VE Berg trip

29 Nov 2010 19:28 #2063 by SeriousTribe2
Replied by SeriousTribe2 on topic Re: VE Berg trip
Yep ClimbyKel

You're going to kill them DEAD. Don't worry, we wont tell.

I am keen. Await your further details/comments there Intrepid.

Have chainsaw. Will travel.

Just a suggestion. If any of you have positive contacts with 19 Squad, we may be able to involve them in a 'joint training ex' so that the lugging of equipment is minimised.
Of course the greatest minimisation would be for the pack to be lifted to Keith's along with the body attached !! :P

Have some mates from VEMA here who train with them regularly. If we confirm a date, and EKZN approval, I can make some enquiries.

It is a hopeful in that they often use Ntunja as a training peak !

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30 Nov 2010 16:18 #2069 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Re: VE Berg trip
We have the full go-ahead and support of Eduard Goosen (Senior Conservation Manager Northern Drakensberg) and Frik Lemmer (Conservation Manager Monk's Cowl). They appreciate the help and will be joining us if they are able to at the time.

I've just had a phone chat with Frik Lemmer and we spoke about the following:
* Pines are relatively easy to kill in that they are simply cut down. A bow saw is used. No poison is needed.

* Other areas which we can tackle, if we have many volunteers, include Wonder Valley and some steep slopes / difficult access areas near Hlatikhulu Neck.

* Ideally he would want to stick to the 12 person limit but is willing to accommodate groups up to 20 in this case. If we have more people we will have to split up and tackle different areas.

* The long weekend will see many hikers at the popular camp spots like Keith Bush and the one at the base of Gatberg. We may have to use some of the lesser used ones, especially if we are big group already.

My own thoughts are that we could choose a different date in order to alleviate potentially high numbers of hikers in the Mhlwazini valley that weekend, though this would probably make it more difficult for some to be part of this event. On the other hand I could happily just stick to the intended date and venue (other areas may have the same challenge). Any thoughts on this?

Also, if we are more 20 and will be splitting up, we should try and have a big social evening at the main camp site on Friday evening at the start of the weekend, so that we can get to know everyone.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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01 Dec 2010 08:24 - 01 Dec 2010 08:29 #2070 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Re: VE Berg trip
Great news :)

My vote goes for the same dates with less popular areas. A normal weekend is too short and requiring people to take leave will limit participation.

I'm not sure where the most pine-infested areas are but we need an area with ample camping/cave space and a relatively high-use area would be ideal as there are other jobs that can be done such as litter clean-up (especially on the smuggler's routes). It should also be within a half-day's walk from Monk's Cowl Forest Station (since we have their buy-in now).

Some options off the top of my head:

- Gatberg North campsite and the contour path in the Eastman's Peak area (not very high use though)

- Cowl Fork campsite

- Blind Man's Corner campsite (quite small but we could make a plan - Sterkhorn summit trips could also be on the cards)

- Zulu Cave (is that not bang on the smuggling route?)

- The Stable Cave area (also not high use I think)
Last edit: 01 Dec 2010 08:29 by Stijn.

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02 Dec 2010 08:12 - 06 Dec 2010 08:02 #2074 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Re: VE Berg trip
Monk's Cowl does offer quite a bit in terms of alternate campsites, so I think we'll be OK. Apparently Wonder Valley has a bad pine infestation, so we could also book and use Wonder Valley Cave.

I haven't been to Zulu Cave for about 6 years and it wasn't really on the smuggling route then, but things have certainly picked up since then. I have noticed the new smuggling track which heads down the valley in that direction! The pines near Hlatikhulu are difficult to reach and on steep slopes, so Frik Lemmer was saying it would be great if those got tackled.

Glad you mentioned climbing Sterkhorn, Stijn, since this has been on my mind. Thinking about adding on an extra day or so after the clean-up and camping at Bling Man's Corner. Will lug some climbing gear along to climb central and southern summits too. So, in reference to an earlier post of yours here is a thumbs up :thumbsup: (I've added an extra smilie for that - see "More smilies").

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 06 Dec 2010 08:02 by intrepid. Reason: changed Gatberg to Sterkhorn

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04 Dec 2010 14:23 #2078 by domsmooth
Replied by domsmooth on topic Re: VE Berg trip
:evil: The new smilies are wicked, intrepid!

wrt the VE trip, from Head office of EKZNW there was a major :thumbsup: for this and more of these types of initiatives and partnerships. Aliens are a big issue, and while there are plans in the various reserves to attack them, it is very costly and labour intensive. The areas are therefore prioritised in terms of highest density, visitor numbers, wilderness value etc. Not an easy task!

Glad to be part of it though, and hope Frik and Ed will be there to join in. They are both great guys and have a massive passion for conservation, and the Berg in particular!

Lets all help maintain the values for which the Berg was proclaimed a World Heritage Site

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09 Dec 2010 21:22 #2086 by BergAttie
Replied by BergAttie on topic Re: VE Berg trip
Ahh! I've been MIA off VE site for a while but very happy to see that the Alien eradication trip is gaining momentum. I'm very keen and providing the date of the trip is doable for me I'll be joining you.

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09 Dec 2010 21:28 #2087 by BergAttie
Replied by BergAttie on topic Re: VE Berg trip
We can also consier Xeni and TsekiTseki valleys if we need to split up to reduce group size. These valleys are quite infested as well.

Since I live in the area I would like to get some kind of ongoing approval from EKZN to do this kind of work - gives my trips up some purpose and gives a good excuse to go more regularly - who can I talk to about this?

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10 Dec 2010 16:16 #2089 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Re: VE Berg trip
@BergAttie - start off by chatting to Eduard Goosen, you can find his details here . Mention that you are a member of VE. He is going to try join us at the event in March, so you could chat to him then if you want. Based on what he says, I reckon you'd contact the relevant Conservation Manager of the area you are heading into, just to keep them in the loop of what you'll be doing on a particular trip. It may also be good to maintain some sort of documentation of what was done: pictures, GPS co-ordinates, number of trees, date etc.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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27 Jan 2011 12:21 #2324 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Re: VE Berg trip
Looks like we are between 10 and 15 people on this one so far. Can everyone please give definite confirmation on this thread? Numbers are crucial in the planning.

An interesting stipulation from EKZNW Head Office was no chain saw or anything with a motor on it allowed - because of the noise. So its bow saws. Will check with them if they can supply us, else its no biggie to organise our own.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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31 Jan 2011 10:14 #2330 by SeriousTribe2
Replied by SeriousTribe2 on topic Re: VE Berg trip
@ Intrepid

I am still keen.

Have we got a confirmed date (19-21 March) yet?
Is there a confirmed location?

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