 1960s. Attention then turned to hunting Sei whales but exploitation in the Antarctic was having a severe effect on the numbers of different species moving into warmer waters and by the end of whaling off the Natal coast in the 1970s the Sperm whale was the main target, with large numbers moving through the waters off the coast.

The end to whaling off the Natal coast came in 1975 and followed global pressure that led to calls for all whaling to be abandoned. Economic pressure increased when fuel oil prices skyrocketed in the early 1970s – whale catching ships burned between 8 and 16 tons of fuel oil a day, and whaling stations needed a lot of fuel to power steam winches and process carcasses.

Since the reduction of whaling in the Antarctic and the ending of whaling off the KZN coast, whale numbers have gradually increased, providing new interest and commercial opportunities involving tourism.  This has yet to be fully explored in KZN.

Acknowledgements: A Short History of Modern Whaling off Natal. R Gambell National Institute of Oceanography 1970.

slideshow-conservation

SO, HOW CAN YOU HELP US HELP THE WHALES?

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