Time for sweeping change

Discuss the interaction between humans and nature
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cptphotographer
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Unread post by cptphotographer »

I totally agree with perks, we have a 20 month old boy, on our recent trip to Kruger he couldn't wait to get out of the car and have a nice run around on the lawns of Satara and Pretoriuskop respectively. Taking these away will no doubt leave a massive void in the enjoyment of little ones.
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Kingfisha
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Unread post by Kingfisha »

Someone asked earlier what type of grass is used.
According to my understanding, the lawn is Buffalo grass.
It is a thick leafed grass that grows slower and the colour is a deeper green.
This grass is more friendly than Kikuyu as it needs less water and grows in the shade (to some extent).
I do agree that the lawns must stay - the atmosphere in the camps such as Lower Sabie and Letaba will never be the same without it.

Fortunately, as far as I know there are no exotic trees left in the camps anymore!
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Grantmissy
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Re: Rehabilitation of natural bush in the camps

Unread post by Grantmissy »

The camp where a bit more exotic plants and trees can be seen in the gardens is Pretoriuskop, perhaps for nostalgic/historical reasons. Lawns in Kruger do add to the relaxing atmosphere of the camps and creates a sense of coolness especially during the hottest summer months.
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Time for sweeping change

Unread post by gentle tread »

I have found in many parks and reserves, both private and national there is an excess of sweeping the ground in the camps. Just because it is an African tradition does not make it either mandatory or correct.

The fallen leaves are part of the nutrient cycle. They are also very important both in retaining soil moisture and allowing rain to penetrate. Essentially they make the ground 'plant friendly'.

The sweeping also results in soil erosion. I cannot see any beauty or benefit in a cement path perched high above sand swept to death. I also find that a camp site that has developed a central hollow surrounded by the mounds of sand from sweeping less than desirable in the wet, as one is essentially in a puddle.

We visit parks and reserves to reconnect with and enjoy the natural world. Surely even those of us who have a fear of fallen leaves could learn to accept them as part of a healthy functioning ecology. Sure one could clear a patch when one camps, but return the leaves when one leaves to perform their function.

The staff who feel they are not doing a good job if there are leave on sites could rather become obsesive about litter. Imagine if all the micro litter was removed- the bottle tops, bread tags, peppermint wrappers, bits of cable tie and cigarette butts that seem to be always present. Perhaps then we would be more careful, as any tiny thing we might drop would be the first item, and we would be shamed into care. We dont tolerate these things in our homes and gardens, so we ought to care much much more if they are in those precious areas where creation is as it was.

I recently saw the leaves were all neatly raked or swept against tree trunks. This can kill trees. The bark can be damaged by having constant damp and no air circulation.

Please managers, ecologists and staff. Can the sweeping stop?
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Meandering Mouse
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Re: Time for sweeping change

Unread post by Meandering Mouse »

gentle tread, a very warm welcome to you. :gflower: (I love your name)

What an important and interesting discussion you have opened. One of the reasons why I enjoy certain more rustic camps is because the design seems so much more bush friendly.

I think you have brought up some very pertinent points.
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Stampajane
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Re: Time for sweeping change

Unread post by Stampajane »

Welcome gentle tread and I couldn't agree with you more. It has taken many years to get my gardener to leave the leaves where they fall in my garden. My soil is great but he still has that built in urge to sweep everything bare.

And as for all the micro litter!! I was quite horrified at how much was lying around each camp site that we set up our tent. We were taught from young to be tidy and considerate campers and not to leave even the tiniest scrap of litter. No longer, it seems. I lost count of the number of cut cable ties I picked up and threw in the bin, also bottle tops, chop bones, toothpicks, bent tent pegs, the list goes on and on. As for cigarette butts, almost anywhere you stopped - look out point, picnic spot, waterhole, river loop, anywhere, you could look down and find stompies!! On a positive note, I brought home a bag full of bread tags to donate to the charity that collects them for wheelchairs.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if your suggestion could be implemented but what a crying shame that there is so much litter discarded by uncaring visitors.
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Re: Time for sweeping change

Unread post by Pooh Bear »

Oh I am so glad you brought this up and that it may eventually be taken further! I have been venting about this same thing for years!!! I fill it in on every feedback report to SANParks and I have a little moan to camp managers too! I've always been told that they need to ensure there are no creepy crawlies close to the bungalows. Wouldn't be good for a puff adder to curl up amongst some fallen leaves - but then puff adders can also curl up in the middle of a swept path!

And as for the micro-litter, well that just makes my blood boil. I always pick up whatever is around my camp site or chalet and fail to understand the supposed nature lovers who put it there. I have been known to chase after people who blatantly litter, shouting "excuse me, you dropped something", while handing back the discarded item and pointing to a bin not five yards away.

I do hope that your voice is heard - you certainly have my support, a million times over!! Very few things rile me in the Kruger Park, but sweeping and littering get me every time.....
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hilda
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Re: Time for sweeping change

Unread post by hilda »

Very well said, thank you Meandering Mouse, Stampajane and Pooh Bear! I have reported it to the Mods, and hope to receive a reply from SANParks soon! :gflower:
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Re: Time for sweeping change

Unread post by Rooies »

This is a very interesting topic. I was thinking the same the other day when I went to the municipal rubbish dump. Bakkie loads of leaves, grass cuttings and twigs were being dumped. In essence, we are treating the nutrients, taken from the earth by the leaves as rubbish, to be thrown away alongside rubber and plastics. When I was staying in Bloemfontein, I saw some of the older gardens, that were raked clean year after year, becoming barren. They had to use lots of compost to get it back to where one could grow anything.

Would I support a campaign to leave the camps 'unraked' ? No, if you consider the size of the camps in relation to the size of the Greater Kruger area, then the impact of removing the leaves will be negligible.
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Philip1
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Re: Time for sweeping change

Unread post by Philip1 »

Grantmissy wrote:A year and a half ago we stayed at the Lebombo guest house in Olifants Camp and the tiny gardens and spaces between the rooms and living area were kept natural without any sweeping or raking or other garden work done. Unfortunately I picked up two full bags of litter between, on top and underneath the leaves and between the garden weeds.


:clap: Well done Grantmissy for doing right what others do wrong. :whistle:
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Meandering Mouse
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Re: Time for sweeping change

Unread post by Meandering Mouse »

Philip1 wrote:Just what i can remember when i was about +- eight years old.

Helping my father weeding the garden, he always said to me "now do not rake the leaves, only the weeds".
When after awhile i asked him why not the dry leaves, he said "because the dry leaves protect the soil and helps the soil to maintain moisture". :)


What a wise father. 8)

I do think that we need a complete rethink around the way 'gardening' is done in Kruger, particularly in the older camps. The newer camps have a more eco-clever design.

The way gardens are watered is also a problem. I know that it is beautiful to have well laid out lawns, but it is not water friendly. Some of the sprinklers can use a lot of water. A drip system would be much kinder.

Perhaps I am ignorant and water is coming from a river system, but grass is a thirsty beast in summer.

Maybe, next Mandela day, we can do a forum clean up in our own area. :hmz: An hour of service to the country and mother nature.
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