INFO LETTER ARCHIVE

LATEST INFO LETTER

June 2022

  • Encounter the spirit of the wolf at the Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary
  • Learn more about the Kouga Dam near Patensie
  • Discover Somerset East’s Walter Battiss Art Museum
  • Did you know that Nelson Mandela Bay is called 5 Biome City?
  • Meet Huberta the Hippo

May 2022

  • The history of Bathurst’s Pig and Whistle Hotel
  • Discover Somerset East’s Glen Avon Waterfall
  • Learn more about Beervlei Dam near Willowmore
  • Animals of the Eastern Cape – The Flightless Dung Beetle
  • Crossing the Storms River Mouth suspension bridge

April 2022

  • The history of Hankey in the Gamtoos Valley
  • Visit the museums of Graaff Reinet
  • Learn more about Darlington Dam
  • Animals of the Eastern Cape – The Cape Ground Squirrel
  • Discover Takazi Waterfall on the Wild Coast
  • Video – Tour the Tsitsikamma forest on a Segway

March 2022

  • Slide down the Rabbit Hole near Middelburg with food out of this world
  • Marvel at Hogsback’s Madonna and Child Waterfall
  • Visit Port St Francis, home to the chokka industry
  • Learn about the Cape Morgan Lighthouse
  • Crossing the Buffalo River in East London
  • Video – Tsitsikamma, a world of diversity

February 2022

  • Meet Samara Private Game Reserve tracker Klippers Pietersen
  • The Dutch Reformed Church in Kareedouw
  • Jump into the river pool at Jan se Gat outside Jbay
  • Download the Amazing Addo wildlife checklist
  • Find the cathedral mice in Grahamstown
  • Video – Algoa Bay Whale Heritage Site

January 2022

  • Discover Eersterivier, the Tsitsikamma’s beach
  • Explore the dune fields along the Alexandria Hiking Trail
  • Climb up to Hankey’s Bergvenster
  • Learn more about the village of Rhodes
  • Did you know Hofmeyr had a pink church?
  • 10 Things to do in Coffee Bay
  • All the must see places on the Karoo Heartland Bucketlist
  • Video – Hike along to the Lower Van Stadens Dam

November 2021

  • Explore the Shell Museum in Jeffrey’s Bay
  • Marvel at the Tsitsikamma’s Big Tree
  • Learn more about the town of Alexandria on Route 72
  • Meet the Stone Folk of Nieu-Bethesda
  • Have you heard of the Martello Tower in Fort Beaufort?
  • SANParks announce the dates for this years SANParks Week
  • Discover the #AmazingAddo region with a Bucketlist
  • Video – Enjoy Nelson Mandela Bay’s brand new destination marketing video

October 2021

  • Discover the secret cove at Shelly Beach in Kenton
  • Walk the Waterfall Trail in the Tsitsikamma
  • Taste honey at Pabala in the Gamtoos Valley
  • A breakdown of all the Eastern Cape’s municipalities
  • Your own Addo Elephant National Park game viewing area road map
  • Learn more about the Wild Coast legend of Nongqawuse
  • Explore Makhanda and the Frontier Country with a Bucketlist
  • Video – The sights and sounds of the Karoo Heartland, the Eastern Cape’s big sky country.

September 2021

  • The oldest cake in South Africa is found in Graaff-Reinet
  • More information about Storms River Bridge
  • St Francis Bay’s Seal Point Lighthouse
  • The Diaz Cross at Kwaaihoek on Route 72
  • Learn more about the history of Hogsback
  • Wild Coast Bucket List to plan a visit to this stunning area
  • Video – Explore the Addo region with an #AmazingAddo destination video

August 2021

  • Hiking and cycling trails in the Tsitsikamma’s Plaatbos forest
  • Visit the Wild Coast to cross the Kei River by pont
  • Swing by Egg Rock outside Cradock
  • Enjoy the view from Sir Percy Fitzpatrick Lookout near Addo
  • Discover the Old Thomas River Historical Village between Stutterheim and Cathcart.
  • Tick off activities from the Route 72 Bucket List 
  • Video – Kouga Baviaans region

July 2021

  • The legend of Hole in the Wall on the Wild Coast
  • Bo fly fishing in the Karoo outside Somerset East
  • Hiking in the Kabeljous Nature Reserve outside Jbay
  • A little history on the Addo Elephant National Park that turned 90 this month
  • Info on the labyrinth in Hogsback
  • A travel Bucket List of the Tsitsikamma
  • Video – Route 72 on the Sunshine Coast

June 2021

  • The history of Storms River Village
  • Information on the Baviaanskloof
  • The historic Dutch Reformed Church in Nieu-Bethesda
  • Learn more about the Sundays River
  • A guide to hiking and the waterfalls in Hogsback
  • An infograph on the Waters Meeting Nature Reserve outside Port Alfred
  • Video – Wild Coast

May 2021

  • The history of the Van Stadens bridges
  • How water gets from Gariep Dam via the Karoo Heartland to Port Elizabeth
  • Comprehensive visitor’s guide to Bathurst
  • Meet the Big 7 with Addo Tourism
  • Video – Discover the Tsitsikamma
*|MC:SUBJECT|*
Encounter our Eastern Cape newsletter

In the June 2022 issue of Firefly the Travel Guy’s Encounter our Eastern Cape Travel Letter

  • Encounter the spirit of the wolf at the Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary

  • Learn more about the Kouga Dam near Patensie

  • Discover Somerset East’s Walter Battiss Art Museum

  • Did you know that Nelson Mandela Bay is called the 5 Biome City?

  • Meet Huberta the Hippo

If there is something that you would like to see featured in our monthly “travel letter” or have any suggestions, please drop us a mail at jonker@fireflyafrica.co.za

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Encounter the spirit of the wolf in the Tsitsikamma

Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary wolves

Wolves are common throughout tales and stories, folklore, religion and mythology. There was Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf; the three little pigs had a run-in with a wolf; Romulus and Remus, the future founders of Rome, were raised by a she-wolf; Kevin Costner danced with wolves; the American Native Indians have a close relationship with wolves and when the full moon rises, the werewolves appear.

But did you know that there are wolves in the Tsitsikamma? No, not actually in the forest and mountain, but you can see them at the Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary. The sanctuary is the first and oldest Wolf Sanctuary in South Africa and is a registered non-profit company. They provides a safe-haven for grey timber wolves and high-content wolf dogs that have been rescued or confiscated for their own protection and wellbeing.

Visitors can experience these majestic creatures when visiting the sanctuary and have a day of real enjoyment in the outdoors overlooking the forests and mountains of the Tsitsikamma while coming face to face with the spirt of the Wolf.

You can even sit inside a real tepee and listen to the wolves howling as you wait for your delicious gourmet Bonfire Burger being prepared, or bring your own picnic and enjoy amongst the wolf enclosures in the picnic area. Rustic accommodation is also available to bring you even closer to these animals.

Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary

The Kouga Dam

The Kouga Dam in the Gamtoos Valley

The Kouga Dam in the Gamtoos Valley was built between 1957 and 1969 and became the first double curvature (cupola) arch dam in South Africa. The dam and main canal supply water to the farmers in the Gamtoos Valley for agricultural irrigation (72% of total use), the towns of Patensie and Hankey, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (28% of use). The water to Nelson Mandela Bay goes through the purification works at the Loerie Dam site by means of an outlet control tower and tunnel.

The dam wall stands 94 m high and the dam has a storage capacity of 125 million m³. The catchment area covers an area of 388 700h through parts of the Langkloof and Baviaanskloof with the Groot River originating near Avontuur.

It was originally called the Paul Sauer Dam but was renamed in 1995.

The Kouga Dam level currently stands at an alarming 13.8%

Read more about the Gamtoos Irrigation Board

The Walter Battiss Art Museum in Somerset East

Walter Battiss Art Museum in Somerset E ast

The building housing the Walter Battiss Art Museum was built in 1818 during the time of Somerset Farm (before the town of Somerset East was established in 1825) and used as an Officers Mess for British troops stationed on the eastern Frontier.

The cast-iron fence was transported by wagon from Cape Town. Yellowwood from the Boschberg Mountain provided wood and beams for some partitions of the first floor. Several fireplaces still in the building have the royal coat of arms built into them while the Victorian veranda was added later.

Walter Wahl Battiss was born in Somerset East in 1906. By 1814 the family rented 45 Paulet Street, and ran it as the Battiss Private Hotel. Unfortunately by 1917 when Walter was 11, the family left Somerset East.

The Walter Battiss Art Museum was officially opened on 24 October 1981. Battiss was present on the day, and donated 65 of his private collection of artworks to “the people of Somerset East. He died in 1982.

After extensive deterioration, the gallery was closed to the public at the end of 1999, and reopened on 5 November 2004, after restoration. Battiss was generally considered to be the foremost South African water colours and abstract painter and known as the creator of the quirky “Fook Island” concept. Today the museum houses a permanent exhibition on the works of Battiss, including watercolours, oils, rock art and Fook Island.

The museum is open weekdays from 10:00 to 14:00.

Learn more about the Walter Battiss Foundation

Nelson Mandela Bay – The 5 Biome City

Flightless Dung beetle

Nelson Mandela Bay represents a large percentage of South Africa’s biological diversity in that it is a meeting point for 5 of the 7 South African Biomes, namely the Thicket, Grassland, Nama-Karoo, Fynbos and Forest Biomes. The area also boast a significant amount of endemic species i.e. species that are only found here and nowhere else in the world. Such a concentration of biomes, particularly within a city, is unparalleled in the world and results in an extraordinary diversity of landscapes, plants and animals.

A biome is a broad classification of vegetation according to the kinds of plants that occur in the area, which is influenced by factors such as soil and climate. A biome is not usually found only in one part of the country. Depending on the climate and features of the landscape, a particular biome can be distributed in patches, like forest in the kloofs of mountains all over the country.

A number of municipal nature reserves have been included in the 5 Biome City brochure and a mosaic of these 5 Biomes could be experienced in these reserves.

Read more about the 5 Biome City

Huberta the Hippo

Huberta the Hippo in the Amathole Museum

The best known exhibit in the Amathole Museum in King Williams Town must surely be Huberta the Hippo. Huberta’s story starts in February 1928, when a Hippo named Hubert decided to go on a remarkable journey. He was eventually found out to be a female and her name was changed to Huberta.

Huberta's journey south

Huberta’s journey started when she left the St Lucia Estuary in northern KZN and travelled over 1600 kilometers over a period of 3 years. She traveled by night leaving nothing but the occasional spoor and managed to mostly evade the onslaught of journalists and curious bystanders. Her trek made headlines and she became quite the international celebrity. There were several failed attempts to capture her, but as her travels had garnered local and national attention the Natal Provincial Council declared her to be Royal Game and hunting her to be illegal.

Huberta the hippo after being shot

After crossing 122 rivers the roaming hippo reached a river in the Eastern Cape. A month or so later, tragically, farmers shot her dead. The public outcry was enormous. The farmers were subsequently each given a hefty fine. With many in mourning her body was sent to a taxidermist in London. When she was shipped back to South Africa around 20,000 people welcomed her home! Today her body stands proudly in the Amathole Museum in King Williams Town.

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