It’s almost time for the Ashburton Aloe Festival

When last did you spend a day in nature?  This year’s Ashburton Aloe Festival will be held over the weekend of the 30th June and 1st July in the beautiful Lower Mpushini Valley Conservancy, 10 km east of Pietermaritzburg.

An annual event borne out of the close-knit communities passion for conserving this beautiful bushveld environment, five venues are open to the public, between 9am and 5pm, to enjoy a full programme of walks and talks amidst bushveld setting of the beautiful wild, giant flowering Aloe candelabrum.

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The event helps raise awareness for the conservation of both natural and cultural heritage, and raises funds for the protection of the plants and wildlife species of the area, as a living legacy for our children. The event is hosted by the Mpushini Valley Conservancy and showcases the Mpushini Protected Environment, the first such community conservation area in KwaZulu-Natal.

The five venues include: Galago Farm, Impala Bend, Rocky Wonder Aloes Nursery, Spencer’s Place and the Hackland Aloe Garden.  Things to do include: Specialist talks and walks, Self-Guided trails, Aloe, and indigenous plant sales including succulent, grasses, groundcovers, enjoy light music, browse a variety of stalls, including, crystal, mineral and gemstones, hot meals including vegetarian options, soups and home baked bread, tea garden, pancakes and refreshments, pony rides and the natural beauty, peace and tranquillity of this special hidden valley.

Tickets are R30 per person and allow entry to all venues for the duration of the weekend.  Children under 12 are free.

Directions: take N3, Ashburton exit 69, Turn right, and continue 4 km onto D389, after the ticket sales booth, follow the signs to venues 1 – 4.  To get to venue 5, continue past venue 4 and proceed for 12 km as follows.  After crossing the Msunduzi River, turn right at the junction of D389 towards Bishopstowe.  Continue 2km and turn right.  Continue for 2km and turn left at the signpost Rick Hackland Farm. After 50m turn right into the palm lined avenue to reach Femma and Rick Hackland’s Aloe Garden.

For more information phone Pandora 072 6928124 or Heather 083 6658010   Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/events/220353012075291/  

Aloe Festival Programme

Saturday 30th June

09h00 Venue 1 – Galago Farm:  “Indigenous Trees and Tips for Identification!” walk & talk by Richard Boon (hosted by KZN Inland BotSoc)

10h00 Venue 5 – Hackland Garden: “Sunbird Aloes” by Ruth Grey

10h30 Venue 3 – Rocky Wonder Aloes Nursery: “Why are honey bees such poor pollinators of Aloe Ferox, despite being frequent visitors” by Carolina Diller

11h30 Venue 4 – Spencers Place: Gundog Display with David Padbury

12h30 Venue 2 – Impala Bend: “Raptors and the value of Gum trees” by Tammy Caine

14h00 Venue 1 – Galago Farm: “Euphorbia Forest Trail” with expert guides Hallam Payne and Neil Williamson

15h30 Venue 2 – Impala Bend: Wildlife Feeding Time

14h30 Venue 1 – Campfire stories and music with John Roff

Sunday 1st July

09h00 Venue 1 – Galago Farm: “Python Rocks trail” with Hallam Payne and Neil Williamson

10h00 Venue 5 – Hackland Garden: “The Mpushini Valley, a treasure for biological science” by Timo van der Niet

10h30 Venue 3 – Rocky Wonder Aloes Nursery: “Sunbird Aloes” with Ruth Grey

11h30 Venue 4 – Spencers Place: Gundog Display by David Padbury

12h30 Venue 2 – Impala Bend: “An Otters Tale” by Wade Whitehead

14h00 Venue 1 – Galago Farm:  Anti-Poaching Drone Flight Demo with Winton Long & Bobby Poulsen

14h00 Venue 4 – Spencers Place:  “Raptors and the value of Gum trees” by Tammy Caine

15h30 Venue 3 – Impala Bend: Wildlife Feeding Time

Venue Activities

Venue 1 – Galago Farm

  • Tea Garden/Soup & Bread/Pancakes
  • Self-Guided Trails
  • Children’s Activities
  • Indigenous Plant Sales
  • Book Stall
  • Camp Fire

Venue 2 – Impala Bend

  • Breakfast Rolls/Hot Lunches
  • Craft stalls
  • Crystal Shop
  • Self-Guided Aloe Trail
  • Cash Bar
  • Wildlife feeding time from 15h30

Venue 3– Rocky Wonder

  • Wide selection of Aloe Sales
  • Aloe Display Garden
  • Self-Guided Bird Trails
  • Refreshments

Venue 4: Spencers Place

  • Opens 6am for self-guided birding trails
  • Breakfast Rolls
  • Gundog Display
  • Pony Rides
  • Craft Stalls

Venue 5: Hackland Garden

  • Guided tour by Femma and Rick Hackland
  • Aloe Garden in full flower
  • Bar, Tea & Coffee, Boerewors Rolls

 For more information contact Pandora 072 6928124 or Heather 083 6658010

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  AUTHOR
South Coast Herald

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