Wilderness trails in Mpushini Valley

2008-04-02 00:00

The Lower Mpushini Valley Conservancy invites Pietermaritzburg gardeners and nature lovers to take part in the annual Open Wilderness Trails weekend on Saturday and Sunday. This event celebrates the amazing biodiversity of this beautiful valley-bushveld area.

Seven venues will be open to the public offering a variety of guided and self-guided trails. The trails vary from short easy walks that will suit all ages to more rigorous self-guided trails for the more fit and adventurous walkers.

Ipithi’s trail starts at Nature’s Hideaway (venue six) and ends on Galago Farm (venue three) with a return trip either through the valley or via the district road (a total distance of six kilometres).

There is a self-guided trail for bird watchers open from 6 am at Spencers Place (venue five) and shorter walks for bird lovers at Inzebushez (venue two) of 15 minutes. Walks on Galago Farm (venue three) include a children’s trail (Tufty’s Trail — 30 minutes) and on Sunday morning a prayer walk along Mtini’s Trail (7.30 am to 8 am) and meditative trail (8 am to 10 am) along the Mpushini Riverine allow visitors to reflect and give thanks to their Creator.

The highlights of the weekend include a talk by indigenous gardening expert, Elsa Pooley, to be held at the tea garden on Galago Farm (venue three) on Saturday from 2 pm to 3 pm. Garth Carpenter will be giving a talk on the wildlife of the area with an emphasis on the snakes and reptiles that inhabit the valley at venue two, Astia, off Eland Drive, Ashburton East.

Conservancy chairman, Neville Durow, will be entertaining children with animal stories of the valley at Nature’s Hideaway (venue six) before leading them on a guided trail.

Indigenous gardening guru, Grantin Law of Val-lea Vista Nursery, always a firm favourite at the Open Wilderness Trails weekend, will have a selection of indigenous plants for sale at Galago Farm (venue three) and will offer his valued advice to gardeners.

For those just wanting to relax, experience treetop birdwatching with special valley resident and birding guide, Merrywyn Pieterse, at Inzibushez (venue two), enjoy a cup of tea and cake with the magical sounds of the St Joseph’s marimba band (Saturday afternoon) and Jonny Zest and friends (Sunday afternoon) at Galago Farm.

On Saturday evening from 5 pm Keith and Kathy Brown invite families to join them at the beer garden for a magnificent sunset and bring and braai (beer and cooldrinks on sale) at Impala Bend (venue seven). Book for an exciting night walk led from this venue by Neville Durow at 6.30 pm.

The Lower Mpushini Valley is situated in Ashburton East, only 10 minutes from Pietermaritzburg. Trails will be open from 10 am to 4 pm, or as advised in the programme. An entrance fee of R20 is payable at any of the seven venues. All walkers should apply a tick repellent such as citronella oil, Tabard or Peaceful Sleep to their legs.

• For further inquiries, phone Darlene Bond at 082 933 5036 or Merrywyn Pieterse at 072 147 8247. To book the night walk, phone Neville Durow at 082 708 4285.

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