AGM Reminder

Dear Duiwenhoks Conservancy members and friends

This is a reminder about the AGM on Easter Saturday at 10h00 in the Vredesaal at Vermaaklikheid.

Our beautiful village and river is at a crossroads. There has been an epidemic of crime over the past year with a number of people having their houses burgled and outboard motors and other possessions stolen. A month ago, a conservancy member had their house burnt down in an attack of arson, the second such incident in the village over the past 5 years. A suspect is in jail but the systemic problems remain.

At the 2013 AGM I took over the chairmanship of the conservancy.  However no-one else put their hand up leaving the conservancy short on man power and energy at a time when it is needed most. Like many of you, I have a full life in Cape Town. I am married with two teenage children and I have a full time job. But in spite of my limited time available, I believe I can make a difference. However I need active support from a committed group of people who can help me drive this conservancy forward.

The big questions that we need to answer are:

  • Do we extend the mandate of the Conservancy to get involved in broader social issues in the village? 
  • What is our pro-active response to the crime in the village? 
  • Do we change the conservancy to become an NGO so that it can raise funds and implement a program of activities that can combine alien clearing and livelihoods in the village. Currently the Conservancy has no status as a legal entity. 

At the heart of this, is the question: How can we ensure that the character of the village, the river and natural assets are managed in a sustainable manner for the all the people that use it.

I hope we can have a lively debate, develop a new vision and start to think about what we need to do make this vision a reality. I trust that members of the conservancy will put up their hands to join me in breathing new life into this organisation.

Please feel free to email me if you want to discuss anything.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Warm regards

John Thorne


The Invasive Wasp Project

The Invasive Wasps Project is a research project with both eradication/infestation control and communications components. The IWP project is managed by a consortium of researchers from the following institutions: Stellenbosch University, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the University of Cape Town, the Agricultural Research Council, CapeNature, and Iziko Museums.
The project is researching the feasibility of eradicating both invasive wasps from South Africa or, failing this, investigating ways to prevent their spread to new areas outside their current, limited distribution. This is necessary to avoid future human injury, and large scale biodiversity and economic impacts.

How you can help?
We are still pinpointing the exact distribution of both wasps in South Africa. If you see either of these wasps, please:
–    Provide us with clear, close-up photographs
–    Provide us with locality information – any landmarks or GPS co-ordinates will help us locate the wasps
–    Provide us with details of Vespula germanica nests or large (larger than A5 paper size) Polistes dominula nests.
–    Give us your contact details in case we need to follow up

See attached for more infoWasps brochure4

Protect the Duiwenhoks river this holiday season

The Duiwenhoks Estuary and its surrounds are one of the last remaining pristine estuaries in the country and the Duiwenhoks Conservancy has been established to preserve its unique character.

Biologists have long maintained that the most important role of the estuarine environment for fish is the provision of nursery grounds for juveniles. Estuaries provide a typically calm, sheltered environment where the higher temperatures and rich food supply allow rapid growth and protection for marine fish fry.

Below are a few guidelines to show how you can help to maintain the uniqueness of the area and ensure safety. We ask you to please bear these in mind during your stay.

The Duiwenhoks is not a skiing river.

Boats need to watch out for Swimmers and Canoes.

Slow Down when passing a Jetty!!

Please drive responsibly at all times with due consideration for the peaceful nature of the river, for houses, jettys, small craft and other users of the river.

Please observe the ‘Slow Zone’ or ‘No Wake Zone’ close to the Village.

When fishing:
Please make sure you have a license to fish or collect bait in the river
Spearfishing in the tidal areas is not permitted
Please stick to the size and bag limits for fish and bait
Cast nets/throw nets for fishing may not be used from sunset to sunrise.


Remember that when approaching an oncoming boat you must pass with the oncoming boat on your port (left) side, i.e. when traveling on the river keep right.

When overtaking another boat on the river please do so on their port side.

Please ensure, especially when passing a smaller or stationary boat on the river that your wake does not cause a danger to the other boat.

Remember – to avoid a collision a motor boat must give right of way to all other craft and a rowing boat or canoe gives way to a sailing boat.

When approaching jettys please be aware of swimmers and slow down if necessary. Many people practice long distance swimming in the river and they are difficult to spot from a fast moving boat.

Please keep at least 5 meters from the river bank when in motion in order to preserve the banks (there may also be children in the reeds!!)

When approaching the river bank please do so slowly.

No objects or people may be towed on the Duiwenhoks River (eg. no skiing or tubing).

When out at sea please remember you may not approach closer than 300 m to a whale.

32nd Garden Route Conservancy Forum meeting – 7 December 2013

Dear Conservancy Members,

You are invited to attend the 32nd Garden Route Conservancy Forum meeting that will be taking place on 7th December from 09h00 to 13h00 at the Brenton-on-sea Community Hall Knysna.

The agenda and a map with directions to the venue will be forwarded to you in due course.

I will need to confirm the number of Conservancy representatives that will be attending for catering and seating arrangements. Kindly RSVP to by Friday 15 November 2013.

Please contact me if there are any enquiries.

Kind regards,

Carlo van Tonder
Conservation Services Officer | Gouritz Regional Office