Last week I took the whole family with me to go hiking. The Faerie Glen Nature Reserve is a beautiful and well looked after nature reserve in Pretoria .This area is known as a prime hiking and birding destination with an astonishing view of Pretoria east from Rhenosterkop.

Three hiking trails are available:
•  Hadeda route: 2,3km
•  Acacia route: 3,2km
•  Kiepersol route: 4,2km

We accepted the challenge and decided to do the Kiepersol route which leads up to the mountain and down again.At first the route is steep but the cement path is clearly laid out and provides a comfortable and easy hiking experience. The nature surrounding you is beautiful and I have never felt so close and in touch with nature. The birds were singing, the bees were buzzing,  the wind whispered, the fresh air   opened up your lungs and for three hours we had some exciting “nature therapy”. This is my beautiful family always willing to take up a good challenge and to enjoy some family time.

blog foto family

(Photographed by Author)

It was a sunny day and we came prepared with hats,sunglasses ,sunscreen and enough water. We stopped every time we saw something interesting and some shared their knowledge about the trees and the surroundings. One couldn’t help but take photos of the amazing view. We had a water break on the top of the mountain and listened to nature’s voice.I smiled in appreciation for nature and for these loving people I call family.

Blog staproete

(Photographed by Author)

This reserve is the home of a large variety of birdlife, zebras , rare trees and insects . The Faerie Glen Nature Reserve plays an important part in conservation and protects the fauna and flora in Pretoria. We were very impressed with how clean the reserve was. The reserve made provision against possible pollution and supplied many trash cans along the trail. We did however found various cigarette butts on the top of the mountain and in the bird hide .This can be a major problem because birds and insects ingest the butts ,thinking that it is food. The toxins from cigarettes can also make their way to the river adding to water pollution. According to the No-Smoke Organisation (2013) cigarette butts are not biodegradable and cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate, a plastic that can break into smaller pieces, but will never biodegrade or disappear. Overall the reserve is clean and  cared for. The Faerie Glen Nature reserve plays a very important part in the conservation of the Pompoms and even the soil. Signs along the trail asks hikers to not pick the pompoms and other vegetation and to stay on the cement path to prevent soil erosion and to conserve the surrounding vegetation.

blog conservation

(Photographed by Author)

Butterflies have been very scarce in Pretoria the last couple of years, but now I know where to find them! These beautiful creatures were fluttering everywhere on the top of the mountain. They were even kind enough to pose for my camera and allowed me to come very close. According to South African Tourism [s.a] Butterflies in South Africa have life cycles that are closely linked with specific plant and ant species, and many only occur in  small, confined areas. South Africa’s butterflies are also vulnerable. Two, possibly even three, species have become extinct, and a further 38 species are listed in the Red Data List, meaning they are threatened with extinction in the near future.

Butterflies

(Photographed by Author)

The Faerie Glen Nature Reserve is also home to various plant species.Plants known as  Bloekombos , Protea caffra ,wild grass seeds, aloe plants, long spine cactuses also known as “Turksvye” as well as various fern species, and veld flowers. Purple Pompoms is an alien species also growing in the reserve and bees love them. The Flora throws a green and pink blanket over the reserve and is really beautiful to look at. The reserve transitions between bankenveld (grassland) and sour bushveld (acacia veld).FullSizeRender-4

blog plante 1 (Photographed by Author)

Possible actions can be identified to make the site more visible to the local community and larger Pretoria by spreading the word on social media, encouraging other families to go, and the Friends of Faerie Glen Nature Reserve can host more events and volunteer work to encourage people to get in touch with their greener side.

There is nothing like a good hike to get you back in touch with nature! I encourage everyone feeling trapped in our concrete jungle, flooded with technology and smart phones , to go out on hiking experiences. Not only is it part of a healthy, active lifestyle but also part of family bonding and bonding with nature. It is not far and it is not expensive. The Faerie Glen Nature Reserve also provides a picnic area and dogs are allowed , so bring everyone in the family- the fluffy ones too!

Sources Consulted

South African Tourism. (s.a) Butterfly conservation in SA.Available: http://www.southafrica.net/za/en/articles/entry/article-southafrica.net-butterfly-conservation-in-south-africa

Accessed on 5 May 2016

The No-Smoke Organisation. (2013) Cigarette butt Waste.[O].Available : http://www.no-smoke.org/learnmore.php?id=731

Accessed on 5 May 2016

 

 

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