I have not posted much in the last few months. Have recently been processing stock images again and am finding old images in archives... so thought I would upload a few here - these from a trip to Paris in 2007.
Arc de Triomphe
I left Hilton this morning to visit Three Tree Hill Lodge near Spioenkop Nature Reserve between Bergville and Ladysmith. I did not get very far, as I was directed off the N3 and sent back after only 45kms, a little way past Howick. At the Balgowan exit the N3 was closed due to snow and ice on the roads, and the R 103 was closed too so there was no way I was able to reach my destination.
N3 between Howick and Balgowan
Yes, everyone wants to see Ryk Neethling, Charlene Whittstock, Lewis Pugh, all the celebs.... well here is Ryk, he finished first in the mens' event.
This is Chad Gifford. He is 39 and he lost both of his legs after a car accident. This is Chad on the support boat which takes the swimmers across to the start of the next race - looking pretty fresh and relaxed and ready for the start of the 7th race!
"If you follow your passions, everything else sorts itself out"
SA swimmer Penny Heyns, and
Ant Stott, defending Dusi Champion,
together at the Golden Horse Casino where Pugh shared some tips with Pietermaritzburg on how to achieve the impossible.
World Wetlands Day is marked annually to raise awareness of wetlands and their importance to both people and the environment. This year's theme is Forests for water and wetlands, and I wrote this story about some of the work the Wildlands Conservation Trust is doing on the Mkhuze floodplain in Northern KWaZulu Natal.
photo: Maryann Rivers-Moore/Wildlands Conservation Trust
It has been nearly a year since we visited the Karkloof Spa Wellness and Wildlife Retreat and I wrote a couple of stories, including this one for The Witness
We spent a night in luxurious accommodation and enjoyed magnificent food; we experienced a full body massage and a meandering nature walk to view the Karkloof Falls.
Pictures by Maryann Rivers-Moore
I am really lucky - we have a Recycling Village at the shopping centre where I shop, so I am able to recycle a very wide range of things... once you see all the bins there with their labels and learn just how many things CAN be recycled, it becomes hard to throw things away...
Chip packets, chocolate wrappers, soup packets... lots I did not know about.
Paper and cardboard, including egg boxes toilet papers rolls.
Plastic - I find this is the biggest one I collect, now that I really make an effort. Plastic bread bags, milk sachets (you have to rinse them, cut it open and rinse it out, a mission but once the habit is formed its okay)
We also don't throw away "organic" waste - any veggie peels, egg shells etc gets collected in the airtight box for a day or two then thrown on a compost heap box.
I am amazed... the more you get into it, the harder it is to throw something in the bin you know is going to the dump. Also, we can barely fill a refuse bag for the collection each week, it is getting to be a Spar packet or two perhaps, and that must be making a difference?
I have been living in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands for two years and now it feels like home. This is why I am very happy that we have places like Terbodore to visit for breakfast (which we did a while back just after they opened) or lunch, which we did this past weekend.
I neeeed good coffee. And Terbodore does good coffee. They roast coffee beans in fact, and were awarded something coffee related (I must get all the details) a couple of months ago.... if you arrive early morning or later in the afternoon, you can get a tour around the roastery - lunchtime gets a bit busy so they can't really focus on tours.
A first visit should be at a less busy time to ensure you can get the tour and learn about coffee roasting and coffees of the world.
The restaurant is relatively new, they are still establishing a veggie and herb garden...
I wrote this article for The Wildlands Conservation Trust which appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of Environment Magazine, produced by the grouping of environmental NGOs: Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Wildlands Conservation Trust (WCT) The Cape Leopard Trust, Wilderness Foundation South Africa, The Game Rangers Association of South Africa, SANCCOB, and WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa). Community Conservation Areas play an important role in the creation of larger conservation corridors in Southern Africa.
Poor rural communities need to see the value of placing their land in the hands of conservationists, and should derive real benefits in order to do so. By proactively involving communities in conservation planning initiatives, existing protected areas can hopefully be respected and remain under conservation, and further tracts of land can be included and protected areas expanded.
Click on the below picture to see image at readable size, or e-mail me for a pdf of the story at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hessehuis, photo Maryann Shaw
We are recently returned from two weeks on the road, where we spent one night here, two nights there, and few of the roads were tarred. The Swartberg Pass, the Montagu Pass and the Prince Alfred Pass were involved.... I was glad that my husband was driving on these bits and I was able to enjoy the view. The place we enjoyed the most was our one night at Hessehuis, a converted labourer's cottage we were allocated as all the accommodation at Zandvlakte was taken. Magriet looked at me with a nervous face and said "It's very basic" .... and we followed her husband Pieter for a few kilometres to the most perfect, isolated, yes rustic, but did I say isolated, spot.... and we had a braai for two, and afterwards lay and watched the stars...until the cold took us indoors. I will admit I could not get the gas shower to give me hot water, but this little cottage probably had the nicest linen of all the places we stayed at over two weeks and across 5000kms.
Maryann Shaw (Maryann Rivers-Moore)
I went back to KwaJobe with the Wildlands Conservation Trust this month, this was the first community to take up the Indigenous Trees for Life Project in 2004. KwaJobe is right near Mkhuze Game Reserve in the north of KwaZulu Natal, and hundreds of people in this community now grow indigenous trees from seed and trade them back to Wildlands for food, bicycles, agricultural goods and now people are growing enough trees to purchase Jojo tanks for rain water collection. In a community where water is collected from Muzi Pan, for some a good many kilometres walk, these Jojo tanks are a huge benefit and enable them to have clean drinking water.
The trees grown by the community members, once collected, are then planted back into this same community and the landowners who plant the trees are paid R2 for each planting, and a further R 1 per quarter that they keep that tree alive. I will write more about this side of the project, known as Greening your Future, and post more images, another time.
Maryann Shaw (Maryann Rivers-Moore)
This story I did a little while ago, highlights the Wildlands Conservation Trust's new Indigenous Trees for Life Programme, started in the Hilton area where the NGO is based, and where I live. ITFL was started five years ago in northern Zululand, and has spread to over 23 communities in KwaZulu Natal, as well as pilot projects in Gauteng (Vosloorus) and Mpumalanga (Luphisi near Nelspruit)
Click on image below to view story at readable size:
Amangwe Forest is near Kwambonambi in Zululand, near Richards Bay, and is a beautiful Indigenous Coastal Lowland Forest (the two dark green lung-like patches in the aerial pic below)
It is part of the unplanted areas owned by Mondi and they manage it to conserve the amazing biodiversity and special type of vegetation that it contains. There are rare and vulnerable species of plants, birds and animals that exist here. Managing the forest involves a large amount of alien invasive plant control, and particularly Pereskia aculeate.
The team is mainly made up of women, and they do a tough days work! They come across snakes, bugs and all sorts of creatures doing their job, never mind the back breaking physical work it involves.
I just thought I would post a few pics, as I have neglected blog posting horribly... happily because I am really busy and have some great projects and interesting work on the go, but I need to keep some info flowing here too.
I love the Fat Aubergine. I am off to have lunch there today and will be dropping off a CD of images I took of their delicious food.
Margie does cooking courses and catering as well.
Mobility magazine cover image of Victoria Mazabuko, aged 16. She bought her bicycle by growing indigenous trees at her home in KwaJobe in northern Zululand. (picture Maryann Shaw)
My story is about the "tree-preneurs", many of them school children, who through the Indigenous Trees for Life Programme are growing indigenous trees and trading them for goods. Many rural school children are "buying" bicycles this way, and no longer have to walk long distances to school each day.
Over a month into 2010 and it has been too long since I have posted on my blog. I have so much material I can add, but I need to make the time.
Towards the end of the year there were trips to Oribi Gorge, Underberg and Sani Valley Lodge and then a road trip from Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town before Christmas that took us meandering off the obvious routes and finding some interesting places to stay such as the tipis at Outeniqua Trout Lodge along the spectacular Prince Alfred's Pass....
Sani Valley Lodge was a rather luxury self catering affair, I usually go for a more rustic set up. The setting is stunning and fishing excellent, and it is as the name suggests, a good place for a day trip up Sani Pass. Here are a couple of pics from Sani Valley Lodge... I will post images from our travels as I get them processed for stories.
The KZN Wild Dog Project run by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) seeks to facilitate the expansion of the range for wild dogs in order to protect them as they move across KwaZulu Natal... click on the image below to view in readable size