FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 7

It is the end of the year, and we are all doing our best to finish tasks, commitments and goals before we go on holiday. Christmas is around the corner, and I am sure you are also looking forward to a well-deserved break. Looking for the ideal Christmas gift?

Why not give someone our FoBCA Flower Guide as a Christmas present? This colour-coded light-weight booklet at R100 only, is handy not just when walking on the Coastal Dune Trail, but all over the Western Cape. It contains beautiful pictures of the fynbos species, while highlighting important characteristics of each plant. At the back of the book is a Quick Guide, so get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year and go find it!

The booklets are available at the following outlets:

  • Starke Ayres Sunningdale
  • Stodels Milnerton
  • Plants on 6th, Melkbosstrand.

Flower Guide

Low flying aircraft along our beaches

The FoBCA and members of the public have in the past repeatedly observed and expressed concern about helicopters flying low over many areas of the Bloubergstrand/Melkbosstrand areas as well as inland over the Blaauwberg Reserve. This has been reported many times to the Civil Aviation Authority, and while the low flying behaviour over the inland section of the Reserve has ceased, it is still occurring along the beach and between the beach dunes, with the aircraft flying at high speed and extremely low level. The FoBCA regards this as extremely risky behaviour in view of the beaches and public facilities being very busy with locals and tourists either walking, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, kite surfing, fishing, boating, yachting and enjoying motorised paragliding. An aggravation is the thunderous bellowing sound of its engines, breaking noise levels. Not just humans are affected, but it is also a disturbance to the bird life along the coast.

The aviation lowest level is 500ft, and in public areas 1000ft. We estimate though that the helicopters fly as low as 100ft and very close to the shore break. With the busy holiday season looming, the FoBCA is very concerned that this irregular conduct might cause accidents and affect the tranquil beach atmosphere.

The CAA needs evidence in order to take decisive action, ie the aircraft registration number and photographs indicating the low flight. We are calling on our members, their friends and family to help with this. If you spot a low flying aircraft (even if you don’t know how low it is) showing what could be illegal behaviour, please take photographs, and capture the details. Send the details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This will be much appreciated. Battle of Blaauwberg Commemoration – Sat 18 Jan 2020

As most of you are aware, the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve was the location of the Battle of Blaauwberg that took place on 8 Jan 1806. Apart from the regular educational walks along the route the British marched that the FoBCA offers, we also commemorate this seminal event on an annual basis.

Please book Saturday morning of 18 January in your diary as the FoBCA would like to once again give due tribute to the men who fought in the Battle. Blaauwberg Farm, between Melkbos and the N7 will be the venue of the commemoration. There will be many interesting displays relating to the Battle as well as some other topical nature displays. A eulogy will be given to those who fought in the Battle. Dave Honour, our Battle expert, will also do a guided walk from the Farm up to Blaauwberg Hill and back (10kms).

We will let you know more details in the weeks to come via email, as well as give details on our facebook page and in the media. Booking for the walk will be essential (please let Dave know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. now already if you are interested in the walk). Spatial Development Plan – City of Cape Town

We received the notification below from the City of Cape Town. The Spatial Development Plan is an important point in our City’s future, and we urge our members to read through the BaAR and provide comment.

The City is in the process of updating the spatial development frameworks (SDFs) for the eight planning districts with the latest information about the state of the population, their employment levels and income; the state of the urban and natural environment and heritage; state of development; the supply of and demand for housing; local economy; property market; and current services and infrastructure.

All of this information is included in a Baseline and Analysis Report (BaAR) for each district, inclusive of the challenges, needs and opportunities on a local planning level. 

The BaAR documents will be available on the City’s website www.capetown.gov.za by 11 November 2019 and the public is requested to provide their comments by 31 January 2020.

The review of the district SDFs will be based on the BaARs and the inputs received for the respective districts. It is therefore crucial for community leaders and stakeholders in each district to participate in this process. It is also important for the City and residents to consider the current situation in each planning district before we embark on a review of proposals and guidelines of the respective district SDFs.

The district SDFs will be finalised during further rounds of public participation in 2020/2021. These will deal with the concepts and the final proposals.

Once approved by the City Council, the district SDFs will guide future decisions about developments, land uses, and interventions to create integrated and inclusive communities across Cape Town. Friends groups

There are many Friends groups across Cape Town and they are mostly, like ourselves with Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, focused on a Reserve. Why not take the time during the holiday season to visit some of those reserves with family and friends? Many are open to the public, and are very enjoyable to visit for a picnic, a stroll (some are even wheelchair friendly), mountain biking, etc. Amongst others:

There are many more of these selected well-preserved areas in Cape Town where groups of volunteers through Friends networks, work for the preservation of the natural environment.

These Friends groups all have facebook sites as well where, if you LIKE the page, you will be kept up to date of walks and talks on the Reserves. In conclusion....

From the FoBCA committee members, we'd like to extend our heartfelt wishes for a joyous and peaceful festive season, communing with nature and your loved ones. Be safe if you're traveling on our roads. See you again after the new year celebrations - may 2020 bring new opportunities and renewed dedication to realising your (conservation) goals!

Don't forget to continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose. If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this brochure, which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member. 

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FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 6

Spring has sprung and the veld around us is abundant with flowers. This is evident right on our doorstep in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. Please take time during the day to walk the Coastal Dune Trail starting at Eerste Steen, using our handy Flower Guide that is for sale at Eerste Steen (or at selected nurseries in Table View) – you will not be disappointed. As Walt Whitman wrote: ‘After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains.‘

Heritage Day celebration 

The FoBCA is pleased to announce that Willem Hutten will be giving a talk on Heritage Day (Tue 24 Sep). Willem has completed his Masters degree on the Battle of Blaauwberg, and will give a detailed perspective of his findings. Those who have had a preview of his talk and his Masters document, were impressed with the content - the maps with different views of the Battle formation, the organisation of the archeological diggings, and the impressive number of artefacts found. Willem’s research has added extensively to the knowledge base of the Battle of Blaauwberg, and you should find the talk fascinating. 

Being Braai Day, what would be more fitting than having a Braai at Eerste Steen after the talk, with the sound of crashing waves in the background and the Spring flowers around you? Bring the whole family (if family members are not interested in the talk, they can walk the Coastal Dune Trail)!

Date: Tuesday 24 Sep 2019
Time: 10am
Venue: Eerste Steen cabin (please remember your FoBCA membership card, as members enter for free).

Battle Up Blaauwberg Trail Run

It is the time of year again when the Reserve hosts the very popular Battle Up Blaauwberg Trail Run. This year has an exciting change in the race - the distance of the long route has increased from 16 km to 21 km and now includes the historical Battle of Blaauwberg Battlefield as part of the route. The Start will again be at Table Bay Mall, as it was such a convenient venue last year. Please let all of your running friends know about the event! There is a shorter route of 12 km as well. The City of Cape Town has big plans for trail runs in various Reserves in Cape Town, and the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, with its long-standing Battle Up Blaauwberg Run, has been a case in point on how successful these runs can be.
Online Entries : https://entries.trailfun.co.za/events/48622-battle-up-blaauwberg-hill or https://entries.trailfun.co.za.
Start 21 km - 07h30. Start 12 km - 07h45
Cost 21km - R240 (Early bird price of R180). Cost 12km R210 (Early bird price of R150)

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WESSA Big Friends Group (BFG) event on Saturday 7 September 2019 

Many members have attended these events in the past, including the last BFG event that the FoBCA co-hosted, and this September’s event should again be very interesting.

Please click here to view the invitation email with all the details and the programme for the day in your browser. RSVP by Wed 4 Sep. International Coastal Clean-Up Day

Meet at Eerste Steen (on Otto du Plessis Rd, between Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand) on Sat 7 Sep 2019 at 9am to help us keep our beautiful coastline clean.

Gloves and bags will be supplied, but it will help if you can bring your own gloves. Other suggestions: Bring along braai tongs – makes picking up less back-breaking. If you have heavy duty plastic bags, for example those in which you buy compost, stone, manure – bring them along too as they’re much stronger than those supplied, and it's a great way to re-use them. 

Rope in your neighbours and family members – this is a wonderful way to meet others in the area, and to teach kids about civic participation and caring.

Further details on Facebook events page International Coastal Clean-Up Day.

Green Coast initiative 

As you know the beach area from Eerste Steen to Melkbosstrand was the first stretch of coastline in South Africa awarded the Green Coast flag – a partnership between WESSA, City of Cape Town and the FoBCA. Since then, there have been many developments in the background, and we should soon be able to share much more tangible proof thereof. The First Blouberg Sea Scouts have for instance taken on responsibility for a section of the Reserve; there is an engineering team hard at work in designing a work of art which will focus attention on litter on beaches (any of our members have structural engineering backgrounds who can help?), and there is a surfing competition planned for October. Watch this space!

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Forthcoming FoBCA events

  • Sat 31 Aug 2019 - Two Hills Walk in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. To participate in the walk, contact Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or SMS 083 679 4642
  • Sat 7 Sep 2019 - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
  • Sat 7 Sep 2019 - WESSA Big Friends Group
  • Sat 21 Sep 2019 - International Coastal Clean-Up Day
  • Sat 24 Sep 2019 - Heritage Day presentation by Willem Hutten on The Battle of Blaauwberg and Braai Day braai at Eerste Steen
  • Sat 28 Sep 2019 - Battle Up Blaauwberg Trail Run. See above and go to Facebook events page for more details
  • Sat 5 Oct 2019 - Botanical Walk

 The calendar of events is always available on the Home page of our website, as well as on our Facebook page.

What to see now in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve....

How can this beautiful flower be called a Pig’s ear? 

Arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) are found in abundance from July until spring time.

The white “flower” is actually a modified leaf (bract) that curls round the stem to form a cone. In the centre the large yellow spike hosts the tiny flowers of this plant. Next time when you see this plant, stop to examine this spike: at the bottom are the male parts (anthers that carry the pollen), and the top parts, clearly different, are little stigmas. An insect entering the “flower” will brush up against the pollen and rub it off on the stigmas on the way out. Under a magnifying glass or microscope this becomes a reality.

Arums appear in clumps because they multiply by means of an underground stem or rhizome which grows tubers or thickened roots.

The plant is toxic to animals and is regarded as a pest in New Zealand and Western Australia. In Eastern Europe people pay a fortune for a single bloom. 

Once in a while one might find an endangered frog (Hyperolius horstocki) hiding in the lily. These frogs are not dependant on the plant, but happen to live in the wetlands. They are creamy brown with orange feet. If you do happen to find one, don’t touch it, but take a picture and send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photograph 1: Lee Jones (iNaturalist) with permission 
Photograph 2: Jeremy Gilmore (iNaturalist) with permission

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Flower Guide!!

Flower Guide

You definitely NEED the FoBCA Flower Guide at this time of the year. This pocket guide is so handy, and flowers are quick and easy to find with its colour-coded search facility. It is available at Starke Ayres Garden Centre (please ask at the information counter), at Plants on 6th Nursery, Melkbosstrand and at Eerste Steen for purchase at still only R100 each.

Bring your copy with you when you join the FoBCA CREW team on the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks the first Saturday of every month. See the events calendar for details.

Blaauwberg Nature Reserve Quarterly Report

As a Friends group focussed on BBNR you'd most likely want to keep up-to-date with what is going on in the Reserve. The latest BBNR quarterly report is now available on our website. It always makes for interesting reading, for example, about the ‘proposed nomination of the City of Cape Town’s Blaauwberg Nature Reserve as a Provincial Heritage Site in terms of section 27 of the National Heritage Resources Act (Act 25 of 1999).’ Follow this link to the report.

Images of Table Bay

Talking of interesting reading, a new book by Hans Kilian and Steffie Romer has just been printed showcasing the beauty of the shores around Cape Town and includes our own Blaauwberg Hill with pictures by Dave Honour. A short write-up of the events of 8th January 1806 is included with the photos. A copy has been donated to the Friends which will be kept at Eerste Steen for members to read and enjoy.

This coffee table book has been offered to the FoBCA members for the cost price of R450.00 (normal retail price R550.00) and is available through Dave, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

FoBCA committee member vacancy

There would not be a Friends of BCA if it wasn't for you. However, a committee is needed to drive the various aspects of the group. This is made up of normal people with normal working lives, who give up some of their after-hours time.


There are many areas where members can get involved, but we are urgently appealing to you, as the position of Secretary has yet to be filled. Please consider giving your time to a worthy cause - your contribution to nature, society and the environment will be invaluable - by offering to become Secretary. 

It will require only about 6-8 hours of your time per month to attend committee meetings, take minutes, type up using your MS Word skills and distribute via email to other committee members. Meetings are held once a month in the evenings in Table View. Maybe you know of the perfect person to fit the role - they do not need to be a member of the FoBCA. 

Please contact the chairperson Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 083 679 4642 if you are interested.

In conclusion....

Please continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose. If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this brochure, which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member.

Kind regards
Jackie Potgieter
FoBCA Membership Communication

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FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 5

Accommodation

Good news! Montispectus, the accommodation facility on the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve is available for bookings again. The chalet offers beautiful views down fynbos slopes, across the city, to seven kilometres of rocky and sandy coastline and the ocean and beyond. It is the only place in the world from where you can see two proclaimed world heritage sites, namely Table Mountain and Robben Island. To book, visit the BCA website’s Accommodation page.

FloraDoc App for iPhone now available

The CREW group is happy to announce that the long-awaited FloraDoc app has been released for iPhone – though we do still need to wait a little longer for the Android version which is still in the development phase.
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/floradoc/id1467080851?ign-mpt=uo%3D2

The FloraDoc app is a flower identification app for the Cape Peninsula, comprising a photographic library of all the indigenous and naturalised plants occurring on the Peninsula.

All the plants known to occur on the Peninsula are described, including naturalised aliens - that’s over 2,300 species. More than 4,300 photos illustrate 1,600+ (the most common) species already recorded for the app. So instead of carrying a bulky book with you when you are out walking on the Peninsula, you can now simply haul out your smart phone and search a much wider dataset to try to identify the flowers you see. You need only a basic knowledge of plant genera and families which will help you to quickly find a particular plant for comparison. The more you use the app and become familiar with the different groups, the easier it gets to use.

The app allows the user to search through the digital image library for a particular family, genus or species by typing in the relevant scientific name. The autocomplete function ensures your spelling is correct and takes you to the appropriate taxon. Most species that have already been photographed show various aspects of the plant. Each species is supported by descriptions sourced and referenced from several commonly-used Peninsula field and flora guides.

This is a must-have app for anyone who loves the Peninsula Fynbos. The app is available on the App Store for R269.99 Further upgrades are free. Once the app is downloaded you do not need any internet or data connection to use it. Any profits will go towards the Friends of Silvermine Nature Area conservation projects.

Please share this news with any friends or family who may be interested in this amazing flower identification tool.

The Battle of Blaauwberg Painting

Those who attended the talk at the AGM by Ian van Oordt on the Battle of Blaauwberg painting and its incredible detail – here is a link to the painting:- https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0b/Battle_of_Blaauw_Berg.jpg

SANCCOB Newsletter

As SANCCOB are neighbours of our sister Friends group, Rietvlei, and within FoBCA's area of concern, we thought you may like a look at their Newsletter that they send out biannually. Here is the link to the latest issue, courtesy of one of our members. SANCCOB Newsletter July 2019

Forthcoming FoBCA events

  • Sat 27 Jul 2019 - Battle of Blaauwberg Walk. Dave Honour, FoBCA registered tour guide and also an expert on KZN battle sites, is the leader. For more information or to book your attendance, please call/SMS Dave Honour at 082 906 4875 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Tues 30 Jul 2019 - Eye of the Pangolin screening, 7pm, Erin Hall Rondebosch
  • Sat 3 Aug 2019 - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
  • Sat 31 Aug 2019 - Two Hills Walk in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. To participate in the walk, contact Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or SMS 083 679 4642
  • Sat 7 Sep 2019 - Botanical Walk
  • Sat 28 Sep 2019 - Battle Up Blaauwberg Trail Run. For more details go to https://www.facebook.com/events/306459700294123/
  • Sat 5 Oct 2019 - Botanical Walk

 The calendar of events is always available on the Home page of our website, as well as on our Facebook page.

What to see now in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve....

We all know this sorrel too well - Oxalis pes-capre, the sorrel that gives "waterblommetjie bredie" its acidy taste.


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Oxalis pes-capre

However, this sorrel has a "cousin" called Oxalis hirta. It is about 7 to 9 cm tall, and has beautiful white, pink and magenta flowers. It is currently flowering in the Blouberg area, Sunset Beach and even on some pavements at present. The name Oxalis means "acid" (from Greek oxys) and hirta means "hairy".

Although Oxalis species occur in most parts of the world, the main centres of diversity are South America and South Africa. We have about 250 species and varieties of Oxalis. Six species are Critically Rare, Presumed Extinct (CR PE). Overall 25% of our Oxalis species are of conservation concern and without protection they are certain to become extinct. 

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Oxalis hirta

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Oxalis hirta - You may have seen this photo, published in last week's Table Talk - look out for more FoBCA snippets in future issues.

Remember that our very handy Flower Guide is available at Starke Ayres Garden Centre (please ask at the information counter), at Plants on 6th Nursery, Melkbosstrand and at Eerste Steen for purchase at still only R100 each.

At the back of the book is a Quick Guide - get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year. Bring your copy with you when you join the FoBCA CREW team on the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks the first Saturday of every month. See the events calendar for details.

Flower Guide

In conclusion....

Please continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose. If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this  document brochure (9.22 MB) , which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member. Kind regards
Jackie Potgieter
FoBCA Membership Communication

FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 4

iNaturalist Global City Nature Challenge

You will recall that in the last Newsletter we urged you to participate in the iNaturalist challenge on 26-29 April 2019. Well, some very good news! Cape Town won the competition on the categories that (we think) count:

  • the most number of species – an amazing tally of 4 145 – nearly 1 000 more than our closest rivals, Hong Kong!
  • the most observations - an astounding 6 787 - more than La Paz, our closest competitor, from super biodiverse South America.

 
Gigi Laidler from SANBI (Kirstenbosch) thanked everyone involved in her email:
‘A huge thank you to every one of you who made this achievement possible by participating in the Challenge of taking pictures and uploading them on iNaturalist, and then tackling the mammoth task of doing all the identifications. There are many unsung heros among you who went to great lengths to get those rare and unusual observations, often travelling to really remote parts of the City’s reserves to get one or two species, and those who burnt the midnight oil slogging away at the identifications, helping us reach our goals and making most (74%) of our species Research Grade.

And a special note of encouragement to the novices among you who dared venture into untested waters of using the App for the first time, and others who uploaded their images to iNaturalist on their computers for the first time – you did great, and some of you excelled with posting lots of fantastic observations. We could not have reached the heights we did without you. 

Granted, some observations do leave room for improvement, but only by doing, and practicing, and learning from mistakes, can your observations get better. So take heart, and take more and better pictures, and start practicing now for the next challenge when we get another chance to prove to the world that the Mother City is the best place to be. Even if we no longer have elephants, rhinos and lions roaming our wild areas, we still have a lot of very special wildlife to love and to protect, and you can only protect something if it is known, and that comes from sharing your observations on iNaturalist!

So, now that more of you are aware of the wonders of iNaturalist, please do take photos of the plants (and animals) you see in the undeveloped areas around you and post them on iNaturalist. Every contribution helps improve our understanding of the precarious status of our biodiversity.’

Our FoBCA CREW team also participated, and so did many of our FoBCA members. Of the FoBCA CREW group, Jan Wicht posted the most observations (276) and species (229). In total the CREW team contributed at least 887 observations, 501 species and helped provide 1748 identifications to the competition. 

Go to https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019 to read more about this exciting challenge. It is very easy to participate, so please involve your family, friends and children in downloading the app and start using it. The only category Cape Town did not win was the number of participants category. Let’s see what we can do in 2020! FoBCA 2019 AGM

The FoBCA’s AGM was held on Sat 1 June. It was a misty morning, but it did not dampen the spirit and we had a good attendance of 35 members! 

Click here to find the Chairman’s and Portfolio reports. Please read through the reports and realise how many aspects of the BCA we are involved in, and the work that the FoBCA does through its committee and members. Did you for instance know that our alien hacking team worked 541 man hours in the last year to clear and maintain the alien vegetation, or that our Event posts on Facebook reach 37 000 people (well, that is what they say!)? The financial statements can be requested from our Treasurer Pat Titmuss if you are interested.

The committee was elected unanimously again, except for the role of Secretary. Our long-standing Secretary Cindy Welch resigned, and we want to give her a heartfelt thank you to her for the many years that she served the FoBCA. She was involved from the inception of the FoBCA and will be sorely missed. On this note – we need a new Secretary and if you are interested, please contact our Chairman Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a discussion about what the role entails.

The highlight of the AGM was the talk by Ian van Oordt called ‘An analysis of two Paintings of the Battle Of Blaauwberg – Ian Van Oordt’. Ian is an expert on the Battle of Blaauwberg, and has conducted extensive research on the topic. He could apply this knowledge to the minute detail of the paintings to come to a hypothesis of who the artist was. Many questions were posed to Ian and it was clear that most attendees found it a fascinating analysis.

The AGM also gave the FoBCA the opportunity to say goodbye to Jacques Kuyler, the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve manager of the last 10 years. Jacques gave an interesting overview of his years as manager and the challenges he faced. He transferred from Tygerberg (a Renosterveld reserve), to the BBNR (a marine reserve), and within a few weeks of his new position in 2009 had to face the acid test of having to deal with the Turkish ship Seli 1 that lost its anchor and stranded at Bloubergstrand. Roy Fuller-Gee presented Jacques with a photo collage of his years at the Reserve and some heart-warming family photos.

Eye of the Pangolin Screening

Tuesday 30 July, 19:00

Erin Hall, Rondebosch
Co-hosted by WESSA Western Cape Membership and Pangolin.Africa

Eye of the Pangolin is the story of two South African filmmakers who travel the continent to find the elusive African pangolin, the most trafficked mammal on earth. As they travel the continent to learn more about those caring for and studying pangolins they are captivated by these strange, secretive creatures and document the race to save them from being poached to extinction. From the co-director of the 2015 award-winning documentary Blood Lions.

The 45 minute film will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker Bruce Young, along with Helena Atkinson & Catherine Ritchie from film production partner and conservation NGO Pangolin.Africa

pangolin

Please invite friends and family! 
Entrance: Free, but donations will go towards the distribution of the film to schools across Africa.
Tea/coffee and biscuits will be available.
RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

To watch the trailer of Eye of the Pangolin, click the image below.

Forthcoming FoBCA events

  • 6 July Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
  • 27 July, Sat - Battle of Blaauwberg Walk. Dave Honour, FoBCA registered tour guide and also an expert on KZN battle sites, is the leader. For more information or to book your attendance, please call/SMS Dave Honour at 082 906 4875 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • 3 Aug Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details

 The calendar of events is always available on the Home page of our website, as well as on our Facebook page. What to see now in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve....

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Remember that our very handy Flower Guide is available at Starke Ayres Garden Centre (please ask at the information counter - only 2 left in stock here), at Plants on 6th Nursery, Melkbosstrand and at Eerste Steen for purchase at still only R100 each.

At the back of the book is a Quick Guide - get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year. Bring your copy with you when you join the FoBCA CREW team on the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks the first Saturday of every month. See the events calendar for details.

Membership Renewals 

31 March marked the end of the FoBCA membership year. If your membership has lapsed this will be the last newsletter you will be receiving. See at the botttom of this newsletter for your expiry date. (Very recent renewals handed in at Eerste Steen or those paid directly into the FoBCA account without sending a proof of payment, may not yet be reflected in our records.) Please email any queries to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
In conclusion....
Please continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose. If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this brochure, which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member. Kind regards
Jackie Potgieter
FoBCA Membership Communication

P.S. - Have any friends who'd like to join? Print a copy of the new Membership form here, have them complete and email with proof of payment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to have their membership processed.

FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 3

iNaturalist Global City Nature Challenge

This event, which was mentioned in our last newsletter, is taking place this coming weekend 26-29 April 2019! There have been many articles in the media about the Global City Nature Challenge and from listening to all the talk, it sounds like Capetonians are ready to take on the challenge! With the abundance and diversity of animal and plant life around us, we stand a good chance to win. 

To help Cape Town win this global challenge, the FoBCA’s CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) team has, together with Blaauwberg Reserve Conservation staff, organised an easy opportunity close by for you to participate in the Challenge. All you have to do is gather your family and friends and go to Eerste Steen this Saturday 27 April. There are 3 or 4 walks arranged to go in various directions in order to cover different areas, accompanied by volunteer CREW members. 

Date: Saturday 27th April
Start Time: 09h00, End Time: 12h30
Venue: Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. Meeting point: Education Cabin at Eerste Steen.  Google Map to Eerste Steen
Contact Person: Petra Broddle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
No need to RSVP, just turn up!

Timetable:
09:00 - 09:30 Registration, introduction, competition rules.
09:30 - 11:30 Walking and photographing the fauna and flora on the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve.
11:30 - 12:30 Back at cabin. Help with uploading of images, information sheet. 

Please bring hat, sunblock, water and snacks. Download the iNaturalist App onto your phone in advance (it is available on Google Play or Apple iTunes AppStore). Alternatively bring a camera and upload your images to the iNaturalist website at home. 

There is no reason to not participate in the Challenge if you can't make this particular bioblitz. Have a look on INaturalist - southern Africa's Facebook page at all the various events happening all around the peninsula. You can join any or as many as you can over the weekend. Or you can just have fun scouring the green (or blue, if you're in the sea) areas wherever in the demarcated area you live or find yourself on these days.
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Good luck Cape Town!

Battle of Blaauwberg Archaeological Survey Finale

Saturday 30th March 2019 saw the final Battle of Blaauwberg battlefield survey by the archaeologists led by Willem Hutten. Having completed his Masters thesis, Willem wanted to have a last get together with fellow enthusiasts, researchers and metal detectorists to thank them for the hard work of the last 6 years in unravelling the hidden details of the Battle.
On a lovely day several members of FoBCA assisted with the last search for any objects still not discovered from previous hunts in the area of the Highland Brigades’ advance on to the Batavian defence position. In particular, Willem requested that the team looked for cannon balls so that additional information could be included to his already comprehensive document of finds. This was well received by ballistics expert, Ian Van Oordt, who was interested in locating evidence of the explosive shells used by the Batavian artillery. Ian requested that he should be notified of any finds whilst still in the ground so that he could examine the features in the soil to assess direction and impact velocity of the projectile. In an amazing feat of metal detecting, Ian was kept busy most of the morning with cannon balls and fragments being discovered at regular intervals.

pic02Ballistics Expert, Ian Van Oordt, explaining the finer details of the shell fragment to metal detectorist Robert. pic03Comparison of fragment against a whole cannon ball.

 
A number of other good finds were made during the morning, including the normal musket balls and in particular, a flint that was researched by the finder Alan as originating from a Charleville musket.

The hunt came to an end with a lunch hosted by Willem. At the lunch he again thanked everybody for their support over the years and conveyed how much he and Louisa had enjoyed the experience. As a mark of his appreciation Willem presented all with a small gift to remember the experiences they have shared. The group of archaeologists have grown over the time to become a group of friends all with a common aim, to reveal information on the Battle of Blaauwberg.

pic04Exceptional find of a French amber flint from a Charleville musket. pic05Lunch in the Reserve hosted by Willem Hutten

Willem and his wife Louisa have been instrumental in shedding a lot of light on what happened on the battlefield, with their in-depth research and recording. It is very sad to see this project come to a close with the permit ending later this year. Hopefully, another archaeological student will soon find a reason to carry on the work started by the Huttens and Marius Breytenbach, and will uncover additional history relating to the Battle.

From all of us at FoBCA we thank all the archaeologists for their fantastic work.

A deep, geological and archeological history of the Cape

The above evening talk was advertised in our last newsletter, and attracted a considerable amount of interest, with over 60 people braving the chilly March evening to attend! Those who missed this fascinating talk by Prof John Compton, can read about the topic on Prof Compton’s website www.johnscompton.com. You can also order his books from the website (those available on the evening were all sold out!). The books are easy to read and very insightful – must-have guides for the Western Cape heritage enthusiast. Kamfers Dam flamingo chicks at SANCCOB

This was posted on 16 April on SANCCOB's Facebook page:
"Not quite the little #FlamingoChicks we admitted 11 weeks ago; they are ready to spread their wings in the wild. 42 #LesserFlamingos are boarding an early morning flight tomorrow, returning to the #Kamfersdam breeding site in the Northern Cape. Keep an eye on our page for more pics as it transpires. We couldn't have done it all without your support - Thank You! 49 will stay behind until our Veterinarian gives the all clear & we are so excited to have reached this point. #savesflamingos #savesseabirds#savetheflamingo #marineconservation"

Here is the formal thank you letter addressed to Friends of BCA. Forthcoming FoBCA events

  • 26 - 29 April - Global City Nature Challenge (see above for details of BBNR bioblitz 27 April, Sat)
  • 27 April, Sat - Battle of Blaauwberg Walk. Dave Honour, FoBCA registered tour guide and also an expert on KZN battle sites, is the leader. For more information or to book your attendance, please call/SMS Dave Honour at 082 906 4875 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • 4 May, Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
  • 25 May, Sat - Two Hills Walk in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. To participate in the walk, contact Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or SMS 083 679 4642
  • 1 June, Sat – AGM of the FoBCA.  Please diarise this Saturday morning. We will send out a formal notification as per the Constitution, next week.

The calendar of events is always available on the Home page of our website, as well as on our Facebook page.

What to see now in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve....

Did you see the article about the Brunsvigias in Table View and the important role the FoBCA played in rescuing these beautiful plants from areas to be developed? Click here to see the Table Talk article. A number of Table View residents contacted the CREW team after the article appeared, and it elicited some interesting discussions.

If you look around you this time of the year, you might just spot Phylica ericoides or commonly called Hardeblaar. This plant has a lovely honey smell, so look out for it (picture below). You can read more about it on the website of SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute): http://pza.sanbi.org/phylica-ericoides


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Remember that our very handy Flower Guide is available at Starke Ayres Garden Centre (please ask at the information counter - only 2 left in stock here), at Plants on 6th Nursery, Melkbosstrand and at Eerste Steen for purchase at still only R100 each.

At the back of the book is a Quick Guide - get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year. Brush up your knowledge in preparation for the Global City Nature Challenge and before the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks start in May.

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New Membership Year 

31 March marked the end of the FoBCA membership year. A renewal notice was sent to your inbox - please let me know if you did not receive this. Please send me your forms and fees as soon as possible for processing. Thank you, if you have already renewed. See at the botttom of this newsletter for your expiry date. (Recent renewals handed in at Eerste Steen or those paid directly into the FoBCA account without sending a proof of payment, may not yet be reflected in our records.) Please email any queries to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New fees with effect from 1 April 2019:
1 year / 5 years / 10 years
R30 / R150 / R300 - Youth (under 18 or dependant student)/ Pensioner (60 or over)
R80 / R400 / R800 - Individual
R100 / R500 / R1000 - Family (2 adults plus 2 children under 18)
R400 / R2000 / R4000 - Corporate (4 cards issued for 4 adults per card)
Any donations are appreciated, thank you.

In conclusion....

Please continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose. If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this   document brochure (9.22 MB) , which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member.

Friends of BCA save Brunsvigias

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