E-Newsletter of the Kloof Conservancy
MARCH 2017
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Kloof Conservancy
Indigenous Open Gardens

We have a great line up of two well established gardens two young gardens and a small garden highlighting how nature can be used to enhance the quality of life for a young family.

The gardens are all within a relatively short distance of each other on an easy route so visitors can take their time to enjoy the gardens and soak in the beauty of the environments created by the passionate gardeners. The route for the gardens is printed on the tickets and is also available on our website

R60 will give access to all 5 gardens as well as the Tetley Tea Garden which this year is based at the Kloof Senior Priamary. At the Tetley Tea Garden visitors can enjoy the traditional cup-of tea or coffee and a slice of cake. We also have nurseries selling indigenous plants and garden crafts by metal/wire craftsmen will also be on sale.

Children under 12 are free as we do try to encourage young families to visit the gardens and experience the enhanced quality of life a healthy indigenous garden can provide. To keep the youngsters entertained we will be running a competition which involves an activity at each garden - entries will be available at all entry gates.

Visitors can also buy R10 tickets for our traditional raffle with some great prizes including a weekend away at Ezemvelo's Hilltop Camp in Hluhluwe, porcelain from Ento Ceramics, nursery voucher, books and more.

We are utilizing the latest payment technology and visitors can for the first time pay for the entry tickets and purchases at the tuck-shop with their cellphones using the ZAPPER cashless payment system - just load the ZAPPER app on your smartphone and payments are swift and easy!

For more details visit our website: www.kloofconservancy.org.za 
The Indigenous Open Gardens has traditionally been our major fund raising event and in the past these funds were used primarily to support Krantzkloof Nature Reserve. In 2012 we introduced the 3 Falls Trail Run to raise funds specifically for the reserve and this has freed up funds for us to use in our other projects such as Memorial Park, the Verge clearing project, Back-to-Nature events and the Molweni River Health Schools Project. So the garden show remains an essential fund raiser for the success of the conservancy.

If you support what the Kloof Conservancy stands for then please consider a donation by clicking on the DONATE button below (this is a secure PAYFAST account and the facility allows for secure EFT or Credit Card payments) or alternatively you could bequeath an amount to the Trust in your will - if you do this then please notify the trust at:


Best regards,
Paolo Candotti

Indigenous Open Gardens
The route for the gardens is compact and we recommend visitors follow the sequence starting at Garden 1 or in reverse sequence as those two options provide the most economical route.

Garden No1 - 33 Lyngarth Road, Kloof 
The home of Juliet and Anthony Stead - an amazing well established garden with a wide variety of interesting plant species. This garden is flat and suitable for people with walking difficulties. The Botanical Society of SA will be based at this garden as will the Flora and Fauna Publications Trust with their well known and popular authors in attendance. The "shift" roster for the authors is as follows:

Saturday morning       Geoff Nichols                Sunday morning          Elsa Pooley          
Saturday afternoon      Elsa Pooley                 Sunday afternoon        Richard Boon

Garden No2 - 75A Emolweni Road, Kloof
The home of Shirley and Robin Phillips. This garden is a recent conversion from an exotic garden with a large percentage of invasive alien species (still present in some neighbouring gardens.) It has a mix of sunny and shady species which provide great interest.

This is a difficult garden for those with walking difficulties due to the steep entrance driveway.

You will find Pat McKrill well known for his talks on reptiles at this garden and no doubt he will have a box of tricks!

Garden No3 -5 Mkongweni Road, Waterfall
The home of Lindi and Kevin Collett. This is a young garden for a young family and demonstrates what can be done in difficult terrain. It has an very interesting range of plant species and large rockery.

Also at this garden: The Lepidopterists Society of Africa will be on hand to discuss butterflies in your garden.

Garden No 4 - 9 Polela Road, Hillcrest

The home of Nonjabulo and Thami Hlongwa. Designed by Miles Steenhuizen this is a relatively young garden which has been converted from exotic to indigenous. It is designed to meet family needs with interesting features such as a traditional fire pit.

This garden is very flat and has very easy access. 

Lindsay Gray of the School of Garden Design will also be at this garden to assist visitors.

Garden No5 -14 Neville Road, Gillitts
The home of Carryn and Donovan Payne. This is an established garden originally designed by Phil Page but significantly altered recently by Donovan to accommodate his young family. The garden is in a stunning natural setting with a stream flowing through it and a very extensive range of indigenous species.

Also at this Garden: The Endangered Amphibian Programme (Dr Jeanne Tarrant) and KZN Reptile and Amphibian Conservation (Nick Evans)

Back-to-Nature Frog Evening
Our annual Back-to-Nature Frog evening in partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Endangered Amphibian Progress was held in the magnificent setting of Tanglewood Farm on Saturday 18 February. Over 300 people attended and participated in the various interactive educational activities before heading off for a frog hunt after dark. 

It was very pleasing to note that the majority of visitors were young families, including some who had come from as far as Hilton to enjoy a day out in nature!
Part of the crowd enjoying a late afternoon picnic next to the dam.
Frog-hoping was one of the popular activities!
Blowing foam to recreate frog eggs clusters was another popular activity! The Aller River Eco-champs attended the event and helped run some of the activity tables. This was a great learning experience for them and which will assist them with their project.
Molweni River Health Schools Project
The Molweni River Health Schools Project run by Kloof Conservancy is now in its fifth year and is as popular as ever amongst the seven participating high schools because it provides a great opportunity for learners to experience science at work in a practical manner and in the company of real scientists. Each of the seven teams is accompanied by a scientist and a logistics co-ordinator to ensure a valuable learning experience. After completing the testing using the miniSASS system the teams gather at the Krantzkloof Conference Centre to share their results. Different invertebrates tolerate different levels of pollution so the miniSASS system scores river health on the basis of the types of invertebrates found in any particular stretch of water.

The project is a joint venture with the eThekwini Municipality (Water and Sanitation, Coastal Stormwater, EPCP and Natural Resources), GCS Environmental Consultants, Royal Haskoning DHV Environmental Consultants, National Department of Environmental Affairs and the Krantzkloof Honorary Officers.
Hunting for bugs! Part of the fun is hunting and catching as many invertebrates as one can find as the miniSASS system scores the types of species found. The learners love this part of the project because they are in the river and are actively looking for bugs in the water, under the rocks and in the overhanging vegetation. In the photo below the team from Thomas More College in action.
The full team posing for a group photo at the Krantzkloof Conference Centre.
The main results from the testing on 1 March as shown in the table below. Please note that the miniSASS does not test for the bacterial contamination so the e-coli and pH results are kindly provided by eThekwini Water and Sanitation Department who are part of the project and test the samples collected in their laboratories.

The schedule below is from the Dusi Canoe marathon website and provides guidelines for canoeists on water quality - apologies for the small print but it is useful information and hopefully readers can enlarge it on screen to read it!
eThekwini Conservancies Add Value
The eThekwini Conservancies Forum (ECF) was formed in late 2014 with a view to strengthening the conservancies movement through better communication, increased collaboration and sharing experiences and resources where appropriate. The Forum has made great strides and the Aller River Pilot Project is its flagship project which is beginning to make a real impact in the way river health is perceived and addressed. But the Aller project is only one part of what conservancies do in eThekwini and the ECF Annual Report for 2016 has just been released and it consolidates the work done by the 28 conservancies. The report contains information on the objectives and progress of the conservancies as well listing many of the projects carried out by the individual conservancies.

Of great interest is the fact that conservancies in eThekwini contributed R9,0m in direct financial contribution and volunteer time. This is a significant contribution bearing in mind that all conservancies are run by volunteers and the figure does not take into account the much bigger picture of the value of ecological goods and services which are significantly enhanced by the work done by conservancies. 

Kloof Conservancy is an active role player in the ECF and is the implementing agent for the Aller River Pilot Project.

You can download the full report by clicking HERE
Kloof’s Flora and Fauna
(all the photographs are taken in the Kloof area)
Order: Neuroptera, Family: Ascalaphidae

Most of us are familiar with the antlions that build their inverted cone traps in sandy patches but we seldom get a chance to spot the adult winged form one of which is shown in the photo below,

Depending on the species, eggs are laid singly or in clusters, each on an individual stalk. Eggs are green when laid, then darken before hatching. Lacewings undergo complete metamorphosis with eggs hatching about 4 days after being laid, and larvae develop through three instars before pupating.

Antlion larvae eat small arthropods – mainly ants – while the adults of some species eat pollen and nectar, and others are predators of small arthropods. Lacewing larvae have long curved mandibles that look as if they could inflict a painful wound, but they do not bite or sting humans. Adult lacewings have mandibles that are in proportion to their bodies; adult lacewings also do not bite or sting humans.                                                                   Ref: http://bugguide.net/
Rain Spider with Nematodes
(Palystes superciliosus)
The following contribution is from one of our members Tim McClurg:

"I found this on my door-step this morning. It is a Rain spider (Palystes superciliosus) with three tightly coiled parasitic nematodes that had emerged from its abdomen.  A similar observation was reported from Mpumalanga in 2014 ( www.ispotnature.org/node/624782 ) but in this case there was only one nematode. This spider is common in our area and derives its name from the fact that it often seen during rainy weather when it tends to move indoors. Despite its fearsome appearance it does not pose a threat to humans. It is also targeted by Pompilid wasps which paralyse the spiders and then attach their eggs. The spider tissue serves as a fresh, ready meal for the hatchlings. It is sometimes referred to as a “reptile eating spider” as it includes geckos in its diet.   However it seems that this mainly involves indigenous dwarf geckoes (Lygodactylus) and  not the invasive Tropical House Gecko. Pity!"

Photo: Tim McClurg
Crab Spider
(Geraesta congoensis)

During a recent visit to Kloof, Peter Webb spotted a spider he did not recognise and after some careful checking he confirmed that this was a new species record for South Arica.

Crab spiders are not active hunters. They make more use of the camouflage techniques than other spiders. They do not make a web but catch their prey with their front legs. The color of the spider is adapted to the hunting terrain they use and is mostly extravagant.

Some crab spiders are capable of changing colors entirely. When prey approaches, the crab spider attacks and administers a poisonous bite. Crab spider venom is potent enough to render large insects immobile. It is not medically threatening to humans.
Ref: http://ednieuw.home.xs4all.nl/
Photo: Peter Webb
Stick Insects

The Phasmida (stick and leaf insects) are plant-eating insects often resembling sticks or broad leaves. They do not have their hindlegs adapted for jumping as in the closely related order  Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets and relatives). Whilst there are about 3000 species, only about 30 are leaf insects. 

In the daytime these typically long, slender stick-like insects remain remarkably well camouflaged in their habitat, commonly in woodlands, jungle or gardens. In fact, they may be present in gardens for years without being noticed. Go out at night with a torchlight and they are then active, walking about and feeding. Many are not the boring, placid twigs people imagine them to be. Some species have an amazing range of behaviour, including using spiny legs in defence, as well as chemical defences. They are prepared to shed a leg in an effort to escape (capable of re-growing later if the insects are pre-adults). A number of species are winged in at least one sex – sometimes the wings are brightly coloured and flashed open to startle a potential predator. In the absence of males, many species are able to reproduce by parthenogenesis (egg development without fertilisation) – a handy means of survival.
Ref: www.biodiversityexplorer.org
Please do e-mail photographs of any interesting sightings of Kloof’s flora and fauna to

We also encourage you to record your observations on SANBI’s citizen scientist project, iSpot. For more information visit:   www.ispot.org.za/
Plants that MUST be  'OUT' and those that  SHOULD be  'IN'
In this feature we highlight some invasive alien plants (IAPs) which are commonly found in Kloof and which must be removed from your garden in terms of the law. We also show suitable indigenous alternatives. We will concentrate on those IAPs that you may mistake as suitable because of their form, flowers or even fragrances but which are serious invaders.
OUT! - Woolly Plectranthus 
(Plectranthus barbatus var. grandis)
This species is often confused as an indigenous plant because it looks like many of our indigenous plectranthus species but it is actually quite different and is a terrible invader.
Originally from East Africa where it is also known as the Abyssinian coleus it has spread over large parts of Southern Africa including Durban and the Wild Coast.It grows to a height of 2m and has large hairy leaves. The blooms are 30cm long clusters of mauve flowers. It prefers part shade and moist areas. It readily out-competes our local indigenous plants and is therefore very detrimental to our natural vegetation.
IN! - Large Spur-flower Bush
(Plectranthus ecklonii)
The Plectranthus is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae) which has about 350 known species occurring world-wide ranging throughout Africa, India, Australia and even Japan. Of the 53 species in South Africa and Namibia it is those from the Eastern Cape and KZN that are most suitable as garden subjects. Plectranthus is not only very easy to grow, the plants also tolerate a wide range of conditions, from full shade through to full sun and from damp to dry.
The Large Spur-flower Bush is a shrub that can grow up to 2.5 metres in height. They are normally found in clearings in forests. It only occurs in the eastern regions of South Africa.

It provides a beautiful display of mauve flowers in the late summer months. The flowers line stalks that are up to 25 cm in length. Cultivated varieties have been produced with pink and white flowers. The leaves of the Large Spur-flower Bush are toothed along the edges and have small hairs on top.                       Ref: www.bluegnu.co.za/
Durban State of BIODIVERSITY
The Durban: State of Biodiversity Report: 2014/2015 was released in 2016 by the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department. This is a very important report for all residents of eThekwini as it is a quantified assessment of what is happening to the biodiversity of the city we live in. We have been reproducing sections of the report verbatim without comment in our e-newsletter not only inform you of the content but also to keep alive the debate on the importance of our biodiversity

This month we continue looking at those sections of the report that deal with the threats to the biodiversity of Durban and more specifically the Durban Invasives website and a continuation of the insights on the threats to our biodiversity
Click HERE to download the full report.
Actions You Can Take to Save Our Planet!
Action 125
Volunteer for a stream-clean up

The rivers of Durban are in big trouble and eThekwini Conservancies are working on the problem with the pilot project on the Aller River and there are more projects in the pipeline. But there is much to do so you should not wait for the conservancies to get things done - just get stuck in and help clean-up the stream at the end of your property - join a volunteer group or form your own group  - every bit helps!

Action 126
Look After the entire eco-cycle

Humans tend to be picky sometimes in terms of what they want to protect. We all live in finely balanced eco-systems which rely on all their components to function correctly - remove one element and there is a risk of the entire system collapsing. So its important to look after the entire system and accept that each species has an important role to play - yes even snakes!
Diary of Events
19 March
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve – 4hr Guided Walk R35pp Start @ 08h00 - meet at Kloof Falls Picnic Site - gentle walk!

25 / 26 MARCH
Indigenous Open Gardens - 5 gardens on show in Kloof / Waterfall / Hillcrest + plant specialists, well known gardening authors, childrens' treasure hunt and more. Visit our website for more details: www.kloofconservancy.org.za

2 April
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve – 6hr Guided Walk R35pp Start @ 08h00 Please note that the 6hr walks will now start at the Nkutu Picnic Site in Valley Drive - strenuous walk.
8 April
Msinsi CCA Invasive Alien Clearing Day – meet on Msinsi Road from 08:15 – all welcome !
8 April
Glenholme Nature Reserve – 1,5hr Guided Walk – FREE. Start at the Tea Garden @ 10h00 – Includes Historical Display!
12 April
Springside Nature Reserve, Hillcrest – Guided Walk NOTE: Summer starting time  07h30      
Phone: Sue 031 765 6809  
16 April
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve – 4hr Guided Walk R35pp Start @ 08h00 - meet at Kloof Falls Picnic Site - gentle walk!

7 May

Krantzkloof Team Trail Run - build team spirit and enter your company team of 4 runners to run in relay on the route of the well know 3 Falls Trail Run in Krantzkloof Nature Reserve - details on our website.  www.kloofconservancy.org.za
25 May
Book your diary for the Kloof Conservancy Annual General Meeting - 5:50pm for 6pm at the Krantzkloof Conference Centre
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