by Peter Baxter | www.southafricalogue.com
In the modern world, ‘wild’ as far as nature is concerned is a relative concept. It is enough, perhaps, that an area of natural beauty is not utterly trampled by urban development, or destroyed by irresponsible land use, for it to deserve the term ‘wild’. Certainly this is the case in the developing world, and most particularly along the earth’s tropical coastlines. The Wild Coast of South Africa’s Eastern Cape, although hardly wild, is by comparison to the KZN (Kwa-Zulu Natal) South Coast in a different world altogether. It is a gorgeous natural environment, comprising the signature open grasslands and hill country of the south coast, with deep cut ravines peppered with groves of aloe, and deep tidal estuaries cloaked on either bank with rich and unsullied riparian forest. There is no sign anywhere of mock Tuscan gated developments, of strip malls or the blanket sugar estates so ubiquitous throughout the region. It is moreover an environment fiercely protected by both a large cohort of outside environmentalists and significant numbers of local community members. The latter, almost uniquely, have successfully resisted the temptation to climb into bed with property developers and sell the long term integrity of their landscape for short term profit.
The Environmental Frontline
Currently, however, the issue is less property development and more highway construction and strip mining. The controversy in the first instances involves the extension of the ubiquitous toll road system, that is the pride of the South African transport infrastructure, through the Transkei, and secondly whether to grant Australian mining conglomerate, Minerals Commodities Limited, and Local Black Economic Empowerment group Xolobeni Empowerment Company, license to dune mine substantial base metal reserves along the coast. While the intricacies of this contest are beyond the scope of this narrative, they do broadly pit local concerns against central and international financial interests. At the core is the question of land ownership, which, in the case of the wild coast, is land owned by the state and held in trust for the people.
OFF THE GRID LIVING!
VERY RURAL, VERY REAL, AWESOME!
In a small Pondo village named Entwebeni, Mngcibe you will find Freedom O Clock.
Freedom O Clock is owned and managed by Otto, Lu and little Coral-Bella, who all have a great love for nature and the ocean. Your surroundings offer you accommodation situated in a rural and remote area…..faaaar away from the maddening crowds.
For some cool footage of the other side of "The Hole", check http://youtu.be/wWisCZKXUQo
On 15th October 2012 Richard set off from the SA-Namibia border on his second attempt at an epic surf ski adventure to paddle the whole 2600-kilometre South African coastline, ending at the Mozambique border.
The adventure is raising money for the Miles for Smiles foundation.
Check www.facebook.com/Paddlingforsmiles for updates and donor information. Click on "LIVE surfski tracking" to follow Richard:
Free Wifi available
Bar open from 7am - Late
Restaurant open from 7am to 10pm
Vegetarian and Vegan options available.
Gift Shop: local and interesting products to browse from.
Directions: When you enter town, at the intersection turn left and take the second right. Following the signs for Amapmondo and second beach.
Under the expert care of the new owner/management team of Ian and Lynn Crawford (of Crawford's Beach Lodge fame), Ocean View now has more to offer than ever before!
Ocean View Hotel - COFFEE BAY
P.O. Box 566 Umtata 5099
to the scenic splendour of the rugged Wild Coast that makes Trennerys Hotel the perfect destination for the wild at heart – a place that abounds with the peace and tranquillity of paradise… Situated at Qolora Mouth, just a short drive north of East London, the hotel still maintains its old-world charm and its unique, South African hospitality.
Set in idyllic Transkei surroundings, views from the hotel range from the stunning Wild Coast beaches to the green and lush, tropical vegetation. Close to the beach and with plenty to do – from hiking and cycling, to fishing and canoeing – Trennerys Hotel is everybody’s first-choice, affordable family getaway.
She offers basic treatments such as dipping, deworming, treatment of wounds, and replacement of old and harmful tack, such as bridles and saddles, with donated equipment.
She will shave her hair off at a public event in East London on 1 September 2012.
Regular photos and updates are uploaded on the Facebook group "Hole in the Wall Horse Project".
Please support this worthwhile cause.
Email Marlene Els at email@example.com, or phone 078-2507980.
On Wednesday, 2012-08-08 the Amadiba Crisis Committee filed an Objection against the prospecting right application made by Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources SA:
The objection was filed jointly by the ACC and Sun International, which operates the Wild Coast Sun resort adjacent to the proposed mining area.
* TEM is ineligible for a new grant of prospecting rights because their application is redundant: they have already prospected the site, and are therefore merely attempting to hoard the rights. This transparent ploy creates more uncertainty and directly impedes development of the tourism potential in and through the area;
* Prospecting and mining activities cannot take place in the Xolobeni region at all because it is within an already designated Marine Protected Area (MPA). The tiny Pondoland Centre of Endemism (PCE), where the mining is proposed, is the second most florastically abundant region in Southern Africa, and one of only 26 such species rich places on earth;
* Mining the area will lead to unacceptable environmental and social harm. The objection clearly states the inevitable outcome of the limited short-term capital gain operations versus the long-term (infinite) sustainability of eco-tourism: Mining will irreversibly degrade the ecology, sense of place, and appeal of the area.
* The community will be displaced. The unacceptable outcomes of strip-mining include, inter-alia:
1. Forced eviction from their ancestral lands:
2. Loss of access to farmland for both crops and livestock, leading to subsequent loss of income, means of subsistence, and way of life;
3. Decreased viability of subsistence agriculture and fishing due to dust fallout;
4. Risk to irrigation from declining ground water sources;
5. Relocation/destruction of ancestral graves;
6. Destruction of culturally important archaeological sites;
7. Loss of current tourism and potential eco-tourism opportunities in the area, as Kwanyana camp, which is pivotal for accessing trails, will not be able to be used by tourists for lifetime of the mine; and
8. Irreversible damage to residents' sense of place, which is closely associated with unspoiled character and traditional use of the land.
9. Basically, irreversible degradation to the environment for a short term gain of $6 billion.
Please sign our petition at www.causes.com/wildcoast for the Wild Coast to be declared a "no-go" area for mining once and for all.
Nqileni is home to a vibrant rural community where times have sometimes been tough; migrant labour has taken its toll on family structure and health service & education have been difficult to access. But in spite of these challenges, the typical scene at sunset is children singing beautiful harmonies as they walk up the hills together on their way home, Mama’s laughing together as they collect water from nearby springs while men and boys effortlessly herd their cattle home to their kraals. The Xhosa traditions are strongly adhered to and are respected by Traditionalists and the Religious alike.
Email Reservations to:
HELP PUT A PERMANENT STOP TO:
Mining of the Wild Coast dunes
The 'Greenfields' section of the N2 Toll road through Pondoland
Funds raised by your purchase of this calendar go to support residents of Pondoland's Wild Coast, in their ongoing battle to protect and conserve their living landscapes and prevent the shredding of their social fabric by the two massive development schemes.
They need support to gain access to information and effective legal representation in their planned court challenge, over government`s failure to engage them in open and transparent decision making about the N2 Wild Coast `Troll` Road, and the award of mining rights for the Xolobeni mineral sands. The `developments` will benefit cash-rich outsiders and be paid for by cash-poor rural residents and the natural environment.
This is more than just a calendar.
It is a collaborative work of art that magnifies the spectacular natural beauty of the place and amplifies the heartfelt convictions of the people on how development decisions ought to be made in a democratic society.
. A3 wall calendar with wiro binding
. Beautiful photographs taken by world renowned environmental photographer, Cheryl Alexander
Page a month with challenging quotes from traditional leaders, elected local political representatives and youth activists.
£1 (GBP) from the sale of each book will be donated to Sustaining the Wild Coast (www.swc.org.za), a registered NPO responsible for halting the mining at Xolobeni, and currently waging a protracted legal battle, alongside the Pondoland residents, to stop the N2 troll road.
Click on the pic to order your copy: or here: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/905621
The Ama-Xhosa of the Transkei - by Deryck Lang. Edited by Dianne Lang
Deryck spent his life among the amaXhosa in the Transkei, and was a respected member and Elder of the amaTshezi; the foremost clan of the Bomvana tribe. The photographs he took are a testament of his enduring love of the people, and their deep respect for him.
Few, if any, outsiders have been as privileged to photograph tribal customs and ceremonies, to share in their fortunes and their sorrows; and to live amongst them their entire life. Deryck captured an intimate glimpse into what could sadly be the end of a cultural era.
Deryck was a true African in the deepest sense of the word, a man who epitomised the meaning of "Ubuntu" and "Umntu Ngumntu Ngabantu".
Lala Ngoxolo Mdesaleni
For those planning on traveling around South Africa, there is a very convenient backpacker-geared transportation service called Baz Bus. Basically, they provide transportation between backpackers/hostels in major destinations with door-to-door service. They also sell a type of ticket which allows you to hop on/hop off wherever you want for a fixed price. Personally, I decided not to go with Baz Bus because I wanted to get a local feel of South Africa by traveling as locals do. However, I would say 90% of the people I met used Baz Bus to get around. Here are some pros and cons that I found with Baz Bus (having to take it occasionally out of necessity):
My advice is to try a bit of both and see what suits your style of traveling. Either way, you’ll get to experience South Africa and all that it has to offer!
Baz Bus website: http://www.bazbus.com
http://www.themercury.co.za/wild-coast-toll-road-decision-is-shameful-1.... July 29 2011 at 11:29am
Wild Coast toll road decision is shameful
SILLY, silly me. All these years I have laboured under the illusion that the prime duty of the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs and its minister was to protect our water resources and be the steward of our environment.
That is the role that was played in the past when the ministries were separate, by ministers like Kader Asmal and Valli Moosa.
But now it increasingly seems as though the ministry, under Edna Molewa, has abdicated its stewardship role, and has again become a Cinderella ministry that bows to pressure from big business, industry and more “senior” government ministries.
How else to explain two recent decisions which are totally inimical to the future of our wild areas and of our environment?
Minister of Water & Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, has approved the controversial N2 tollroad through the environmentally sensitive Pondoland Centre of Endemism.
In a 21 page fax sent out to IAPs she dismissed all 49 appeals lodged in objection to the new road. What is clear is that the minister is being a "loyal cadre" and carrying out the wishes of the ANC, while betraying her office and responsibilities to the environment.
Download the Fax here: 184635892.pdf
26 of the appeals were dismissed out of hand due to the fact that they address socio-economic impacts of the tolling; which was the responsibility of the dept of transport and the SANRAL Act.
Concerns about ribbon, or linear development were not possible to consider because it would be based on only "potential future developments" and were dismissed.
A major concern addressed by numerous appeals was SANRAL's bias towards the new 75km section of road between Lusikisiki and Mzamba and against the upgrading of the existing R61. The "Terms of Reference for Environmental Consultant N2 Wild Coast Toll Road Project" (TOR) included a requirement that there must be "due consideration of alternative options and a strong motivation for excluding the R61 and current N2 as alternative options".
Opponents of the N2 toll road that will snake through the Wild Coast are ready to take their battle to the highest court following the controversial road's approval by Environment Minister Edna Molewa this week.
The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has fought tooth and nail to build the road from Durban to East London for the past 10 years but has faced fierce opposition from environmentalists, the local community and civil society.
Sanral argues that the Wild Coast community is one of the poorest in the country and would be well served by the development of a road system to encourage tourism and open up the region to economic opportunities.
"We are shocked by the decision, but not really surprised," said Cormac Cullinan, lawyer for the local community opposing the road. "Considering the political support this project had, it was just a matter of time before the road was approved."
Two years ago, before appeals were lodged against the road, Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka told the SABC: "The N2 road is going ahead. We will make sure that this thing goes ahead."
A crowd of bemused holiday makers gathered on the beach at Hole in the Wall yesterday where a small penguin had set ashore nursing an injured leg. As it is tagged (S29329), it definitely has had human contact before and seems to have landed at the busiest beach in the area specifically looking for help from humans. Especially as it is over 1000km away from its usual habitat.
The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus, Xhosa name: Nombombiya, and also known as the Black-footed Penguin) is an endangered species and there are fewer than 100,000 left in the world.
A hiker from nearby Coffee Bay turned out to be a marine biologist from Hawaii, and advised Charlene from Hole in the Wall Hotel on the correct care for the docile, cute little fuzzy, who whacked down 4 sards for dinner, and another 3 for breakfast this morning.
Cher-a-Don Mkulu Kei Horse Trails is an award winning, owner-run horse trail company established in 1998.
We offer guided horse trekking vacations on well trained horses for all riding abilities, catering from small to large groups, offering short day rides as well as multi-day trekking along the Wild Coast.
Beginners to advanced riders of all ages are welcome. Beach rides are approximately 2 hours, leaving at 9:30am and 2:30pm every day. Booking is essential. Our overnight Wild Coast horse trails into the Transkei, range from 2 to 12 days, hopping from hotel to hotel along the pristine coast line.
We also offer volunteer/ career break/ gap year opportunities for anyone who would like to take part in a working holiday.
A warm welcome and an unforgettable equestrian experience await all visitors to Mkulu Kei Horse Trails.
See you in the saddle soon! Website: www.mkulukeihorsetrails.co.za
This inaugural event is to be held over the June long weekend which is fortuitously timed over a full moon so that runners can take advantage of golden miles of hard-pack beach on the spring low-tide with less probability of rain and comfortable daily temperature.
The daily run/hike distances are within easy reach of the social jogger and avid hiker with a keen sense of adventure. If you're not sweating for a podium placing, there's plenty of time each day to kick off your shoes, catch your breath under the cool shade of a milkwood or take a refreshing dip in the ocean along the way. The route is unmarked and unmanned, but basic maps will be provided and keeping the sea on your left will guide you to the finish each day. Participants will race as pairs and for those teams competing for a podium position, there will be optional diversions to collect checkpoints along the route
Participants can expect some of the most spectacular ‘wild running’ terrain. Cattle and fishermen paths provide clear tracks up and over the grassy headlands peppered by Nguni's and brightly painted traditional kraals.
The spectacular cliffs south of Morgan Bay will give you a bird’s eye view of the rugged beauty of this coastline whilst the rusting carcasses of numerous shipwrecks passed on route bear testimony to the dynamic energy of this wild coastline. Participants should also be prepared for some river crossings – depending on the time and tide these could mean an ankle wetting for some and a refreshing swim for others.
A SEA Pledge is a commitment everyone can make through a written and or monetary pledge to treat the seas, estuaries, coasts and oceans in an environmentally friendly manner. SEA Pledge is more than just a pledge; it is about achieving sustainability, creating opportunities, impacting lives and changing people’s life choices through Sustainable Education and Skills Centres, which will provide education and skills training to help marginalized people who depend upon the seas and other natural resources to find alternative forms of livelihoods and alleviate poverty, while promoting sustainable practices. SEA Pledge and SEAS Centres will be officially launched during COP 17 in a spectacular, fun event that aims to set world records among surfers, divers, swimmers, anglers, yachters, shipping-lines and many others. Visit: www.seacc.org.za/projects/10 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how YOU can get involved! "