The year of 2023 has been an extremely busy year for the Biosphere and the Management of the associated NPC. The organization continues to flourish under the leadership of the tireless Marie-Tinka, to whom we all owe our thanks and appreciation.

Although the year was crowded with meetings and gatherings of various kinds, it has been the outcomes which have demonstrated the importance of all these efforts.

In particular, the most tangible outcome has been the amazing distribution of 450 000 TASC cook stoves which combust much-reduced biomass to prepare meals, with an associated reduction in Carbon Dioxide emissions. Even if some stoves are not in continuous use, the “carbon” reductions will have changed the rural cooking practices and habits in rural homes substantially, if not fundamentally and forever. The K2C efforts to bring this incredible penetration about, must be acknowledged nationally. Plans to effect this wider exposure are being made.

Another outcome has been the short “movie” entitled “Our Waste” which focusses on the appalling scourge of the dumping of disposable nappies all over the countryside, and, in particular in our rivers. The estimate of 170 000 such nappies being disposed of EACH DAY in the Acornhoek/Bushbuckridge area, is frightening. Resolution of this problem requires intense education, plus the facilitation of the disposal of the used nappies, and even to the design and materials used in these products. The manufacturers also have to be drawn into the effort to solve the problem.

The huge water project referred to as CIP, Catchment Investment Program, is gaining momentum and K2C will be stretched to its limits to give effect to this plan. The next year or two will see its momentum rising.

Our funding fluctuates periodically and huge efforts have to be made on an ongoing basis to ensure that sufficient funding is available for K2C to do its work. We thank our loyal funders, both governmental and private sector NGO’s, for their contributions.

In closing, may I convey my appreciation to all K2C role players, management and staff for their valiant efforts. May the festive season be what you wish it to be and may you return in 2024 refreshed and ready for the next challenges.



Greater Kruger Strategic Development Programme Partnership Network Meeting: K2C ‘Node’

~ Marie-Tinka Uys, K2C COO

The Greater Kruger includes a vast conservation area that is embedded in a landscape that includes a mosaic of land uses, Protected Areas and Strategic Water Source Areas. Natural resources are increasingly under pressure. There is a growing need for multiple compatible land uses to balance the demands of both people and nature. Therefore, the Greater Kruger Strategic Development Programme (GKSDP) was developed and launched in 2020.

The GKSDP promotes sustainable and responsible development in the region while conserving its natural and cultural heritage. It recognizes the interconnectedness of social, economic, and environmental factors in achieving sustainable development in the Greater Kruger Landscape and it is a partnership between the South African Government, private sector and local communities.

The Kruger to Canyons (K2C) Biosphere Region is one of the ‘coordinating’ nodes in the Greater Kruger Landscape. In November 2022, the K2C and partners in the landscape hosted the first node networking workshop. The 2022 theme was “Reflecting on, Sharing and Celebrating Partner Contributions”. It was proposed to have a follow-on workshop in 2023.

The November 2023 workshop proposed to build on the outcomes of the 2022 GKSDP Partner Network   Workshop and provide updates relating to the finance strategy. The 2023 theme was “Collective Action, for Collective Impact to unlock Collective Finance”.

Dr Danny Govender from SANParks addressing the room.


The primary objective of this workshop was to further catalyse collaboration among various stakeholders including NGOs, community-based organizations, government agencies, private enterprises, and individuals. By pooling resources, knowledge, and expertise, the initiative seeks to achieve larger-scale conservation outcomes that address pressing environmental and developmental challenges in the Greater Kruger region.

Collective contributions to the SDGs in the Greater Kruger landscape by partners at the workshop.

This year the purpose was to revisit and update inputs into five of the Strategic Objectives, understanding different partners’ contributions, plus addressing Strategic Objective 5 (mobilise resources and optimise investments) by sharing the findings of the Greater Kruger Finance Strategy, commissioned in 2023 by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and South African National Parks (SANParks).

Please contact Marie-Tinka Uys at to get copy of the report.






Our Waste Documentary

~ Lethabo Rasakanya, Pro Nature-economic Development Coordinator

Waste is a big problem in the world, and the K2C landscape is not exempt from that.  The “Our Waste” documentary film is the fourth in the “Our” series of participatory films aimed at raising awareness around biodiversity conservation by involving the diverse people that are living and producing livelihoods in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere landscape through film storytelling. The first three films in the “Our” series dealt with issues of rhino conservation, ‘Our Rhino’, sand mining, ‘Our Sand’ and water conservation “Our Water”.

In 2022, K2C’s community citizen science monitors conducted extensive research through household surveys, in collaboration with the University of Western Cape, on nappy use and disposal. In Maruleng Municipality alone, there are 37 000 disposable diapers disposed of daily, and 172 000 in Bushbuckridge Municipality . These alarming statistics reflect the big environmental issue that affects us all, waste.

The synopsis of ‘Our Waste’ story follows Lethabo Rasakanya, a young woman living in the Olifant catchment community of Ga-Sekororo in K2C BR. As an Environmental Monitor and as an HSRC DSI Intern for the Kruger2Canyons Biosphere, she recorded over three years the extent of the community’s waste on waterways and the environment and its impact on the sense of self-worth of her community that is living in a beautiful area. She feels strongly that solutions need to be found. She embarks on a journey talking to the elders and then the young people in her community, including waste pickers, diaper focus group participants, Community Citizen Science Monitors (CCSM), Indigenous Knowledge Custodians (IKS), Livestock farmers, local municipality officers, and the neighboring Private Game reserve owners.

Lethabo engaging with waste pickers about the challenge of waste in our landscape

Then, in a bid to weave local knowledge with scientific knowledge, she contacts the DSI/NRF/CSIR Funded Chair in Waste and Society at UWC, where she explored with the Professor, who recently did a study on waste with her neighboring community. The Professor shares data (interviews and focus group discussions) that tells a story that is not acceptable to Lethabo as the status quo. She reflects on her engagement with community groups to work towards multiple solutions for change.

Lethabo discussing the issue of disposable diaper disposal with representatives from nature reserves

With the launch of the film, we as the K2C team look forward to facilitating this film with different communities, institutions, and diverse structures, within and around the whole K2C landscape. We aim to create a more inclusive, impactful, comprehensive understanding of the challenges and solutions that holistically address waste management to achieve collaborative actions.

We would like to appreciate all the film participants and the Current media production company. The film can be watched on our YouTube Channel here

FUNDERS/PARTNERS: K2C team, University of Western Cape, Maruleng Municipality, Human Sciences Research Council, Department of Science and Innovation and National Research Foundation, Current media production company

The National OECM Bootcamp: Understanding OECMs in the South African Context

~ Romy Antrobus-Wuth, Conservation Science and Data Manager

Just over 9% of South Africa’s mainland surface area is protected, mostly by Nature Reserves and National Parks. As a signatory to the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), South Africa has committed to strive to protect 30% of our key biodiversity areas by 2030, using Protected Areas and Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures to reach this target. While the process of formally protecting areas as Protected Areas (Nature Reserves and Protected Environments) under the Protected Areas Act is well understood in South Africa, identifying other mechanisms that qualify for reporting to the GBF are less well understood nationally.

Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures or OECMs are other types of land uses, mechanisms or agreements OTHER THAN PROTECTED AREAS that also contribute to biodiversity conservation by securing key habitats. In 2018 the K2C was part of the first pilot study to assess and test the concept of OECMs in the South African context. It is a new and evolving space and if South Africa is going to get from our current 9,2% to 30% in the next 6 years then we need to start recognizing and reporting on other sites, other than protected areas, that are effectively contributing to conservation. But how do we standardize the assessment and reporting of these sites across the country?

A national OECM bootcamp was therefore arranged by various NGO partners, The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, (DFFE) to help try and answer these questions as a collective. The aim of the bootcamp was for stakeholders to better understand their role, and have a shared vision and a common roadmap in the sector to identify, assess, support and report on OECMs ensuring congruency before the implementation at provincial and national level.

The K2C was represented on the specialist panel, giving insights into the 2018 OECM pilot study conducted in the landscape.

The two-day workshop was held on the 21st and 22nd of November in Pretoria and allowed for participants to unpack and debate the complexities around OECMs and agree on a shared on how to take OECMs forward in South Africa.

The OECM Bootcamp allowed for interesting discussions among stakeholders in the sector

The K2C team looks forward to the innovative opportunities the OECM space brings for conservation in South Africa (and the world) and look forward to testing more of these mechanisms in our landscape as the sector progresses.

GreenCape Challenge Participation

~Cindy Koen, Pro-Nature Economic Development team

In the beginning of November, the K2C Biosphere’s Pro-Nature Economic Development team participated in the GreenCape and Mpumulanga Green Cluster Agency’s Green Business Pitch Challenge.

K2C was fortunate to be one of the top ten finalists and presented the business pitch on a new innovative upcoming project in partnership with TrailFoods, Meals4Rangers, Timbavati Foundation, Indalo Inclusive, Harvest, Meat Naturally, Conservation South Africa, and more.

The project seeks to close the gap between smallholder farmers and formal markets as well as offering a space for local entrepreneurs working in Agri-processing to scale their business.

The top 10 finalists

The experience allowed the team members to grow their network and learn from other innovative solutions within the Mpumulanga region and establish us as an upcoming innovative organisation.

We are confident that the future is very bright, and we will have many more events to talk about in the future.

Certificate Awarded to the K2C Team

Water Fund Training in KZN

~ Dimakatso Nonyane, Restoration Project Manager (AFR100)

The Nature Conservancy hosted a three-day training session around the Water Funds Model for partners. The training took place on the 21st of November 2023 and accommodated various stakeholders working within strategic water source areas both locally and internationally. The aim of the training was to establish a mentor network to foster ongoing learning and mentoring throughout the Water Funds Project Cycle. Two team members from the K2C took part in this fruitful training, they got to expand their knowledge through engaging with different participants with a range of expertise.

The training mainly focused on enhancing the capacity of stakeholders that are working towards sustainable water management to effectively manage these water sources through implementing nature based solutions that are applicable for their context, these mitigations would benefit the environment as well as the wellbeing of humans and animals.

Blyde Dam Wall- The K2C is working on launching a Water Fund for the Blyde Catchment.

It was really evident that collaboration is key when faced with a complex subject because we got to learn from other landscapes’ success stories as well as what made others fail. The presence of diverse expertise at the training allowed for peer learning and meaningful network opportunities.

Acknowledgements to TNC for making this training possible, Nature for Water and to everyone who made the event a success.

FUNDERS/PARTNERS: The Nature Conservancy; Resilient Waters and Nature for Water


Next phase of the cookstove project!

~ David Mpebe, Keneilwe Mmushi, Hope Morema, Khanyisa Mdluli, Vulani Mabunda and Oky Sibashi           

The cookstove project is proud to record that, to date, 450 000 (Four hundred and fifty thousand) stoves have been distributed in both the Waterberg Municipality and Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region. This wrapped up the distribution process, with the last day of distribution being the 31st of October 2023. The project is grateful for the stakeholders who participated in the distribution process, to the cookstove recipients for participating in the carbon offset project, and the distributors who worked tirelessly serving communities with unwavering commitment and dedication.

The next phase of the cookstove project is monitoring. More energy is to be exerted on activities centered around monitoring of the cookstove usage. Most recently, the TASC cookstove monitors based in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region hosted the first ever cookout in a village called White City in Acornhoek. The cookout sought to further accentuate and improve the usage of the cookstoves by facilitating social learning through learning by doing with fellow community members. The cookout aimed to demonstrate the usability and effectiveness of the cookstove by comparing an openfire with the cookstove. The areas for comparison were centered around the amount of firewood consumed by both methods.

A cookout being held between the cookstoves…

…and an open fire.

Other cookouts were then hosted in Enable, Makhuva and Nsavulani villages. In all cookouts, members of the community were evenly separated into two groups and were given same/similar food items to cook on the TASC cookstove and the other on an openfire. In all the cookouts, the cookstoves triumphed when judged against the criterion, cooking the food items with only quarter of the fuelwood used on the openfire due to its efficiency. Overall, the cookouts went swimmingly well, with minimum issues to record.

Community members were spotted enjoying themselves and having fun with each other and engaged in good conversations full of humor during the cooking process. The food that was cooked by community members were shared amongst them. It is always a good idea to bring community members together for a big bite!


FUNDERS/PARTNERS: TASC and the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region

Evaluation for Dinkwanyane Water Smart project!

~ Reshoketswe Mafogo; DWS project manager

Every project cycle includes a time when an evaluation process takes place to assess and determine the impact and sustainability of the project. Such a time has come for the DWS project, as we draw nearer to the end of the project implementation, after 5 years of working in Phiring.

The experience of the evaluation process was full of so much learning for the DWS team on the ground. From organising focus group discussions to key informant interviews. All the way through to learning the different tools used. “It was a personal learning milestone as I got to be guided on the different data collection tools and frameworks used in an evaluation process” a quote from a member of the team.

A significant boost to the success of the evaluation process was having a field assistant from the external consulting team, who speaks and understands the local language used in Phiring. This really helped to draw out from the stakeholder’s clear articulation of their experiences of the project.

The report for the final evaluation will be concluded and distributed in the first quarter next year. We can’t wait to read and share it, but also learning from the lessons that would be presented.

FUNDERS/PARTNERS: Conservation South Africa, Hoedspruit Hub, Government of Flanders

Co-generation & Implementation of Climate Resilience in Biosphere Reserves: Insights from the Be-Resilient Regional Forum Workshop in Cape Town

~Phomelelo Malatji, Freshwater monitoring and IKS data officer

Southern Africa has witnessed a surge in water-related disasters, from devastating floods and landslides to severe droughts, significantly affecting both natural resources and human security. Over the last decade, the number of affected individuals has risen, emphasizing the urgent need for effective adaptation strategies. While climate change is a global challenge, mitigating its adverse effects requires locally tailored solutions.

Aligned with the strategic guidelines set by Member States for UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) and Intergovernmental Hydrological Programmes, various initiatives have been launched in the region. These initiatives aim to empower Biosphere Reserves in developing local solutions, enhancing resilience, and combining scientific tools with indigenous knowledge.

Supported by bilateral and multilateral partners, such as the Government of Flanders, the Austrian Development Agency, and the World Bank, these projects involve researchers, local communities, and stakeholders. Their collaborative efforts aim to identify adaptation priorities, integrate scientific findings into decision-making, and strategically plan for the future.

The recently concluded Regional Be Resilient Forum sought to bring together implementing partners engaged in UNESCO’s landscape initiatives and various organizations dedicated to strengthening resilience and adaptation capacity at the landscape level. The event provided a platform to review ongoing initiatives, share valuable experiences, and explore opportunities for further action and synergies between different projects.

Workshop Objectives: Navigating Landscape-Level Capacity Building for Climate Resilience

  • Share and discuss experiences by engaging participants in meaningful discussions on landscape-level capacity building for community resilience and adaptation. This objective aimed to create a dynamic platform for the exchange of diverse experiences and insights.
  • Provide a dedicated space for researchers to showcase their work, with a specific focus on community resilience in Biosphere Reserves and other landscapes. This facilitated the dissemination of valuable knowledge and findings to a diverse audience.
  • Utilize the Cape Winelands Biosphere as a compelling case study. This practical application allowed participants to gain insights into real-world scenarios, enhancing their understanding of effective resilience-building strategies.
  • Foster an environment conducive to robust discussions on the future trajectory of climate resilience initiatives. Emphasis was placed on exploring opportunities for synergies between various projects, encouraging collaborative efforts.

Participants at the Be-Resilient workshop

The exchange of knowledge, experiences, and insights at the workshop underscored the importance of a united front in addressing the impacts of climate change. As the K2C Biosphere continues to engage in such initiatives, it remains committed to being at the forefront of local and global efforts to build resilience and adapt to the challenges posed by our changing climate.


Attending the Science Forum

~ Nicholas Theron, Senior Manager 

On the 8th of December Nicholas Theron was invited by our partner SAEON (South African Environmental Observation Network) to take part in a panel discussion as part of the Science Forum event held in Pretoria. The Forum is proudly co-hosted by the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the Science Diplomacy Capital for Africa (SDCfA) initiative. The objective of the Forum is to ignite a vibrant discussion on the role of science in society, between all stakeholders, the scientific community, government, industry and civil society at large.

During the session discussions focused on water security in the context of guiding sustainable development in rural communities and identifying actions and the partnerships required to enhance societal impact. The partnership between SAEON and K2C was highlighted as an example where research can play a crucial role when facilitated through local actors to address pressing local needs. The important role citizen science can play in monitoring water resources while involving local communities as stewards was also discussed with several examples from across the country. Citizen Science Programmes need to be seen as essential programmes and more sustainable funding should be sought especially when considering the value such data can play in helping business, municipalities and government to monitor water resources and make important decisions. Overall interesting discussions were had during the session with good engagement and contributions from the audience and K2C would like to express our thanks to SAEON for inviting us to the event.

Panelists from the discussion held at the Science Forum

FUNDERS/PARTNERS: South African Environmental Observation Network

Tackling the scourge of nappies and sanitary waste

~By Cherise Acker-Cooper, Hugh Tyrrell and Professor Catherina Schenck, 13 November 2023.

Nappies and or sanitary pads, officially known as Absorbent Hygiene Product (AHP) waste, are fast becoming one of the most serious social and environmental health issues because of poor waste management in South Africa¹.

The problem is rooted in an ever-increasing population and a failing municipal service crippled by a lack of capacity and resources to effectively reach rural, informal and backyard dwellings, typically home to the most vulnerable in South Africa. Quantifying AHP waste within these dwellings is complex due to limited availability of data.

However, based on estimates, we can approximate that about 5.8 billion nappies² and 540 million³ sanitary products are being generated within rural and informal dwellings. If one considers that 37% of households in South Africa⁴ do not receive regular waste service, the enormity of the problem becomes alarming.

This approximate quantification is based on unverified statistics but does reveal the need to

  1. provide evidence to quantify the scope of AHP waste in informal and rural dwellings in SA;
  2. quantify AHP user demographics of AHP’s, and
  3. Determine impact AHP’s waste discarded outside the municipal system has on the people and their environment.

Towards this, the One Health AHP Waste Forum (OH-AWF) was established in 2020, comprising of numerous academic, public, private, and civil institutions and organisations who have banded together to develop a strategic approach to address AHP waste. This forum’s approach centres on sound knowledge for effective decision making and therefore, between 2020 – 2023, we have conducted and coordinated numerous research studies to build our understanding around the AHP system dynamics within informal and rural communities. Outcomes of these studies reveal key insights paving a pathway towards sustainable AHP waste management.

This pathway for change was mapped by OH-AHF members during a mini conference funded by the National Research Foundation and held in association with the Conservation Symposium 2023 between the 6 – 8 November 2023 at the Wild Coast Sun, Port Edward, Eastern Cape. Priority action was determined, focusing on communities in rural, informal and backyard dwellings in which we will seek to:

  1. Improve the current municipal AHP waste management system.
  2. Work with key stakeholders to explore the circular economy in disposable AHP’s.
  3. Explore opportunities to mainstream reusable products.
  4. Initiate educational programmes to promote safe and responsible AHP waste disposal practices.
  5. Contribute to informing principals on appropriate technological AHP waste management solutions.

These key objectives will be formulated into a three-year strategy (2023 – 2026) to guide the OH-AWF and inform AHP waste management industry role-players in SA. However, the success of this strategy to reduce the health and environmental impacts of AHP waste outside of formal dwellings in SA is dependent on strong partnerships and collaboration between the public, private and civil sectors of society.


¹Owen, P., & Strupat, T. (2017). Disposal diapers: a growing threat to African rivers. End Water Poverty. Available from:

²Hall, K. 2019. Children’s access to housing. Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town. Available from:

³CARE International, and WoMena Uganda., 2018. Ruby Cups: Girls in Imvepi Refugee Settlement Taking Control. Available from:

⁴Stafford, W.H.L.; Russo, V.; Oelofse S.H.H.; Godfrey, L.; and Pretorius, A. R. 2022. Reducing plastic pollution: a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy for South Africa. Available from:

Workshop on agricultural drought monitoring from space

~ Mpho Lavhengwa

Droughts are considered the most relevant disaster in terms of economic losses in many areas around the globe. They are recurring, slow-onset hazards, belong to the most widespread climate extremes, are projected to increase in magnitude and frequency, and cause major impacts on human and natural systems. An agricultural drought occurs when there’s an extended period of inadequate moisture that affects crops and the overall health of agricultural systems. It’s characterized by a lack of precipitation or soil moisture which hampers crop growth, a reduction in crop yield, and can ultimately lead to crop failure. They can have severe consequences on food production, livestock, and the livelihoods of farmers, impacting on local and global food supplies.

Participants of the workshop

In order to create sustainable and resilient food systems, we need effective tools for tracking drought frequency and assessing its effects on the productivity of vegetation. Therefore, the core purpose of this course was to introduce research scientists from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi and Zambia in relevant fields with information Top of Formon how satellite Earth Observation information can help monitor droughts and their impact, both at regional and local scale. We were shown how to access and use freely available satellite data products related to vegetation and/or drought monitoring. The facilitators from VITO also shared more information on an existing agricultural drought monitoring platform (BeResilient) which has been piloted in South African Biospheres.

The course was a very interactive and packed course, which gave the attendees an opportunity to network and share valuable knowledge and skills ranging from programming techniques, GIS/QGIS and case studies for agricultural droughts. EO Africa in partnership with UNESCO intends to continue to capacitate and support researchers with related interests through the many free online and in person courses available on their platform. They encouraged the attendees to explore the tools shared and use them on the ground in order to test and see which tools work in the Southern African context.


Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease: A disease at the interface between wild and domestic animals.

~Jacoba Dongo, Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, Mpumalanga Province

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) is a viral disease that affects Lagomorphs, in South Africa represented by the Leporidae:  rabbits (Pronologus spp. and Bunolagus monticularis) and hares (Lepus spp.).  RHD was first detected in South Africa in October 2022 in hares in the Northern Cape and spread to the other Cape provinces and the Freestate by December 2022.  After a quiet period over the autumn/winter of 2023 the disease spread again and has now been reported from all 9 provinces.  In 2022, large scale mortalities were reported in the Northern Cape of 1 471 Smith’s red rock rabbit (Pronolagus rupestris) and 72 Cape hare (Lepus capensis) in the Western Cape, with some 258 wild Leporidae reported dead in Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Gauteng.  (Mortalities as reported by the National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) to the World Organisation for Animal Health by 19 October 2023.).  Most of the outbreaks reported in 2023 were in domestic rabbits – pets, ferals., breeding and farmed rabbits.  Mortalities of up to 100% are experienced in domestic rabbit units, many rabbits dying without showing clinical signs.  3 214 cases were reported in domestic rabbits and 1 500 mixed domestic rabbit and hare cases were reported from Gauteng.

Distribution of South African Rabbit Species

Distribution of South African Hare Species

The data is not a true reflection of the real situation.  Wild animals that get sick often hide, and when they die, carcasses are scavenged.  By the time increased mortality is noted, the level of mortality is high.  This is especially true for the red rock rabbits (Pronolagus spp.) that prefer hillsides and rocky area, and sleep between the rocks.

The virus that cause RHD is Lagovirus europaeus.  The genotype that is present in South Africa is RHDV2/GI.2.  RHDV2 which was first detected in France in 2010.  It differs considerably from the RHDV1 which was first detected in the 1980s.  RHDV1 affected rabbits only, while RHDV2 affects rabbits and hares.

The taxonomy of Lagomorphs was amended in 2018, and published in the book:  Lagomorphs: pikas, rabbits, and hares of the world, edited by Andrew T. Smith, Charlotthe H. Johnston, P. C. Ales, Klaus Hacklander, 2018, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.  According to this classification, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists three indigenous hare species (Lepus spp.) and four indigenous rabbit species for South Africa.  The rabbit species are from two genuses: three red rock rabbits/hares (Pronolagus spp.) and the critically endangered riverine rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis).  The riverine rabbit is critically endemic to the semi-arid and central Karoo.  The Hewitt’s red rock rabbit (Pronolagus saundersiae) and Natal red rock rabbit (Pronolagus crassicaudatus) is endemic to South Africa and neighbouring countries.  In Mpumalanga, there are two indigenous hare species:  Cape hare (Lepus capensis), and African savannah hare (Lepus victoriae) and three red rock rabbit species:  Hewitt’s red rock rabbit on the Highveld, Jameson’s red rock rabbit (Pronolagus randensis) Natal red rock rabbit.  The distribution of the hare and rabbit species overlap.  See Figure 1 and Figure 2.  Red rock rabbits prefer hillsides and rocky outcrops.   Both hare species occur in the Kruger 2 Canyon Biosphere, but only the Hewitt’s red rock rabbits occur in the south western part.

Though South African red rock rabbits and hares appear susceptible to RHD we do not know how the disease will manifest in individuals and populations and what the impact will be.  The disease spreads through direct contact between rabbits/hares and indirect through contamination of the environment and fomites.  People that had contact with RHD infected rabbits or hares or visited an area where the disease has been in the last three months can spread the disease on their hands, clothes, and other objects such as shoes, vehicles, or equipment.  Animals (dogs, predators, and rodents) and flies can also spread the disease mechanically.  Good biosecurity (cleaning and disinfection and isolation of rabbits) is critical to prevent spread.  Correct disinfectant with correct concentration and contact time should be used.  The alcohol hand disinfectants used for COVID is not effective against RHD virus.  A vaccine is available through veterinarians for protection of domestic rabbits on an emergency basis.  Contact a veterinarian or animal health technician for more information.

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is a controlled disease in terms of the Animal Diseases Act 35 of 1984.  Suspicion of RHD, e g., unexplained deaths of domestic rabbits, hares and red rock rabbits must be reported to the responsible state veterinarian.  Most cases will die without showing clinical signs.  In domestic rabbits, difficulty in breathing, convulsions, paralysis, and sometimes haemorrhage are seen before death.

Further reading:

  • Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease outbreak update report 28 November 2023 (
  • Byrne, A.W.; Marnell, F.; Barrett, D.; Reid, N.; Hanna, R.E.B.; McElroy, M.C.; Casey, M. Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2; GI.2) in Ireland Focusing on Wild Irish Hares (Lepus timidus hibernicus): An Overview of the First Outbreaks and Contextual Review, Pathogens 2022, 11, 288.

Capacity Building Workshop at Graskop Environmental Centre

~Maluleke Thembani, Groen Sebenza Intern

The K2C BR was invited to participate in a Capacity Building Workshop at Graskop Environmental Centre, hosted by Bushbuckridge Local Municipality, from 2nd – 3rd November 2023. The workshop focused on capacitating their Interns at the individual, institutional and systemic level.

At an individual level, it was looking at the process of changing attitudes and behaviours – imparting knowledge and developing skills while maximizing the benefits of participation, knowledge sharing and ownership. At an institutional level it was based on the overall organizational performance and functioning capabilities, as well as the ability of an organization to adapt to change. Furthermore, at the systemic level it emphasized the overall policy framework in which individuals and organizations operate and interact with the external environment.

Presenting on behalf of the K2C BR

Tshikovha Green and Climate Change Advocates (Pty) Ltd presented on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Climate Change.  DFFE gave a presentation on invasive alien plants (IAPs). Ehlanzeni District Municipality presented on environmental inspections and work ethics (policy framework), CV writing and interview skills. African Green Earth Projects presented on waste reduction and recovery for recycling. First National Bank presented about financial skills. K2C BR presented on balancing work and academics. The workshop included some team-building games and hiking. What a privilege to be invited to participate and share my story and learn from others!

Team building exercises also took place

FUNDERS/PARTNERS: Bushbuckridge Local Municipality

SANBI - Groen Sebenza Phase II National induction: Mentors Training

~Abigail Monareng

0n the 14th of November 2023, SANBI hosted the Groen Sebenza Phase II National Induction for Cluster 2 (Limpopo and Mpumalanga): Mentorship Training, at Swadini Forever Resort. The main purpose of the training was to strengthen and improve relationships between mentors and their mentees (interns).

Ms Vivian Malema, the Groen Sebenza Programme Director gave some background to the Groen Sebenza programme and its objectives. All mentors were given the opportunity to reflect on their career paths to date and to mention that one person who influenced their career choices. Most metors were influenced by their family members while some by their professors.

Professor Rob from Rhodes University gave a presentation on his own understanding of mentoring where he mentioned that both mentor and mentee must work together so that one does not feel neglected, and that trust and respect comes with working together. He also highlighted that mentoring is a two-way street/relationship that requires building trust and co-learning through doing things together and that both the mentor and mentees are responsible for their own mistakes and successes shared. Mentors were also asked to give one word that describes their understanding of mentoring where most mentioned words like accountability, trust, communication and co-Learning.

Some of the mentors who were once Groen Sebenza Phase I interns shared their experience and what they found valuable during their internships. They mentioned that during their internship they felt valued, they knew what they wanted, and they were given enough opportunities to explore and learn. Lastly, mentors were given a group activity where they had to analyse the mentoring activity to identify who they are mentoring, outcomes, division of labour and rules of engagements.

The training was a much-needed exercise as both interns and their mentors had the opportunity to voice their opinions and highlight the challenges they face so that the process does not feel hostile and that both can have a very fruitful and positive mentoring relationship.


Challenging all Rangers and Guides to Compete in the 2024 K2C Challenge!

Are you and your team tough enough? We’re challenging our local rangers and guides to register their teams and compete in the K2C Challenge two day stage race and show us what they’ve got. For more information contact