18 Apr 2013

Horses evacuated from Hout Bay riding school after Disa River burst its banks

Horses evacuated from Hout Bay riding school after Disa River burst its banks

Photo by Sherri-Lynn Ekermans.

The amount of rain that Hout Bay has had in the last two days, caused the Disa River to burst its banks. One of the Hout Bay riding schools had to evacuate all their horses to higher ground.

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17 Feb 2012

Hout Bay wetland gets a new lease on life

Hout Bay wetland gets a new lease on life

Taken from capetown.gov.za:

Published by Martin Pollack.
Developer commences with restoration of Disa River Wetlands in Hout Bay

The City of Cape Town, in partnership with the Department of Water Affairs (DWA), has received confirmation from the developers of the Hout Bay Beach Club – Really Useful Investments 219 (Pty) Ltd – that they began work in preparation for rehabilitation of the Disa River Wetlands in Hout Bay on Wednesday, 15 February 2012.

This follows legal action taken by the City and the DWA to prevent any further infilling of the wetlands. The City served a Pre-Directive on the developers in April 2011 before serving a Directive in terms of the Environment Conservation Act in May 2011. Concurrently, a Pre-Directive was served by the DWA in terms of the National Water Act, followed by a Directive.

The City and the DWA had significant concerns regarding the impact of the aforementioned activities on the riverine and wetland environment, the quality of the water, and the beach areas adjacent to the Beach Club. In addition to the City’s concerns, a number of complaints were received from Hout Bay residents and a petition was later handed to the City by Kronendal Primary School in Hout Bay.

“We are very pleased that the developers of the Beach Club have initiated work to abide by the conditions set out in the Directive. Working together with the Department of Water Affairs, the City has shown that destruction of our natural resources will not be tolerated. The agreement to rehabilitate the wetland is especially welcomed as we recently celebrated World Wetlands Day,” says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Alderman Belinda Walker.

The process has taken some time to conclude because of the specialist information that the developers needed to obtain (i.e. reports prepared by wetland and hydrological specialists retained by the developers and the City), which then had to be carefully reviewed by the City.

The City of Cape Town’s Directive required that the developers stop infilling immediately, survey the natural flood lines, and appoint a freshwater ecologist to assess the impact of infilling and make detailed recommendations for rehabilitation.

Now that these studies are complete, the developer is required to remove the material that was placed in the floodplain of the river to the satisfaction of the City. An agreement has been drafted between the City and the developers on the extent of fill to be removed, the timing and methods to be used, and the monitoring of the process.

“The developer has until 30 March 2012 to complete the required rehabilitation work and the City will be monitoring this process carefully,” said Alderman Walker.

“This is another good example of co-operative governance between the City of Cape Town and the Department of Water Affairs to protect our natural resources,” said the Chief Director of the Western Cape Department of Water Affairs, Rashid Khan.

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07 Feb 2011

The Disa is in bloom!

The Disa is in bloom!

By tim rolston/iol.co.za:

It is odd how things happen. I have been traipsing about the mountains of the Cape for more years than I care to remember and possibly more than I should admit to, and I have always carried a desire to see red disas. They are, after all, the official flower of the province and pretty as a picture to boot, but they are not exactly common. I once saw them in profusion while floating down a private and remote section of the Oliphants River many moons ago on an extreme kloofing trip, but they have eluded me since, despite the occasional foray with the express intention of locating them in flower.

But last week I was fortunate once more to come across these incredible blooms in some degree of abundance and I suppose, as with many things, it is mostly a case of being in the right place at the right time.

The weather had been rather hot and the south-easter more than a little troublesome so I was having some difficulty thinking of a place to go. Eventually I decided to try a route up Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine, as my guide book promised it would be sheltered from the wind and the bright sun for most of the ascent. I had never walked on that part of the mountain before.

Myburgh’s is a steep wooded gulley heading up towards Judas Peak above Hout Bay, cutting up through the seemingly impenetrable massif that borders the northern boundary of the valley in an impressive rock cliff.

I set out early but it was already hot on a trail I knew would eventually take me some 700m above sea level, a more than reasonable target in high summer. What a blessing when I almost immediately disappeared into thick, green forest that provided cool and shade.

The gorge was an oasis of green, the rocks underfoot covered in still slightly damp moss, although the river bed was mostly devoid of water save for the occasional trapped puddle. Overhead the lush vegetation provided the kind of sparkling and dappled light that enthrals me, softening the hard edges of reality and bathing everything in delicate emerald tones.

The forest also buffered the sounds of the outside world so much I could no longer hear the traffic noise from Constantia Nek or the relentless hammering of construction projects in the valley below, only the soft crunch of leaves and twigs under foot and the incessant cry of a rock kestrel busy in the clear blue skies high above .

The ravine narrowed severely near the top and at one point I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to escape it, as sheer rock walls on either side pressed closer. Near the summit, as the sun began to break through the thinning canopy, there they were, a cluster of bright red disas and I was totally elated to see them in relative profusion.

It is one of the things I have learned from my walks: you can rarely predict what you will find but if you make the effort and simply head out with a willing heart, nature will generally reward you. The red disa (Disa uniflora) flowers from January through to March and loves damp seeps on the edges of steep waterways; there are apparently some 100 species of disa in the fynbos so it would seem I have a lot of walking to do to see the rest of them.

Eventually I clambered out of the ravine and into the harsh sunshine of the mountain top, following a faint trail to join up with the Twelve Apostles path and my route home via Llandudno Ravine. The sea was pretty as a picture but the descent was long and tiring in the heat of the day and the trail back to the car seemed to last longer than I would have liked.

As I walked, a mongoose tripped along in front of me for a while and I passed a cluster of black and white spotted feathers where some creature had obviously dined on a guineafowl in the recent past. By the time I reached the car I was more than a little tired, but I had finally found my disas and that was enough to make the effort worthwhile.

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21 Dec 2010

Disa River drowning, vicitms name released

Disa River drowning, vicitms name released

Extract from www.thestar.co.za:

Deon Davids, 25, drowned at the Disa River Mouth on Hout Bay beach on Monday afternoon. Family members and friends gathered to pray. Trauma counsellors and pastors offered support.

Just a few metres from them, Davids’s plastic-wrapped body lay on the shore.

Community members gathered and said they had decided to come to the river after hearing what had happened.

Davids’ mother Heidi Samuels, brushing tears from her eyes, expressed shock but did not want to be interviewed.

A woman, who onlookers said was Davids’ girlfriend, collapsed and cried. She wordlessly shook her head and declined to speak to the Cape Times before getting into a car.

Owen Lover, a friend of Davids, said: “I couldn’t believe it when they phoned me now.”

He said they had planned to travel to Port Elizabeth in the next week to visit family.

Lover and Davids had been friends for about five years and had often gone fishing together.

Hout Bay police spokeswoman Tanya Lesch said Davids had been swimming with friends from the sea toward the river about 3pm. Davids had swam in front of the others and they had seen him raise his arms. They had thought he was fooling around but suddenly he disappeared.

After swimming towards him and searching the area without finding him, they phoned for help.

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29 Nov 2010

Ecoli update on Carte Blanche

Ecoli update on Carte Blanche

If you missed last nights Carte Blanche, then follow the link to an update on the Disa River Ecoli levels.

Read further here…

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