SANBI offers Biological Invasions Bursaries for 2018.

Dear Reader

SANBI is offering Biological Invasions Bursaries for 2018. Bursaries are available to conduct research as part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s work on biological invasions. The closing date for application is Friday 3 November 2017.

For more details on the types of projects that can be considered or different projects to do please click here.


Best regards

Karen Morris

Web Administrator

The passing of James Miggels

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of James Miggels. James passed away on the 10th of July 2017.  He was born in Vermaaklikheid and is survived by his wife Alida and his four children, Velicia (26), Jo-Jean (22), Allister (18) and Allison (14).

James was a valued member of the Vermaaklikheid community. He started the village food garden, and was a great source of knowledge about the plants and animals in the area. The Conservancy made a small donation to his family. He will be missed! 

Duiwenhoks latest updates

Dear all

The annual Conservancy AGM took place on Saturday the 15th April, at the Vredesaal. The event was well supported and it was great to see some new faces. Items discussed were:

– Update on the various projects
– Report back from myself
– Report back from Abie Pretorius
– Election of committee for the year head – positions chairman, treasurer, and committee member

Subscriptions continue to come in. Thank you. If you haven’t yet made a contribution, the bank details are: Duiwenhoks Conservancy, Standard Bank, Rondebosch, Branch Code: 02500911, A/c No: 0755 77623. Please use your surname and farm as reference.

The Conservancy website has had a refresh. If you have a picture you would like to contribute, please email it to us at

The Conservancy has also commissioned a short documentary film that showcases the projects currently underway in the village. The documentary was filmed by Bart Love of Another Love Productions ( The video release is scheduled for later in June and will be published on the website.

With winter around the corner, now would be a good time to stock up on firewood. If you would like to place an order and have it delivered to your farm, please contact Abie on 076 6289579.

That’s all for now. Watch this space!

Warm regards

John Thorne


Our website has a fresh new look

Welcome to our new website.

It’s a brand new look with so many new features. One of them is the Community Projects page. Head over there to find out whats happening in the community. Find out what the About us page says about the Conservancy and have a look at the beautiful pictures posted in the Gallery page. If you would like to become a member of the Conservancy, jump straight to the Contact us page. We would love to have you on board.

I hope that you enjoy the new look and have a happy browsing experience. If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to send us a message.



Web Administrator 


Report back on the community project

Dear All

Here is a report back on the community project. It started the week after the easter weekend when the team attended a chainsaw course in the village. The training course took a week and allowed all the team members plus a few reserves to get a certificate and more importantly understand safety and maintenance. This is important when working with lethal equipment like chainsaws when one slip can result in a frontal lobotomy. My admin colleague in Cape Town at SouthSouthNorth is in the process of registering the team members with COIDA so that they can receive workman’s compensation if needed.

First the financials:
The following week on the 4th April, they began clearing land on Kershoutfontein in the village. So far the team of 5 people under Abie’s guidance have cleared about 5Ha of Kershoutfontein. They have cut more than 15,0000 pieces of firewood. They have also kept aside smaller pieces of wood for charcoal if and when we decide to manufacture it.

The conservancy pays each member of the team R 2,000 month and the wood will be sold in bulk to a wood merchant for about 60c a piece which will be used to supplement incomes so that each person will be getting R 3000 per month on average.

At the moment we are charging Kershoutfontein R5,000 / month in clearing charges. This will be reviewed at the end of Q1 of the project and is likely to increase.

In summary:
Income per month
Clearing charge – R 5000
Wood income – R 6000
Total – R 11,000

Team 5 x 2000 = R 10,000
Performance from wood sale = R 5,000
Petrol = R 1000
Maintenance = R 500
Total = 16,500

The Conservancy through funding raised, is covering the shortfall. In addition the Conservancy covers Abie’s salary of R 4000 per month, purchase of equipment (about R 40k) and the cost of the initial training course (R16k). I claim travelling costs for my monthly trips from Cape Town.

Abie is busy with a number of additional roles including patrolling the river, teaching local school children about environmental issues, facilitating many meetings on the ‘Kop’ and assisting with the further development of the village food garden. Ideally we should send Abie to attend Saasveld college to do a course in Nature Conservation. He makes all the operational decisions and is a fine young man and well respected in his community.

There are a number of softer benefits that I see:
There is a real sense of pride and ownership in the project and this has translated into renewed productivity amongst community members.
The project has brought members of the various communities in the village together. They are working alongside each other, building bridge and common vision. This is good.

What we need the following support:
Someone to oversee the website redevelopment: we have a small budget and someone to do the work. The website is important for our ability to gain support and raise further funding. I need someone to take this on. Any volunteers?

Further funding – I am working on this.

A vehicle for the project in the village

Landowners who want to hire the team for a few months.
These letters will soon go into a blog on the redesigned website.

That’s all for now

John Thorne

Our first pile of wood for sale.

Burning Course

Please note that there is a free 2-3 day Prescribed Burning Course being presented by CMO ( Louis van Dyk )
The course is presented at the office of the SCFPA in Riversdale on the 8 , 9 , 10 th September 2015 at 8h00 every morning
The course consists of 1 day theory and 1-2 day practical

Please contact us if you would like to attend before or on the 31 st August 2015 .

Groete / Regards

Philip Wilken

SCFPA Extension officer
Cell 079 697 8706
Office 028 713 1987

Ruaan Barnard, our Conservation Intern who has starting work for us in our Conservancy would like to introduce himself:


I have been a part of the Duiwenhoks Conservancy for the past two weeks and I am very happy to be here and part of the group.

Firstly, I would like to speak about the people of this community.

From the first day that I arrived in Vermaaklikheid everyone made me feel welcome and was very friendly towards me.

Community people helped me where they could, and offered to help with anything I might need in the future.

So far I’m get along very well with the people and I believe that my relationship with the community will become even stronger.

I see that the village is very small and at the same time it is also very clean.

I was surprised to see that the whole area is in such a good condition and I will do my best to keep it that way.

My work in the community is not only with the people but also to conserve the wildlife here.

The projects that I will tackle, as part of the conservancy are:

Environment education (Vermaaklikheid School)
Alien clearing
Patrolling the rivier
Vegetable gardens with people in the community.
Cooperation with the “Firebreak Association”

There will be lots more in the future.

I was in Cape Town for the second week, where I received some good training to improve my communication skills, my ‘kettingsaag vaardighede’ – chainsaw competence and l training in environmental education. This was particularly important, as I will work with school children.

In my first week in Vermaaklikheid I saw a surprising number of animals. Those that amazed me were the otter, which I saw along the river and on land as well as a massive school of harders. There were so many that they jumped into my boat. This was a first for me.

Everything I do for the conservancy is to protect the environment and its natural life, not because I must but because I love wildlife and I believe that everyone needs nature.

Thank you very much,

Ruaan Barnard