the conservation legacy experience
Whale research and Conservation forms a very important part in our KZN Whale Coast brand.
It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. It is evident that because of our impact, marine ecosystems are drowning in trash, noise, oil, and carbon emissions. What we seem to forget is that covering more than 70 percent of the earth, our oceans are among the earth’s most valuable natural resources. They govern the weather, clean the air, help feed the world, and provide a living for millions. Because of overfishing, populations of marine species are either becoming depleted or very underpopulated in certain parts of the ocean. If we want future generations to enjoy the benefits our oceans provide, the time to act is now.
It is against this background that WILDOCEANS was born in the context of accelerated plans for development in the Southern African marine sector and the sustainable development goals of the Blue Economy.
Our Oceanic Research Yacht, the RV Angra Pequena, provides a unique platform for offshore marine science and capacity-building, and conservation expeditions. This classic 72ft vessel provides opportunity for sea-going mentorship to marine science students (the Ocean Stewards), conducts valuable marine research and provides a platform for conservation stories to be filmed and told worldwide. She is equipped with a crane, winches, dive compressor and a semi-rigid inflatable boat and offers a good platform for diver and deck observation studies. The RV Angra Pequena can stay at sea for over 30 days with a fuel range of 3000 NM.
Ocean Stewards exposes students to offshore marine research and aims to create a growing community of ocean advocates through giving them an experiential journey. This project aims to build capacity in the sector, while contributing to important scientific research that will help to build the case for the protection of our coastlines.
The Whale Time project aims to bring science, conservation, tourism and community together around the iconic humpback whale species that migrates along the east coast of South Africa annually. It provides a platform for a coastal community-based “citizen science” movement that brings benefits, not only for the conservation of whales and their ocean environment, but also for coastal communities. Citizens are asked to take pictures of any humpback whale sightings and record them on http://www.whaletime.co.za to contribute towards a catalogue process that will help scientists understand the species better and try decipher how many whales we have migrating along our coast. Whale Time is engaging and training tour-guides from disadvantaged communities, who are currently conducting tours at the Port Natal Maritime Museum in Durban to spread awareness about whales, their history, the opportunities they present and the threats they face. The hope is that all guides taken through this “Whale Time” learning journey will find employment as a Tour Guide or be equipped with the skills to secure permanent employment.
The Blue Crew, a team of local female entrepreneurs, hope to address both the environmental and social challenges linked to waste accumulating along our coastline. These ambassadors for the blue economy clean up our coast daily and inspire others to do the same. The Blue Crew also barter the waste they collect with the WILDTRUST (who then recycle it) in exchange for cash, and thus generate livelihood support for themselves whilst cleaning up critical ecosystems.
The Marine Protected Area (MPA) Expansion Project
The Marine Protected Area Expansion Project aims to build support amongst public and ocean stakeholders for MPAs by creating awareness of their value for the provision of ecosystem services, ocean risk mitigation, food security, ecotourism, moderation of climate change, and improving resilience to impacts of other global stressors. Underwriting the MPA Expansion Project is a social media advocacy and awareness campaign called “Ocean iMPAct” which hopes to help advance the protection of the oceans around South Africa within MPAs – 10% by 2020 and 30% strongly protected by 2030.
BLUFF NATURE RESERVE
Bluff Nature Reserve is a 45 hectare protected pan and forest in the suburb of The Bluff, Durban, South Africa. The park 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.
Activities: Bird Watching (Hide) | Picnicking | Walking (Self-Guided)
Facilities: Braai Stands | Toilets
Gate opening and closing times
Address: 400 Tara Road, Bluff, Durban
Telephone number: 031 469 2807
Adults: R20, Children: R10, Special Rates for Tours.
Mon – Sun : 7h00 – 17h00 | Office hours: A roving field ranger is on duty during the day. There is no office at Bluff 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. 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.
Tucked away in the heart of the Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve, surrounded by giant Yellowwood trees, is Coedmore Castle, a gracious old stone homestead. 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 Ranger.
Address: 14 Robin Road, Yellow Wood Park, Durban South, 4011, South Africa
Phone: +27 31 469 2807
Times: Mon – Sat (6AM–6PM) bookings must be done in advance
BLUFF ECO PARK
Bluff Eco Park is an 11 hectare natural park that offers a unique ‘Green Living’ experience surrounded by 18 ha of lush sub-tropical bush, situated close to the heart of Durban city. The natural, tranquil and peaceful environment includes over 75 species of birds, banded mongoose, genets, monkeys and even the occasional grey duiker.
Going Green: Be inspired by our ‘green’ approach to life, buildings, technology and become part of a sustainable lifestyle. Enjoy a warm shower powered by heat pump technology, or just laze around our big swimming pool, take a walk on the nature trail or relax around an open fire and invite other travelers over for a traditional braai.
Address: Bay end of Samora Machel Street, next to BAT Centre. Durban
Tel: 031 322 9598 Times: Monday – Sunday (9am-4.30pm) times may differ on public holidays
TREASURE BEACH CENTRE
Treasure Beach Centre on Durban’s Bluff is rich in history and ecological importance. It is 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 operating since 1985 and offers a wide diversity of educational experiences to all ages.
Treasure Beach Centre is one of the four Environmental Education centers run by WESSA KZN. We focus on working with local and international school groups, ranging from grade R to 12, as well as university students and trainee teachers and community members.
Their courses are conducted as a ‘hands on’ outdoor classroom experience, with interactive activities and workshops. These encourage a practical understanding of ecology, and the individual’s role in caring for the environment and preserving our National
Address: 835 Marine Drive, Bluff, 4052
Tel: 031 467 8507 | 084 444 8474
Times: Monday – Friday (5am – 4pm)
Brighton Beach and Ansteys Beach on The Bluff is situated between Durban Central and the South of Durban. The Bluff is renowned for its world famous surf spot “Cave Rock”, unspoilt beaches and tidal pool. There are many rock pools to explore as well as excellent surfing, diving and fishing spots.
Garvies Beach is a nice, long stretch of sand in front of a thick residential area within The Bluff, just south of Durban Central. Garvies is a much admired surfing spot with a strong local support, but due to it’s powerful surf, it’s best left to the more experienced surfers. When Anstey’s Beach is a little too crowded, you can always drive over to Garvies for a more relaxed time in the sun.Dolphins frolic year-round close to shore and whales are often spotted in the winter months. The thick coastal vegetation is home to many monkeys and mongoose.
With protected open spaces and no high rise buildings to spoil the coast line, these beaches maintain an environmental awareness that has prevented this area from becoming another concrete holiday town.