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October 2017
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For the second consecutive year, Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP) outside Cradock walked away with the most prestigious award at the recent 2014/15 Frontier Regional Achievement Awards.  Park Manager Megan Taplin accepted the Best Performing Park Award on behalf of her colleagues at the ceremony hosted in Addo Elephant National Park.

The awards evening is an annual event to celebrate the top individual and team achievements from the four national parks in the region – namely Addo Elephant, Mountain Zebra, Camdeboo and Karoo National Parks, and is a precursor to the annual South African National Parks (SANParks) Kudu Awards to be held in Gauteng later this year.  Last year Mountain Zebra won in the same category at the national event – and currently proudly boasts with the title of top park within SANParks.

The Best Performing Park Award is for excellent achievements in Conservation, Tourism and People & Conservation – SANParks’ three core business areas – over the period under review.

In Conservation, some of the highlights were:  The Park made another contribution to South Africa’s cheetah metapopulation with the translocation of two male and one female cheetah to Selati Game Reserve. This brings to 24 the number of cheetah contributed by MZNP to the cheetah metapopulation since 2010 and makes MZNP the top contributor of cheetah to the metapopulation in South Africa through the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s programme.  At the same time, populations such as black wildebeest and red hartebeest were also managed effectively by means of translocations.

For MZNP, Tourism achievements during the 2014/15 financial year included: Visitor numbers increased by 4% in comparison to the same period last year.  Unit occupancy showed a 2.6% increase while camping increased by 5% compared to the same period last year.  Mountain cottage occupancy showed a 13% increase.  Activities showed a good increase of 11.3% with night guided drives and cheetah tracking being the most popular activities.  A new activity, guided sunset drives, was introduced successfully in December.

On the People and Conservation front:  A total of 4 354 learners were addressed during environmental education programmes during the course of last year.  This represents a 30% improvement on the previous financial year’s achievement, when 3 354 learners were reached. There was also a 37% improvement in the number of people who entered for free during the annual SA National Parks Week in September last year – from 615 in 2013/14 to 845.

Taplin once again attributed the Park’s success to excellent team work and the dedication of staff on the ground and thanked them for all their hard work.

Schreiner Festival – 

an Occasion not to be missed


The annual Schreiner Festival, which will be celebrated on 24th and 25th July,  is going to be an occasion not to be missed.  Celebrated authors and  storytellers will all come together for a weekend when, amongst others, the memory of Olive Schreiner will be kept alive.

Well-known Afrikaans writer, Etienne van Heerden, a regular Schreiner Festival  guest, will again be present this year.  He has promised to give  listeners  insight into his new book with the working title “Sjinees.”   The book will only be published next year but  has already received a pre-publication award.

Etienne will be joined by television personality, Coenie de Villiers, who recently produced a programme, “Toor-woorde”  for KykNet.   A screening of the programme, in which De Villiers is joined by Etienne van Heerden and Deon Meyer, another well known Afrikaans writer, will  take place at the St Peter’s Church hall during the festival weekend.

“Cape of Rebels” a play by well-known writer Tony Jackman, who recently moved to Cradock, will be one of the highlights of the Schreiner Festival. The play opened  at the Grahamstown Festival and can be seen in Cradock on Friday, 24th July, at 20:00 in the St Peter’s Church Hall.

One of the new and exciting books, also  to be launched at the festival, is “Empire, War and Cricket” by dr Dean Allen.   Cricket lovers will especially enjoy this book as it delves into the history of the game.  The setting is Matjiesfontein and readers  can enjoy stories about the life of James Logan, founder of Matjiesfontein and his involvement  with cricket.  Prof. Paul Walter from NELM and Jeremy Fogg will in turn tell stories about Olive Schreiner’s involvement with Matjiesfontein.

Dr Pamela Maseko well known writer,  will  present the first two volumes of her “Publication of the Opland College of Xhosa literature”.  The books in Xhosa, have parallel texts in English.   She will also be available to sign copies of her books.

In  lighter vein will be David Muller’s readings from Herman Charles Bosman’s stories about Oom Schalk Lourens and the Groot Marico.  An evening in front of the fire with sherry, soup and fesh bread is promised to Muller’s listeners.

Visitors can also join Brian Wimot, curator of Olive Schreiner museum,  for one of his walking tours through town to view and listen to stories about  some of the historical building in town.  A first this year is also a bus tour to Lingeliihle township where Amos Nteta, a resident of the township will point out places and homes that  have played a significant part in the history of Cradock before 1994. Amos has been associated with  Victoria Manor for longer than most people can remember.

The festival market, on Saturday morning, will be in the grounds of St. Peter’s church starting at 9:00.  Visitors can look forward to new book sales at the pop-up market, get  good bargains at the second hand bookstall, feast their eyes (and empty their pockets) on art in the church, artisan products, kitchen specials and much more.  Special coffees, soups and glühwein will be served.

Stories in stone


Lees binne:

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  • So onthou ons vir Happy – Somerset-Oos
  • Filling station in Fort Beaufort adopts “no nonsense” approach
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