Table Mountain NP: INFO

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast

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Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour Exhibition Launch Cape of Good Hope

07 June 2023

A new exhibition exploring the Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour, has opened its doors at the Cape of Good Hope Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre (BVC) in Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). The exhibition showcases the discovery of early modern human origins and innovations in southern Africa, using multi-media displays.

This exhibition is presented by South African National Parks (SANParks), together with the University of Bergens SFF Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE) in Norway, and the Evolutionary Studies Institute of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in South Africa.

The Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour exhibition, curated by award-winning documentary filmmaker, Craig Foster, and archaeologist, Petro Keene, showcases the culmination of some 30 years of archaeological research in the southern Cape undertaken by Professor Christopher Henshilwood, Dr Karen van Niekerk, Professor Sarah Wurz and their research teams at the respective archaeological sites.

I am proud to say that this exhibition represents the culmination of 30 years of archaeological research and collaboration between our teams of experts in various fields including psychology, chronology and palaeoclimate.

Our goal has been to shed light on the complex and fascinating evolution of early Homo sapiens and their cultural and cognitive abilities. Using cutting-edge technology and innovative research methods, we have been able to uncover new insights into the behaviour of our early common ancestors and affirm that we do, indeed, all come from Africa.

From the development of complex tools and symbolic communication, the exhibition showcases the remarkable achievements of early. Homosapiens in southern Africa and their ability to adapt and thrive in a changing environment, says Professor Christopher Henshilwood of Sapience.

The exhibition comprises 19 unique display panels, including six videos by Craig Foster and Damon Foster, and bespoke Sea Change Project content, allowing visitors a unique multi-sensory experience.

The daily life of early Homo sapiens has been recreated on film, and the artefacts and objects created and used by these early inhabitants of our coastline have been meticulously replicated for a display to capture the way of life of humans between 120 000 and 50 000 years ago. The videos highlight the remarkable scientific work of the SapienCE and Wits archaeologists and aim to connect people to the environment, and through this, generate a better understanding of themselves.

Speaking at the event, SANParks CEO, Ms. Hapiloe Sello said, I would like to express my gratitude and admiration to the team of archaeologists for creating, developing and constructing an exhibition on early behaviour of Sapiens (early humans).

This is indeed a remarkable project. TMNP now has an opportunity to host this magnificent exhibition here at BVC for the next three years. We are proud to offer visitors and particularly young people an opportunity to add to their bucket list, a cultural exploration exhibition that educates us about our common past and allows us to see first-hand where and how all human ancestors lived. It demonstrates our desire to communicate in an innovative, engaging way that reduces barriers and makes science exploration universally accessible and exciting.

SANParks is in the process of implementing a strategy for the improvement of the management of cultural heritage in national parks. Key features of the strategy include identifying and documenting cultural heritage, conserving cultural heritage and the interpretation as well as the presentation of cultural heritage for visitors to enjoy.

This exhibition is therefore one of the activities aimed at the interpretation and presentation of cultural heritage for the benefit of South Africans and the world. In the last few years, SANParks throughout its 22 national parks has been presenting opportunities for the showcasing of a host of cultural heritage packages in our national parks, one of the key ways in which SANParks is diversifying its tourism offerings.

Images and video footage www.facebook.com/TableMountainNP

Inquiries:
Rey Thakhuli
SANParks GM: Media, Events And Stakeholder Relations, Communications
Cell: 0733734999 Or Email: [email protected]

Lauren Howard Clayton
SANParks Regional Communications Manager: Cape Region
Cell: 071 115 5843 or Email: [email protected]
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Table Mountain National Park Prohibits Kite boarding at Noordhoek Lagoon

22 June 2023

Concerns have recently been raised by environmental and recreational user groups concerning the use of Noordhoek Beach’s seasonal backshore lagoon that forms above the high water mark of the beach area. Since before the Table Mountain National Park’s establishment in 1998, various high-impact recreational activities have been undertaken in the Park such as mountain biking, walking with dogs, horse riding and paragliding.

Following rigorous environmental and consultative processes by the Park with Peninsula-wide stakeholder groupings and the public, certain long-established recreational activities are permitted in the Park in terms of an approved Environmental Management Programme (EMP) for the respective activity. These EMPs strive to reduce their environmental impact by identifying areas, routes and codes of conduct and to lessen conflict between users.

In terms of these EMPs, dog walking (only on leads) and horse riding (only on designated routes) are two of the recreational activities permitted around the Noordhoek backshore lagoon. In 2007, the Park was challenged with the arrival of kiteboarding as a recreational activity on Noordhoek lagoon. Environmental and other recreational user groups expressed their concerns to SANParks due to the impacts of kiteboarding on birdlife and other recreational users.

At that stage SANParks assessed the matter taking into account all considerations and took the decision that kiteboarding was not an appropriate recreational activity to take place on the Noordhoek Beach backshore lagoon. This decision was communicated at the time and signage to this effect was erected at the car park and on the trail to the beach. Unfortunately, this "No Kite Boarding" signage has at various times been removed and had to be replaced.

Table Mountain National Park management has again assessed the situation and reiterates the decision that kiteboarding is not permitted at Noordhoek Lagoon. This decision has been carefully considered and is made in the context of SANParks conservation mandate as well as in the interests of all users. Noordhoek lagoon is not suitable for kiteboarding for several environmental reasons:

Environmental Impact

The lagoon represents a rare, if not unique, habitat type on the Peninsula. Because it experiences relatively limited human disturbance, it acts as a refuge for roosting birds driven from rocky-shore roosts by high levels of human disturbance.

Fauna

The area is a vital breeding ground for the African Black Oystercatcher, which is a Red Data Book species – a very threatened species. The horse-riding community has agreed to restrict access here for these reasons. The results have been positive and to nullify this success by permitting an additional impactful activity such as high-speed kiteboarding would be a retrogressive step. The lagoon margins also support breeding pairs of White-fronted Plover which, while not threatened, struggle to breed along that coastline due to high levels of urbanization and human disturbance. The pan is also a significant commuting zone for Cape Clawless Otters on their way between the sea and Noordhoek wetlands.

Flora

The dune vegetation, vital for the functioning of the dune ecosystem, is easily disturbed. To permit an additional activity that threatens its health is highly undesirable.

Access And Erosion

If the vegetation is denuded erosion will set in. Additionally, in order to access the proposed site, users would use different approach routes. Proper conservation practice channels managed access through sensitive areas to limit the damage. New access routes will lead other path users to the desired routes, which will have a negative impact on the dune vegetation.

Impact on other Users

The horse-riding community has stated that kite-boarders spook horses. This places riders in danger of being thrown or horses bolting and endangering other users and horses in danger of injuring themselves. In addition, the lagoon is a popular place for families with young children. Speeding kite boards impact on the peace and safety of the area, the birdlife, and other users.

Park management must accommodate park users while protecting the natural environment so that it can be managed in a sustainable manner taking into to account the enjoyment of future generations and not only current users. In addition, there is often conflict between the needs of different user groups. Some activities are high impact and others call for peace and quiet.

It is hoped that, while some in the kite-boarding fraternity may not welcome this ruling their support can be relied on, in the interests of conserving this precious ecosystem.

Inquiries:
Lauren Howard Clayton
SANParks Regional Communications Manager: Cape Region
Cell: 071 115 5843 Or Email: [email protected]

Babalwa Dlangamandla
Public Relations Officer: Table Mountain National Park
Cell: 071 115 5843 or Email: [email protected]
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Impact of floods caused by heavy rains at Table Mountain National Park

23 June 2023

Cape Town - Following the recent heavy rains in Cape Town, South African National Parks (SANParks) can confirm that Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) was severely impacted by the floods in most areas of the park including the park's infrastructure and natural vegetation. According to the South African Weather Services (SAWS), a significant amount of rainfall was recorded in the past week within the City of Cape Town Metropolitan area and Table Mountain National Park was no exception as it is a park that falls within the city.

TMNP Manager, Ms. Megan Taplin said "We are grateful for the rain that is filling up dams. The natural vegetation thrives beautifully during the rainy season but this year the park has been severely affected by the floods and causing a lot of infrastructure damage, especially to the hiking trails, and posing danger to the park users due to landslides, road verge erosion, and sinkholes. The park is still conducting assessments on the extent of the damage and regularly updating the alerts to park users of the dangerous areas they need to avoid until further notice. The estimated damage to the infrastructure is still yet to be determined as there are new reports of infrastructure damage on a daily basis."

The following areas have been affected by the recent floods and we urge the park users to exercise caution or avoid the mountain trails where slippery, wet, and muddy conditions persist to avoid having accidents and requiring rescue. Affected areas includes:

* Newlands Forest - eroded trails and fallen trees/branches.

* Tokai - Level 5 cycling trail in Upper Tokai closed due to landslides, boulders, and debris in the road. The area is currently inaccessible for cyclists and vehicles.

* Rhodes Memorial - Tar road lifted, fallen trees, mass amounts of debris in the road, and eroded trails. The road is closed until further notice.

* Schusterskraal Boardwalk (Scarborough) closed pending repairs as a result of erosion underneath the boardwalk.

* Landslide on Tafelberg Jeep track and lots of rock fall on the tar road..

* Landslide along Constantia Nek hiking trail leading up to the dam area.

* Sink hole and a fallen tree in Deer Park.

* Landslides discovered along Camps Bay Pipe Track

* Ouwa Pad in Silvermine closed.

* Landslide off the hiking trail to the Admiral's Waterfall in Simonstown.

* Road verge erosion discovered in Silvermine East Management track.

Ms. Taplin concluded, "The intensive work to repair the infrastructure damage will be carried out once the weather conditions become more favorable. In the meantime, some repair work is being carried out by park rangers and volunteers. The winter rains have been predicted for the duration of the season and the park will continue to ensure the safety of the users and will keep them informed of any new developments. At this stage, our tourism facilities are not affected by the floods and guests are still welcome to visit the park or contact us on 021 712 0527 for more information."


Enquiries:
Lauren Howard Clayton
SANParks Regional Communications Manager: Cape Region
Cell: 071 115 5843 Or Email: [email protected]

Babalwa Dlangamandla
Public Relations Officer: Table Mountain National Park
Cell: 071 115 5843 or Email: [email protected]
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Notice: Silvermine Dam Closed Until Further Notice

Dear Visitors,
Please be advised that the Silvermine Dam in the Central Section of Table Mountain National Park is currently closed to the public until further notice due to the drowning incident that took place today, 12 November 2023.
Table Mountain National Park will continue to provide updates on progress being made once the information becomes available and we kindly request visitors to be patient with us during this time.
#SANParks #TableMountainNationalPark #SilvermineDam
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Notice Update: Silvermine Dam Closure

Dear visitors,
Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) can confirm that a body of a 24 year old male has been retrieved at Silvermine Dam following his drowning this afternoon.
TMNP Park Manager, Ms Megan Taplin said,
" the body was retrieved by the SAPS diving unit with assistance of an NSRI vessel. The family positively identified the body and is now undergoing counseling. We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family during this difficult time."
SANParks would like to express gratitude to all the emergency personnel who assisted, including SAPS, NSRI, City of Cape Town and TMNP rangers for their dedication and hard work during this time.
#SANParks #TableMountainNationalPark #SilvermineDam
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