Welcome to 2020!

The New Year saw a large group of keen walkers gather for the monthly Kilgobbin Forest walk on Thursday morning. Nikki Brighton has been a keen guide since taking over the walk at the end of last year, and I am sure she is enjoying being back out in the beauty of the Dargle. Here are some comments which she received afterwards:

From Merrill King - "What a tonic this morning was 😃. I cannot believe it has taken this long to get there!!! Thank you for your erudite wisdom and enthusiasm - we are all the more educated from your insightful knowledge. Thank you for being the “most fabulous” tour guide."

From Imran Vanker - "Just chatting with my dad about the amazing day out and what remarkable work you are doing and your encyclopedic knowledge of the area and the flora.  Thank you for welcoming me and for such a memorable morning. Indeed most invigorated and wish the same to you."

There have also been quite a few folk heading out to Mount Park Guest Farm this past week in order to spend the morning climbing the majestic Inhlosane Mountain. Travelers can park there, pay R30pp entrance fee and enjoy a cup of tea/coffee and a cookie afterwards. This is just a small sample of the images sent in, click on this link: Dargle.KZN to go to the Facebook page to see many more pictures.

FreeMe also recently came out to Copperleigh Farm to place 2 Spotted Eagle Owls in the care of the Crookes Family. These owls will hopefully be rehabilitated on Copperleigh Farm. For more information on the work that they do or to become a release site please visit their website:

So enjoy having a look at all the wonderful activities that are on offer in the Dargle area for you to see and experience - we look forward to seeing you in the area soon!

Ashley Crookes
Dargle Conservancy Volunteers 
Kilgobbin Forest Walk 
Andrew Mason shared with us some lovely pics from the Kilgobbin Forest Walk
Branch in the forest
Fern frond
Nikki Brighton supplied some images of the walkers heading out over the farm and grassland areas 
A stop along the way to admire the views and for a group photo to be taken 
Inhlosane Mountain Hikes
Gillian Jarvis Tredgold sent us this pic of the kids on top of Inhlosane: "Thank you. What a great day out. We loved the route that was recommended and were so grateful for your advice. Well we saw something of the view before the clouds rolled in. Rather a late start on account of New Year’s festivities"
Ashley Crookes took some guests (the Archer Family from Mpumalanga) who were staying at his establishment, Copperleigh Trout Cottages, for a hike up the mountain and they thoroughly enjoyed their time in the outdoors.
Old stone wall on the ridge
Looking out over the Dargle Valley, Mavela Dam to the right on Copperleigh Farm and Howick in the distance
Many young millipedes that were found on a rock
Panoramic view of the Dargle area
Young Berg Adder that hissed to warn us to keep away - about 6cm long
FreeMe - Spotted Eagle Owl Rehabilitation
Installing the cage for the owls. They need to be fed and looked after each day for 2-3 weeks whilst they settle into their new environment.
Each owl has it's own story - the one on the left was hand raised by humans then brought in to be released. This is a huge challenge, as the owl does not know how to survive in the wild and then has to be trained. Always bring in any wildlife you find to FreeMe as they have the expertise to look after and rehabilitate the animals properly. The owl on the right lost sight in it's one eye due to someone attacking it, a very sad story, but it has recovered and should be fine to hunt on it's own soon.  
Young Spotted Eagle Owl which had been hand reared
Chairman of the Dargle Conservancy, Ashley Crookes, takes temporary custody of the owls from FreeMe volunteers: Wade Whitehead and Tammy Caine
Parting Shot
A beautiful Dargle sunset enjoyed by guests over Mavela Dam - Copperleigh Trout Cottages
What's Coming Up?

Boston Forest Walk 
09h00 – 11h00 
First Sunday of every month. A gentle stroll through a forest patch, crossing streams and listening to the birds.
Bookings: Carol Segal 082 450 6792

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
Kilgobbin Forest and Grassland Walk
Thursday 6 Feb 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

Dargle Conservancy AGM
May 2020 - Details to Follow
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 20th March-Monday 23rd March 2020
  • Friday 16th October – Monday 19th October 2020
Contact Julia:
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, KZN 3245 · South Africa

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