Autumn 2020 Newsletter

Photo: Barry Downard

Greetings from Dargle!

The lockdown has certainly changed things for most of us quite drastically over the past few months. Thankfully those of us who have the privilege of living in the beautiful Dargle are still able to get out and about to take photographs to share with those of you who have been unable to see the beautiful countryside. Our Dargle Facebook and Dargle Instagram accounts have been kept up to date over the past few months with regular additions. Now all our email readers can get to enjoy them as well!

At the end of last year, I was approached by Simoné Scott who was keen to gain some more knowledge of what Conservancies do and the roles which they play in our communities, and she had chosen a few different conservancies to talk to, one of which was the Dargle Conservancy. This year she officially started her own website and blog: "FoundNation Podcast". This explains more about them and the work which they hope to achieve: "FoundNation was created to showcase the incredible people and organisations who are working hard, positively impacting South Africa. This podcast series will feature some lesser-known inspirational South Africans who are making a difference. You can expect to hear more about their challenges, but also about their triumphs." Should you wish to listen to that podcast then please click on this link: 

Photo: Alvera Crookes

As most of you are aware, the Dargle Conservancy Volunteers have also been very busy with our Covid 19 Relief Fund, our volunteers have been personally helping to feed our most vulnerable local communities during the lockdown with food parcels. The families we have managed to look after (thanks to the overwhelmingly generous donations we have received from both home and abroad!) have been extremely thankful and have also expressed their heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has given to the cause. The Dargle Conservancy have also opened up our own reserve funds and have made donations to both the local SPCA this past week, as well as to FreeMeKZN who continue to look after our sick and injured wildlife during these trying times. Thank you to all those amazing volunteers as well!

You may continue to make EFT donations to the Dargle Conservancy bank account, and we shall distribute the funds accordingly to local organisations that need help and which we have identified are also doing a great job in preserving and conserving the environment and the creatures around us:

First National Bank
Howick Branch code: 220725
Acc : 622 1187 9236

The Dargle Conservancy is a registered
Non Profit Organisation:
054-508 NPO


Now please enjoy the images below shared by our talented local photographers, farmers, managers, property owners and activists! 

Ashley Crookes - Chairman
Dargle Conservancy Volunteers

Alvera Crookes - Copperleigh Farm

Late afternoon, looking out over Mavela Dam

Stunning sunset

A farmer and his sheepdog admiring the view
Barry Downard - Oak Tree Cottage

Autumn has arrived

Later afternoon shot of Inhlosane Mountain

The beautiful Inversanda Farm

Papilio demodocus or Citrus swallowtail 

Precis archesia, the garden inspector or garden commodore

Junonia oenone oenone or Male Blue Pansy

Golden orb web spider

Golden orb with larder

Jenny Goddard 

Grey duiker on the lawn

Stunning red toadstool


White mushrooms

Umgeni River in full flow

Umgeni River running well after the late rains

Lynne Garbutt

Possibly a Jackal buzzard, spotted whilst on my way to deliver Covid 19 Relief food parcels

Sally Field - Mount Park Guest Farm
Pink skies over the dam

Sunset over the forest at Mount Park

Sharon Barnsley
Autumn leaves on the tress

Tim Arnott

Sundowner seen from the Lions River valley side

Ashley Crookes - Copperleigh Farm

Busy bee gathering from a pink Cosmos on the roadside

Unopened Crocosmia growing wild on the road verges

Olive house snake in the garden

Hairy caterpillar

Stinkhorn mushroom

Tiny frog on my finger

Painted reed frog

Sun rays

Mavela dam and Inhlosane Mountain

Late rains flooding the streams

Hail on the P130 heading through Dargle

Hail with autumn leaves


Ant lion with open wings

Ant lion

Rocky outcrop


Late afternoon sun through the pin oak leaves

Fungus growing on an old stump

Bracken Frond 


Just one of the amazing sunsets seen so far this year
What's Coming Up?

**All the usual walks, talks and events which take place during the lockdown period are cancelled. We shall send out details once the lockdown is lifted, and we look forward to you all getting back out into the countryside to see the beautiful Dargle!

Khula Shanti Forest Walk - Boston
09h00 – 11h00 
First Sunday of every month. A gentle stroll through a peaceful forest crossing streams and listening to the birds. Meet at the Pickle Pot. Donation goes towards forest rehabilitation.
Bookings: Carol Segal 082 450 6792

Kilgobbin Forest and Grassland Walk
Thursday 7 May 2020 at 09h00
Park at Crab Apple Chapel D707
Explore grasslands and beautiful mistbelt forest area
Donation R50 to Dargle Conservancy
Bookings: Nikki Brighton 083 473 3074

Mpophomeni Hills Walk
09h00 – 11h00
Second Tuesday of every month. Join local guides to learn more about the area.
Bookings: Penz Malinga 078 236 4480

Fort Nottingham Reserve – Lion’s Bush 
09h00 – 11h00
Third Thursday of every month. Meet at Fort Nottingham Museum to explore the grassland and forest. Please call to confirm attendance.
Bookings: Roy/Val Tabernor 082 487 0922

Beacon Hill Walk – Howick 
09h00 to 11h00
Last Sunday of the month. Meet at the top of Lake View Road for a walk in the grassland. 
Bookings: Eve Hughes 082 872 4333

Dargle Conservancy AGM
CURRENTLY POSTPONED for 2020 - Details to Follow once lockdown restrictions are lifted
Dargle Discovery Slackpack
Experience Spekboom’s latest 3 day, 3 night all-inclusive slackpack combining the best Drakensberg hiking with our famous Midlands comforts and hospitality!The newly developed Dargle Discovery is a 3 day slackpacking hike combining rugged high berg hiking with the luxury of fine Midlands comforts. Traversing privately owned land in several reserves and conservancies otherwise not accessible to the public, this slackpack encompasses some of the most iconic areas of the Midlands. Given the variety of different ecological niches, this region offers a rich biodiversity and high level of endemism. The Dargle valley is home to over 200 species of birds and highly specialized animals like Samango Monkeys, Cape Parrots and Rock Dassies. The ever-changing landscapes include breath taking mountain summits, highly threatened Mist-Belt Forest, Afro-Montane grassland, rolling farmland and panoramic Midlands vistas.
Nature based eco-tourism is one of the principal aims of Spekboom Tours with 10% of profits going towards local conservation projects.
Duration: 3 days, 3 nights
Recommended fitness level: Moderate
Average daily walking distances: 10-17 km
Accommodation types: Comfortable midlands-style B&B, farm cottages
Price: from R4200pps

Inclusive of comfortable accommodation, all meals, luggage transfer, registered guide, conservancy fees. Bespoke tours can also be arranged for organised groups with special interests: Birding, biomimicry, ecology, poetry and mediation and flowers gazing.
 Dargle Discoverer R4200 pp
  • Friday 16th October – Monday 19th October 2020
Contact Julia:

Spekboom Tours
Latest May Newsletter from Conservancies KZN
All the Midlands Walks
The mission of the Conservancy is to actively conserve the natural beauty and biodiversity of the Dargle area for the benefit of present and future generations, by stimulating interest and awareness of conservation issues within the community as a whole, through education and community involvement.

Our mailing address is:

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Dargle Conservancy PO Box 30 Dargle 3265 054-508 NPO

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Dargle Conservancy · PO Box 30 · Dargle, KZN 3245 · South Africa

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