‘Smorning I went for the worst nature walk I’ve been on in my laaf! This was May 2015.
I knew I shouldna gone, but friends said come and I thought ‘don’t be a recluse all your life.’ So forty fools wandered through a coastal grassland and riverine forest starting long after 9am. Brats as young as three scurrying around underfoot. NOT my style!
Not a leaf stirred, not a birds turd.
Got home at noon and saw more birds and blomma cheese in ten minutes than on the whole 2,5hr walk. We live and don’t learn.
Make no mistake, Roosfontein is a beautiful grassland and riverine spot and well worth a visit. Early morning best, small group best. Ah, well, I took Jess along and she got some exercise.
feature pic on top is from Amblers hiking club – thanks!
One year later, a decades-long struggle by environmentalists finally succeeded with the official proclamation of the Roosfontein Nature Reserve.
The nature reserve, which will now be preserved for future generations, borders the Westville Prison and is being preserved to protect the endangered rare dwarf chameleon, North Coast grasslands and medicinal plants.
The land had been earmarked for a golf course, stadium and casino in the past, but environmental activists fought for its preservation.
Richard Boon, manager in biodiversity planning at the eThekwini Municipality, said the nature reserve covered 213 hectares, with a further 20 hectares near the nature reserve earmarked for housing projects.
Dr Debra Roberts, deputy head of environmental planning and climate protection, said it was a joyous moment that the reserve had finally been proclaimed such and recounted how they had negotiated with the Westville mayor pre-1994 not to misuse the land.
She said the challenge for Durban and African cities now was to create uniquely African cities that were not made in the image of mini-European cities.
“We’ve had to decolonise our minds,” she said. “We need to be uniquely African, like when you go to Rio or Nairobi, they have huge natural parks and savannahs. Our cities have to be different and must play a different role.
“Look at the beautiful grass hills, these are a valuable resource. That is why a golf course on that land was not part of building an African city, that is why we started lobbying 30 years ago, we said we think this is valuable and we need to protect it for the future and keep Roosfontein free of development,” she said.
Well done Richard and Debra and Mayor Nxumalo!
blomma cheese – blommetjies; flowers
Always wanted to see Roosfontein. About 10 years ago I drove to Westville prison gates and turned left driving under the high tension electrical cables down to the river. It really does feel miles from the City. Wild. I worry if these parks are not used we will lose them in the long term. Just look at Bay Mangroves – fought for years to save them, and few visit. Umgeni Mangroves not open to the public – you have to book a party to get in. Most parks are under-utilised in Durban.
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I agree. We really do need to think of ways to better utilise our natural areas. “Use them or lose them” will happen! After all, people can legitimately say “You’re not using them let us develop them.”