Ngwenya Lodge

Winter Warmer Drinks

Winter Warmer Drinks

There is nothing better than curling up with a steaming hot drink to ward off those winter blues! Here are some of our favourite winter drinks. Try them on your next winter breakaway!

Slow-Cooker Hot Chocolate

This recipe is perfect for a family of chocoholics.

Ingredients

  • 1l milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g milk chocolate, chopped
  • scorched marshmallows or mini marshmallows, to serve
  • softly whipped cream, to serve
  • grated chocolate, to serve

Method

  1. Pour the milk and double cream into the slow cooker. Add the dark chocolate and milk chocolate, then cover and cook on low for 2 hrs, stirring halfway through cooking.
  2. Remove the lid and stir again, then continue to cook for a further 15-20 mins. Ladle into mugs and top with the marshmallows, dollops of cream and grated chocolate.

Tip: Add 25ml of your favourite liqueur or spirit to each mug for a warming kick.

Recipe adapted from www.bbcgoodfood.com

Caramel and Apple Hot Toddy

This is the perfect winter drink – a delicious balance of fruity sweetness and spicy cinnamon with a kick for extra punch!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup (165ml) apple juice
  • 4 cinnamon quills
  • 2/3 cup (165ml) apple brandy
  • 4 star anise pods
  • Ground cinnamon, to dust

Method

  1. Place sugar in a medium heavy-based saucepan over high heat with 1 tbs of water. Cook, swirling pan, for 5-6 minutes or until a golden caramel-like texture forms. Using a metal spoon (and being mindful of the steam), stir in 2 cups (500ml) water and swirl pan until caramel and water are combined. Stir in apple juice, star anise pods and cinnamon quills, then stir in the liqueur.
  2. Divide among glasses and dust with cinnamon to serve.

Recipe adapted from www.delicious.com.au

Sweet-and-Spicy Mulled Wine

This sweet and spicy mulled wine recipe is guaranteed to warm up your whole body! This traditional holiday drink made of red wine and spices can even be zooshed up a bit with a dash of brandy for those really cold nights.

Ingredients

  • 2 (750-mL) bottles full-bodied dry red wine
  • ½ cup black peppercorns
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 orange peel strips (from 1 orange)
  • 1 (2cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cinnamon stick, plus more for garnish
  • 2 whole star anise
  • Orange slices

Method

  1. Stir together wine, peppercorns, sugar, orange peel, ginger, cinnamon stick, and star anise in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Taste, add more sugar or honey to taste. Strain and discard solids.
  3. Pour evenly into 8 glasses and garnish with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from www.realsimple.com

Posted by WSC_Dev in Ngwenya Lodge, 0 comments
VOTE FOR NGWENYA – South African Tourism Awards

VOTE FOR NGWENYA – South African Tourism Awards

Your home-away-from-home, Ngwenya Lodge, has been nominated with a chance to claim a South African Tourism Award!

We would love to take this opportunity to encourage you to vote for your beloved holiday destination.  Simply click ‘vote now’ below to cast your vote for Ngwenya Lodge:

VOTE NOW


Have your say in selecting the top holiday destinations across South Africa by casting your vote. Not only does this afford Ngwenya Lodge a better chance at shining as a prestigious Resort amongst the best, but voters also stand a chance to win a dream holiday and/or travel vouchers! The South Africa Tourism Awards recognise and reward tourism businesses who work passionately to improve South Africa as a tourist destination; not only for international travellers but for our “lekker locals’ who enjoy exploring the wonders of their own country. These awards bring positivity back into the hospitality sector after the hardships of the past few years while casting a spotlight on stunning destinations.

We appreciate your vote!

Posted by WSC_Dev in Ngwenya Lodge
Ngwenya –  A Poem

Ngwenya – A Poem

Families and friends, young and old equally relish the moment they arrive at their home-away-from-home and can step into this space of splendour. Ngwenya is one of a kind and for this reason holidaymakers lose their hearts here. Joyce Joubert, an Ngwenya Lodge shareholder recently shared ‘Ngwenya – A Poem’ with our Team. Joyce and her family have been making holiday memories at Ngwenya for 18 years and the family first purchased a slice of this paradise back in 2015.

Op Ngwenya Lodge will ek graag bly (At Ngwenya Lodge I would like to stay)
Want dis hier waar ek vrede kry (Because it brings me peace)
Om die Here te dien (To serve the Lord)
En die natuur te sien (And to experience nature)
Bring ‘n rustigheid in my (Offers tranquillity to my soul)

Saam met die vloei van die rivier (With the flow of the river)
Kom kalmte in my (Calm is washed over me)
En ek weet dis hier (And I realise it is here)
Waar ek net wil sit en tuur (Where I wish to sit and stare)

Voëlgesang van vroeg tot laat (Birdsong from dawn til dusk)
Dikkoppies wat in die skemer praat (Thick-Knees which call at twilight)
Vuurvliegies wat in die donker uitkom (Fireflies which light up the night)
Voltooi die totaal van hierdie som (Complete the sum)

Wat ‘n voorreg om te kan geniet (What a blessing to be able to enjoy)
Alles wat die natuur ons bied (All the offerings of nature)
Soos leeus wat brul, jakkalse wat huil (Such as lions that roar, jackals that whine)
Diep in die nag waar gevare skuil (Late at night when danger lurks)

Sonsondergange raak aan die hart (Sunset pulls the heartstrings)
Verdryf alle pyn en smart (Dissolves all pain and sorrow)

Dis waar ek wil bly (This is where I wish to stay)
En soek jy na my (And, should you be searching for me)
Is ek by Ngwenya (I will be at Ngwenya)
Dis waar jy my sal kry (That is where you will find me)

Thank you Joyce Joubert for this beautiful poem! We’re elated to have you as part of the greater Ngwenya Family and we look forward to making many more everlasting holiday memories together.

Posted by Ngwenya Marketing, 2 comments
Ngwenya Is Travel-Ready: You Should Be, Too

Ngwenya Is Travel-Ready: You Should Be, Too

The light of dawn has arrived, and with it, a brand new day. A day to cherish and be thankful for; while COVID-19 has impacted our lives and how we experience life on a daily basis, it no longer has to infringe on our favourite pastime of travelling. Escaping to wide-open spaces in the heart of nature, to a favourite chalet, makes for the perfect holiday.

2020 has certainly been a year of challenge and difficulty. The first seasonal change of the year saw us all retreat indoors, into our homes in the suburbs and cities; locked-in for our own safety, as well as the safety of others, between four walls and a view of our neighbour’s yard. This soon sent us longing for wide-open spaces, for escapes back into the countryside and bushveld; for a holiday after a particularly tough year. Ngwenya is travel-ready: you should be, too.

Your Health and Safety is our Priority

Your health and safety is our priority

For the weeks during the nationwide lockdown, the Ngwenya Lodge Team was hard at work; deep-cleaning the facilities, implementing sanitisation measures and conducting training on the various, government-enforced protocols which have to be maintained. As part of managing agent’s, Vacation Recreational Services, and Ngwenya Lodge’s mission to provide a safe holiday environment for all guests, HygienicHospitality was launched. The function thereof is to ensure that strict health and safety measures, extended to include the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19, be adhered to. Guests are sure to notice a number of these protocols across the Resort, including mask-wearing, social-distancing and regular sanitising of surfaces and high touchpoints. These measures are also implemented for your home-away-from-home chalet; guests will notice the HygienicHospitality seal on the door upon arrival, which signals that the chalet has been sanitised and that no other person has since been in the unit before the guests’ arrival.

Social-Distancing-Friendly

Maintaining social-distancing parameters

While the Ngwenya Lodge Team has taken every possible step to ensure a safe holiday environment for all, the Lodge is also suited to social-distancing-friendly escapes due to the optimally positioned nature of each chalet, as well as the units being geared for self-catering stays. Think of holidaying at Ngwenya Lodge as your second home; many South Africans reside in security estates or complexes which are similarly structured to a self-catering Resort. Though in the case of being at your favourite home-away-from-home, tranquil views over the Crocodile River with ample game-viewing opportunities make for more incredible social-distancing parameters. Not only are the chalets abiding by these parameters, but the Restaurant, Spa and Game-Viewing Hides all enforce social-distancing measures so that guests have the option of venturing out of their cosy chalets.

Quality Family Time

Quality family time is important

The stress and changes in 2020 have had long-lasting effects. Office spaces suddenly merged with the home, which was previously a sanctuary to unwind from the day’s work and relax. Schools have closed for extended periods of time and reopened with restrictions in place, yet the school curriculum remains in effect, adding further pressure to students. Restaurants, holiday locations and a number of activities many enjoyed to ease stress and tiredness, locked their doors. This time is so important to reconnect as a family in a fresh and exciting environment; such as on a self-guided drive through the Kruger National Park in your own personal bubble of a vehicle.

It’s time to embrace the great outdoors, fun activities and favourite pastimes and get back to a space of positivity and productivity. Ngwenya is travel-ready: you should be, too.

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Ngwenya is open for BUSINESS Stays

Ngwenya is open for BUSINESS Stays

The Ngwenya Lodge Team is excited to welcome weary business travellers during the eased lockdown level three regulations. We understand your need for rest and relaxation when travelling for business and look forward to your arrival, where you can expect the very best in customer service from our dedicated personnel. While intra-provincial leisure travel is currently allowed, so too is intra- and inter-provincial business travel. This means that you can still enjoy that feel-good-holiday-feeling, while taking care of business. We look forward to welcoming you for a lovely business-related stay!

What you will need:

Each individual checking-in at Ngwenya for intra-provincial business purposes must present the following documentation at Reception, upon arrival;

  • Employer letter outlining the purpose of the business travel (Declaration on company letterhead)
  • Copy of business-travellers ID

Each individual checking-in at Ngwenya for inter-provincial business purposes must present the following documentation at Reception, upon arrival;

  • Employer letter outlining the purpose of the business travel (Declaration on company letterhead)
  • Permit as per Form 2 of the Regulations
  • Copy of business-travellers ID

Please remember that each person must present this documentation; no ‘accompanying travellers’ will be permitted to stay at the Lodge without the relevant documentation.

Complying with government regulations:

Please read through the below limitations for travel to Ngwenya Lodge, as outlined and enforced by government. No exceptions will be made.

  • The Kiosk will be open to sell select snacks and cold drinks
  • Please contact the Lodge directly for information pertaining to the Restaurant
  • Guests must adhere to Lodge Rules and Regulations while staying at Ngwenya

Additional Health and Safety travel measurements:

  • Completed documentation needs to be made available to the Lodge, including; full name, identity number or passport number, nationality, residential address and cell phone contact
  • All persons must wear a mask upon entering the Resort premises and in public areas at all times
  • All persons must undergo temperature screening upon arrival
  • All persons must complete a screening questionnaire

Ngwenya Lodge remains committed to providing you with a most comfortable stay, while upholding stringent health and safety protocols. For your health and safety, as well as that of other guests and our own Team, kindly take note that certain common areas will remain closed, decorative pieces have been removed and sanitation procedures implemented. These, and other protocols, have been implemented at Ngwenya with our guests’ health in mind.

Please be in touch with our Reservations Team directly for further clarification, to make a reservation or request documentation to be completed prior to your arrival: reservations@ngwenya.co.za

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The Kruger Park “Game Changers”

The Kruger Park “Game Changers”

The bond between man and man’s best friend, the canine, is a love story for the ages. While we appreciate our companions and their unwavering love within our homes, the Kruger Park has their own companions and guardians: The Kruger Park “Game Changers”. This elite K-9 Unit specialises in the tracking and apprehension of poachers and smugglers across the Park.

The Kruger National Park is home to a number of threatened species, whose latest predators (poachers) have had an advantage over anti-poaching efforts until the recent introduction of the K-9 unit, often referred to as the ‘game changers’. These canines are bred through existing, and proven, bloodlines to produce dogs that are the most efficient in the war against poaching. Different breeds have been selected for their inherent abilities: Beagles and Labradors are more commonly used to sniff out contraband in vehicles entering and leaving the park; a mixed breed of Bloodhound and Doberman are used as trackers and; the Belgian Shepherds, commonly referred to as Malinois, are trained to apprehend poachers. There are currently 55 dogs operating within the Kruger National Park, with an additional 20 located in national parks throughout South Africa.

Most notably increasing the success of anti-poaching efforts has been that of the tracking hounds. Traditionally, these working dogs had been led on-leash through sections of the Kruger by a handler, searching for scent; this process is slow-going and often poachers manage to escape. Recently, however, the introductions of hound groups have been deployed to manoeuvre off-leash. Dog handlers and rangers follow the dogs from a helicopter, where they can scour the surrounds for danger, while the pack races along a trail. It is remarkable to see these animals move uniformly through the veld on a trail, often shifting positions as lead runners fatigue. Once the team spots a threat the dogs are called off and collected to be safely removed from the scene, while Rangers assist in the arrest of poachers. Two distinct groups of dogs used in free-run chases can be noted: that of the South African Wildlife College and an import of Texan hounds. To date these K-9 Units have been deployed in over 70 chases, leading to the successful arrests of over 140 poachers; an increase of approximately 50% on poaching efforts.

Credit to ©Ravi Gajjar for Rhino Tears, as adapted from Africa Geographic

These canines can certainly be awarded the title of the Kruger Park ‘game changers’, then. While their work is incredible to witness, this job is also extremely high-risk. Not only are these dogs working hard, across large distances and under the African sun, where exhaustion and heat reign supreme; but the threat of dangerous wildlife and fire-power of poachers needs to be taken into consideration, as well. The hounds are trained by the best, but accidents and mishaps can occur at any time. The costs of running a successful operation of this magnitude also add up; dog breeding operations, satellite collars for the dogs, helicopters, training apparatus and a number of other elements require funding.


If you wish to get involved with this proven anti-poaching unit, please click here.

After experiencing the abilities of these hounds, it is no surprise that not only are the Kruger Park ‘game changers’ man’s best friend but the best friend and guardian of South Africa’s heritage: its wildlife.

Posted by Ngwenya Marketing in Environmental Conservation, Kruger National Park, 0 comments
2019 Mining Application

2019 Mining Application

2020 Update:

One of the things we are most appreciative of at Ngwenya Lodge is the unity that we share with our shareholders. This spirit came to life and displayed its potency when Ngwenya Lodge, Marloth Park, Lionspruit and a number of properties near Komatipoort on the southern border of the Kruger National Park came into contact with Manzolwandle Investments; a company who applied for a mining right spanning approximately 18 000ha near the Kruger National Park, in Komatipoort.

By now we are all aware of this news and the struggle Ngwenya, and other properties, have put up against the mining group; to protect the heritage and to preserve the incredible flora and fauna of the area. We are happy to say that our shareholders heeded the call to register as Interested & Affected Parties and counter this threat against the preservation of plant and animal life. 

It would seem that this fight for the rights of wildlife and the surrounding areas of the Kruger National Park has proved successful. 

On the 17th of November 2020, the news was received that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy had denied Manzolwandle Investments the mining rights their revised application lodged over the remaining extent of Tecklenburg 548 JU of approximately 5 hectares. In their assessment, the DMR wrote, “In view of these findings, the Department has concluded that the activity will conflict with the general objectives of Integrated Environmental Management laid down in Chapter 5 of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998), and that any potential detrimental environmental impacts resulting from the activities cannot be mitigated to acceptable levels.” This is a welcome outcome for Ngwenya Lodge and the surrounding properties, as well as for the preservation of the Kruger National Park.

Thank you to each and every Ngwenya Lodge visitor, guest and valued Shareholder who voiced their concerns throughout this battle. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our neighbours, including Marloth Park and its representatives, as well as all others who have registered as I&AP’s and participated in this application; your support and determination assisted greatly in quashing this application.

Application History:

Ngwenya Lodge, Marloth Park, Lionspruit and a number of properties near Komatipoort on the southern border of the Kruger National Park have recently come face-to-face with Manzolwandle Investments; a company, based in Witbank, Mpumalanga, applying for a mining right spanning approximately 18 000ha near Komatipoort. Here’s everything we know about the 2019 mining application:

The mining right application spans 18 000ha.
  • Manzolwandle Investments has applied for four applications for the above-mentioned area; namely, a mining permit, a mining right and two prospecting applications. These applications were submitted on the 19th July 2018 and accepted for consideration by the Department of Mineral Resources on the 12th September 2018. Manzolwandle Investments then hired Singo Consulting (Pty) Ltd as their Environmental Assessment Practitioners to conduct their evaluations of the proposed mine’s impact on the area and surrounding environment.
  • In terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, applicants of this nature are required to notify all property owners and all interested and affected parties of the development. While Singo Consulting did, in fact, host a meeting on the 28th May 2019, only a handful of parties were invited to attend this public meeting and many affected parties, such as Ngwenya Lodge, were not informed of the gathering or the proposed open cast mine in the area. Ngwenya, the management team and managing agent, VRS, were informed of the application through other Interested and Affected Parties, such as Cindy Benson, from the Marloth Park Ratepayers Association.
  • Singo Consulting, in the meantime, had submitted their Scoping Report, which laid out their estimates on capital investments and highlighted the details of the proposed mining project. This is an initial report and further information and research is required to determine the viability of such a project. Business Maverick conducted further research and discovered that this initial report made no mention of the mine being within a protected area. Singo, on the 08th July 2019, also submitted their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Programme. According to IOL, this assessment stated that 33 species would be affected by the coal mine and fails to mention the effect of the mine on the wetlands. Singo’s response is that mining will not take place within 100m of the wetlands, neglecting to state that any mining activity will still negatively impact the natural water resources in the area.
  • AfriForum then started taking action to oppose the 2019 mining application near the Kruger National Park and Komatipoort. AfriForum’s lead on environmental affairs, Lambert de Klerk, submitted a letter to Manzolwandle Investments and Singo Consulting to outline the processes which had not been followed and to inform both parties that documentation concerning the proposed mine were not made public knowledge, as is necessary. Soon after, the EIA was published.
  • The Corridor Gazette, a local newspaper based in Mpumalanga, provided insight into a meeting held with the applicants, as well as Interested and Affected Parties on the 30th June 2019 at the Disaster Management Centre. Evidently, while certain studies were available to be viewed, the Environmental Impact Assessment had not been made public yet, even though a deadline for comment thereon was to be made before the 19th June, previously the 19th July. This raised yet another red flag regarding the 2019 mining application and due diligence not being followed for proper procedure. This gathering also brought to light that Singo and Manzolwandle had applied for water rights in the area, as well. This news further raises concern for the environment and communities in surrounding areas.
  • Shortly after the initial meeting between interested parties, Manzolwandle Investments and Singo Consulting, Corridor Gazette reported on the business chamber meeting held on the 04th of July, 2019, where over 300 interested parties gathered at Kambaku Golf Club to discuss the 2019 mining application. The Kruger Lowveld Chambers of Business and Tourism (KLCBT), as well as the Nkomanzi Local Tourism Organisation, co-hosted the meeting to outline the process of such an application and to inform meeting attendees of the impact the application would have on the area. The meeting also introduced Richard Spoor, an attorney and activist with a focus on South African human rights and environmental rights, who agreed to assist Interested and Affected Parties.
  • Lowvelder, a second local newspaper in Mpumalanga, also joined voices to shed light on the 2019 mining application, sharing their latest update on the 05th July 2019. Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai, an agricultural interest group, voiced his concerns on the proposed mine from a farming point-of-view. In Lowvelders article, Rossouw is quoted to have said, “This one-off yield [of the mine], as well as damage to the water table, ecology and tourism, should be weighed up against the current agricultural activities in the area, which can yield a growing income of more than R100 000 per hectare per year after deductions for an indefinite time.” Rossouw had also approached an independent mining consultant who informed him that the water requirements of the mine would affect irrigation farmers up to 300km along the Crocodile River, while dust particles from the open cast mine would affect crops; an industry that brings R100 000 per hectare per year for the economy.
  • Cindy Benson has been at the head of the fight against the 2019 mining application and continued to work with property owners and Interested and Affected Parties in the area to oppose the application. In an interview with IOL, Cindy voiced everyone’s concern over the water usage of the mine and its impact on the communities, agriculture and environment within the Kruger National Park, “The most import threat is the impact the coal mine will have on our water. The mine aims to produce approximately 20 million tonnes of high-grade coal per year, which means that the mine will use approximately 11.62 billion litres of water per year. The Kwena dam is at 40% and the Crocodile River catchment and its tributaries are disastrously low.” Other concerns included how the disruption caused by mining activities and noise pollution would affect the density of wildlife in the area, how the opencast mine would destroy and scar the biome, what impact this application would have on tourism and the workforce in the area, as well as the extent to which it would diminish agricultural activity. Many have joined voices to Benson’s over how Manzolwandle’s estimate of 150 jobs at the mine could possibly outweigh the jobs created and sustained by a number of tourism and hospitality, farming and other properties in the area.
  • To date, the only statement made by either Manzolwandle Investments, or Singo Consulting, was to IOL by Raymond Zulu, a director of the company applying for the mining right,

“They are drunk. It’s an unwinnable case. We are following all the correct procedures. They’re going to waste their money for nothing. The only people objecting are the white people. Some are not even staying in Marloth Park. They are in Australia, England, Joburg and America. Where we are going to start mining is about 12km away from Marloth Park. The people who are supporting us are the black people. They are hungry and we have to develop their lives and their places in the right manner. The Kruger is far from the place we are going to mine. I cannot talk about someone who cares about animals and doesn’t care about human beings.”

27 JULY 2019, 12:45PM / SHEREE BEGA / IOL
  • Early in October 2019, Singo Consulting, the applicant’s environmental consultant, withdrew as Environmental consultant. A case was also opened against Singo Consulting, for plagiarism and fraud, as their Background Information Document was a copy and paste from other Background Information Documents. As the Applicant’s (Manzolwandile Investments) EIA consultants withdrew, a new consultant would have to be appointed should they have wished to continue pursuing the application. The mining right had not been granted at this stage, just to be clear, the applicants were granted an acceptance letter by the DMR (which states that they must consult with landowners and interested and affected parties, as well obtain the relevant environmental reports).
  • At a meeting held on the 16th of October 2019, between representatives of Manzolwandle Investments (Pty) Ltd and representatives for the opposition, a number of pertinent points were addressed. Confirmation was received that the previous EIA was inadequate; proper scoping and a new EIA would have to be conducted and the area in question was reduced from the initial 17 985 hectares to 10 000 hectares. (The area no longer included Marloth Park or Ngwenya Lodge.) Later in the month, on the 30th of October 2019, the applicant requested an extension to allow enough time to do a proper EIA with the necessary reports.
  • While there were cheers of celebration because of the withdrawal of the initial mining application by Manzolwandle, it emerged that a new application was submitted for 5 hectares of land, in place of the previous application. This news arrived on the 26th of February 2020, as once more, proper protocol and procedure were not adhered to. A new environmental consultant, Limp Earth and Environment (Pty) Ltd was appointed to conduct the necessary EIA reports and we all patiently awaited feedback from the Department of Mineral Resources on the outcome of these initial reports.

Click here for more information on how a mining application, such as this one, could affect the Kruger National Park and surrounds.
Follow Ngwenya Lodge on Facebook to stay up-to-date with developments.

Posted by Ngwenya Marketing in Environmental Conservation, 9 comments
Mining: What’s the Impact?

Mining: What’s the Impact?

Mining in South Africa is old news; the African continent rests on some of the largest mineral deposits in the world and these deposits are where the country’s wealth lies. Economic studies show that South Africa’s mining activity has seen an incline in recent years and mining for minerals, such as coal, currently makes up over 10% of the economy’s exports. Ngwenya holds environmental conservation dear and all the recent mining-related activity got us to thinking; mining: what’s the impact?

To delve deeper into the industry and particularly to focus on the Ngwenya Lodge surrounding area, we first need to look into coal and its formation. Coal is formed over thousands of years, starting first as decomposable plant material, which is buried by sediment. The initial process results in peat; with the absence of oxygen, plant material cannot decompose completely and thus turns to a fibrous, watery substance. If peat is subjected to further pressure by being layered beneath sediments, lignite forms. Lignite is similar to peat in that traces of plants remain. The third stage of coal formation results in bituminous coal or “soft coal”. This form of coal is used across South Africa as a source of heat energy but is considered lower grade coal. Under extreme pressure and high temperatures, bituminous coal transforms into anthracite or “hard coal”. This form of coal is a high-grade source of heat energy and large deposits of it can be found in the area surrounding Ngwenya Lodge and the Kruger National Park.

It is estimated that approximately 77% of all South Africa’s energy is generated through coal, while 28% of all coal produced is exported.

WHILE AN ARGUMENT CAN BE MADE FOR THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF COAL MINING, THE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT, ESPECIALLY NEAR A HERITAGE SITE SUCH AS THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, FAR OUTWEIGHS THE JUSTIFICATION FOR SUCH A MINE


THE IMPACT

1.    Disruption

The formation of a mine so close to the Kruger National Park and in close proximity to farmland and communities will drastically affect the quality of life from the start. Mining machinery and equipment creates noise pollution and has an impact on the roads: increasing traffic, placing risk to other motorists and deteriorating the roads commonly used by tourists and locals. This disruption will affect the Kruger, as well. Wildlife is affected by the noise and air pollution, which could result in diminished numbers of some species that are reliant on the environment, while tourism may see a decline which affects the Park’s ability to maintain standards. Many of these effects last throughout the operation of the mine.

2.    Trauma

As the mine continues to operate the effects deepen. The quality of the air will continue to diminish, as potentially hazardous particles from the mines become airborne and affect the health of human and wildlife populations, alike. Physical destruction to the land can deteriorate the plant life in the area, causing a reduction in the ecosystems which give support to a number of species and which increases the risk of soil erosion. These disruptions not only affect the Park but could cause a collapse in infrastructure as ground movements’ increase.  Mines impact water as well; leaching of heavy metals into groundwater can affect human and animal water-sources, including irrigation for crops and the Crocodile River. Siltation can also occur; a process whereby soil erosion caused by mines loosens sediment, which then travels across water sources and settles on riverbeds. This smothers the riverbed and drastically affects species in the River and the quality of the water source for the species dependant thereon.

A major concern for an area such as the southern boundary of the Kruger National Park is acid mine drainage (or AMD). AMD occurs when exposed rock outcrops from mining activity leach highly acidic sulphur into water sources over prolonged periods of time. This poisonous water contaminates rivers and dams and has detrimental effects on marine life, as well as species making use of the water source. AMD is easily recognisable as coppery or red water.

3.    Scars

Once mining operations cease and the company has extracted the last of the coal, life in the immediate area may never recover. Habitat loss, as a direct result of the destruction to land, affects various species and could critically endanger, or completely eradicate, smaller populations dependent on the ecosystem. Many species are hyper-sensitive to changing environments, which puts them at risk.

These effects only explore what could happen on the surface, should a mine be constructed near Ngwenya Lodge and the Kruger National Park. The extent of the damage could be far worse.

We know, Ngwenya Lodge holds a special place in the hearts of our visitors, as they arrive, each year, to experience the wonders of the South African bush and as we await further news on the current mining application, we will continue to do the best we can to play our part in preserving this rich ecosystem through environmental conservation.

Click here for more information on the current mining application for Tenbosch Farms.

Posted by Ngwenya Marketing in Environmental Conservation, 3 comments
Raka; Our Resident Crocodile

Raka; Our Resident Crocodile

The warm weather has touched the landscape across the Crocodile River and the cold-blooded reptilians slide onto the sandbanks from the cool water to bask in the sunlight. Like logs, the creatures lie almost lifeless, soaking up the rays of sunshine with beady-eyes seemingly staring blankly ahead. Raka; our resident crocodile, slides his huge body out of the water; he is the largest of the crocodiles on this stretch and dominates many of the smaller crocs in these waters.

On this particular morning one of our guests, Tommy Weys, captures some incredible photographs of Raka in his natural habitat. An unfortunate impala has wandered too close and has been snagged. A fully grown crocodile, like Raka, will consume 20% of his body mass in a single sitting. While his main diet subsists of fish, birds and smaller antelope, he is not impartial to establishing his dominance over the River by consuming smaller crocodiles as well.

Raka’s digestive system is a well-oiled machine; perfected through thousands of years of evolution. His jaw cannot move other than to clamp down or open up; he therefore swallows prey whole. The meal will reach his stomach, and be met by hydrochloric stomach acid, as well as small stones (that he swallows) which help him to grind the food; due to an inability to chew. What’s even more interesting about this process is that his blood plays a vital role. Crocodiles have a special valve in the heart muscle linked to an aorta leading directly to the stomach, which miss the lungs completely. The blood that travels along to the stomach is thus rich in carbon dioxide, a crucial component in releasing more acid into the stomach to disintegrate prey. The influx in gastric acid means that Raka can devour and digest his prey faster than any other animal and dissolve bones that have made it into his system.

On further inspection of this prehistoric creature paleo-biologists discovered that a crocodile’s bite force averages around 16 460 newton’s; 10 000 newton’s more than that of a lion or hyena. Interestingly though, the muscles to open the jaws are not nearly as strong, which is why conservationists recorded relocating crocs by simply holding their mouths shut.

This by no means diminishes a crocodiles dangerousness; Raka will stalk his prey from below the water’s surface and lash out quickly, clamping his strong jaws shut around his victim, before pulling it back into the water where it will drown. Once shut, his jaws act as a vice-grip and will be near impossible to open.

Raka may remain in the River whilst feasting on his prize, but this is to minimise his vulnerability to other crocodiles attempting to make a claim on his meal. Once he is satisfied, he drags his large body from the cool waters and basks in the sun to digest his food. The warm rays of the sun, and the special second aorta, work in conjunction to speed up digestion; without these tools Raka’s meal would putrefy in his stomach.

As he lies along the lazy Crocodile River, we begin to notice how he, and other crocodiles around him, seem to share the same vacant expression and wide-open mouth. This social behaviour is not at all random, and shares with us another glimpse into the marvellous evolution these creatures have experienced. We already know that crocodiles are cold-blooded, so their body temperature is directly proportional to that of their environment. Along the Crocodile River, temperatures can sky-rocket to over 40° Celcius and Raka, as well as his other scaly comrades, can overheat. Lying on the sandbanks with their mouths agape works similarly to that of a dog panting; the cool breeze ripples over the crocodile’s mouth and cools the blood flowing around its brain. Once thoroughly cooled, the crocodiles will return to the depths of the Crocodile River.

Each day we watch, eagerly, as crocodilians put on a show for the Lodge’s visitors along the meandering Crocodile River. Raka; our resident crocodile and fiercest mascot, makes regular appearances to amaze and instill a sense of wonder and awe in those lucky enough to behold him; a living, breathing dinosaur of the deep.

Posted by Ngwenya Marketing in Ngwenya Sightings, 0 comments
Into The Biome

Into The Biome

Ngwenya Lodge sits comfortably along the winding Crocodile River on the South-Eastern boundary of the Kruger National Park. Being located at prime river-frontage, a major water source for Kruger wildlife makes Ngwenya well-positioned for year-round game-viewing. However, exploring the Kruger National Park on a self-drive or guided tour make for some incredible sightings; even more so when we delve into the biome of the Park and use it to our advantage for spectacular wildlife finds.

The Kruger National Park is classified as a majority Savanna biome.  This biome is characterised by grass-dominant ground coverage and woody vegetation as its upper layer; it also makes up approximately a third of South Africa’s overall biome. The upper layer of woody plants and trees almost never dominates the ground cover; this is attributed to the annual rainfall being relatively low in the area, recorded by 15 rainfall stations throughout the Kruger daily with a mean of 500mm each year. The region experiences its rainy season during the summer months; December, January and February with earth-shattering thunderstorms which are a sight to behold and often studied by international and national students. Wild grasses and shrubs make up the majority of the ground cover and provide an ample grazing ground for a range of antelope, while Acacia trees can be spotted in clusters or alone, and provide an excellent food source for larger game such as giraffe and elephant.

The Kruger National Park can be broken down into eight overlapping ecosystems, all forming a part of the greater Savanna biome, with the Central Grasslands providing the best example of the Savanna. The Northern Sandlands, Mopaneveld and Lebombo ecosystems fall further away from Ngwenya Lodge, but all make for interesting and unique game-viewing drives, should visitors wish to travel further into the Park.

Closer to home however, lies a multitude of ecosystems, each overlapping the next and providing a home to varied species, these are the; Riverine Bush, Thorn Thickets to the East, South Western Foothills, Mixed Broadleaf Woodlands and the Savanna Grasslands heading North.

  • Riverine Bush areas populate the River edges and can thus be found looking from an Ngwenya Lodge chalet patio, or lookout point. The foliage has near year-round access to water, creating a dense cover for species in the area. Commonly found on the floodplains are; elephant, waterbuck, crocodile and occasionally big cats and other game during the drier seasons when water is scarce.
  • Thorn Thickets are located towards the east along the Crocodile and Sabie Rivers and are characterised by large Acacia trees. During the summer months this thicket provides excellent cover for game seeking to wait out the heat of the day, and giraffe can often be found grazing from their favoured food source; the Acacia tree.
  • South Western Foothills make up the area enveloping Pretoriuskop and Berg-en-Dal to the West of Ngwenya Lodge. This area receives the highest rainfall within the Kruger Park and features incredible granite outcrops perfect for looking out over the Lowveld for a refreshment stop.

Nkumbe Lookout Point, Lower Sabie

  • Mixed Broadleaf Woodlands cover Skukuza and surrounds moving west into the National Park. The Woodlands are characterised by a range of Bushwillow trees and provide an excellent opportunity for guests wanting to spot predators. Regular sightings of lion, leopard and hyena are reported in this region.
  • Savanna Grasslands start north of the Sabie River and are a typical example of the Savanna biome; large open spaces covered in wild grasses and the occasional cluster of Acacia trees mark the area. This ample grassy vegetation means that large herds of antelope can be sighted here; zebra, wildebeest and rooibok cover the plains. The area also attracts many predators and cheetah put their speed to good use on the grasslands.

The Kruger National Park offers a wide range of ecosystems to explore and even more species to be sighted; a treasure trove of wildlife experiences. Journey into the biome and discover all this South African landscape has to offer.

Posted by Ngwenya Marketing in Wildlife