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Please contribute articles. The topics are as wide as your experience. Contact me on [email protected].

Notice - AGM - December 19 Read More

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Contact Us

Buzz
P O Box 48
Betty’s Bay
7141

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Deadline for submissions: 20th of each month
Please send us your comments, suggestions, news and views.

Subscribing to the BBRA

R60 per person per year, payable to:
BBRA Current Account ABSA Hermanus
Branch Code 632005
Account No 4066 6164 39
NB! Reference must include your surname and Erf Number.
Please do not send cash.

Contact: Adrian de Kock 028 272 9998 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download the membership application (PDF or XLS). Send it to Admin.

Advertising and Crassula Hall payments

BBRA Current Account ABSA Hermanus Branch
Code 632005
Account No 4066 6164 39
NB! Reference must include your business name.
Please do not send cash.

Contact: Heinie Foot 082 375 4827

Obtaining the Buzz

Get a copy at the Village Centre Café or Penguin Place, normally first week of each month. There are PDF downloads available too, on this very page. We also leave a number of copies at the Betty’s Bay Library.

As well as any of you out there with fascinating stories to tell, relevant facts to impart or photographs that may be of interest to Betty’s Bayers…

Please contribute to The Buzz. We need different voices. You can email your work to me, Helen George at the address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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An aerial view of Betty’s Bay

Betty's Bay is a beautiful small holiday town situated on the Overberg coast of South Africa's Western Cape province. Just an hour’s drive from Cape Town it sits beneath the rugged Kogelberg Mountains on the scenic R44 ocean drive between Pringle Bay and Kleinmond. Tourism plays a large role in the town's economy due to the its popularity with holiday makers from across the Western Cape and Cape Town in particular. This village is the longest in South Africa at over 13 km.

LIBRARY HOURS: Monday to Friday 8h00-16h30

THE LOCAL HISTORY COLLECTION is held at the Library. This is maintained by the Friends of the Library. Donations of articles, clippings, photos etc about the history of our area (Rooiels, Pringle Bay to Betty`s Bay) are needed to continue the collection and to be viewed by the public.

Membership to the FRIENDS: an annual fee of R30 per person or R35 for a family. This can be paid at the Library. Sale of good second hand books and greeting cards at the Library. We welcome donations of good books, magazines & cards .

Events in 2016 ( Please see details at the Library for confirmation or change of any event. 10h30 in Library, Betty`s Bay unless otherwise stated)

14 April: “ Wonderboom”, a book discussion by Lien Botha. Hierdie debuutroman, is die resultaat van `n Meestersgraad in Kreatiewe Skryfkuns. Sy is bekend vir haar fotografiese werk wat dikwels met teks gemoied is. Kom geniet die praatjie; wen `n prys miskien!

12 May: “Paperfolding” with Elsabe Mans.

14 July: “Walking Ireland” with Audrey McGeorge.

10 Aug: “Survive & thrive: Cancerwith Dr Janey Little: at Crassula Hall. Enjoy morning TEA with Hostesses at each table of 8; hostesses provide tea & refreshments & decor, 7 guests pay R50. f YOU would like to host a Table, please tell Pip Prinsloo 028 272 9949. DONATION will be given to CANSA.

15 Sep: “Stony Point Penguins: species interdependence” with Cuan McGeorge: Stony Point, Betty`s Bay from 10h00.

13 Oct: “ An Oral History of Hangklip” with various speakers. Internet Access at the Library is available.

KNITTING SQUARES for the Madiba Project in July: Please knit a square 20cm x 20cm in double knit wool. You can hand the squares in to Rosaline at the Library, Betty`s Bay.

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The African Penguin

The South African population of the African Penguin, 2015 census: 19000 breeding pairs or 38000 adult breeding penguins, of which Stony Point supports 13% of the national breeding stock of this endangered species.

African Penguin Annual Moult

  • The annual moult season commences from October, with a peak occurrence in December. It then tapers off in the early months of the following year.
  • Every penguin will moult every 12 months – like clockwork. During the moult the birds have to remain ashore because feathers are shed and replaced. The moult phase is the most sensitive period in the annual cycle for the African penguin.
  • Moulting penguins at Stony Point ‘loaf’ within the intertidal zone of the coastal fringe as this location is the coolest environment where natural and sustained metabolic processes can evolve with detriment to this annual fasting phase.
  • Peak count: December 2015 was 1973 adult moulters and 416 juvenile moulters.

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Pikkewyntijies Pre Primary

"Where creativity makes learning fun"
Tel/Fax: 028-271 5753/ Zaan Cilliers (Hoof) 0735728120
Address: Dyna’s corner, Mooi Uitsig, Bettys Bay
Box: PO Box 244 •• Kleinmond 7195
GPS Co-ordinates: 34° 21’ 17.95”S 18° 52’ 49.91” E
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Facebook: On the web
NPO: 003-390
Registration no.: C9019
FEBRUARY 2016 NEWS LETTER

This month something very wonderful happened. One of our regular donors and a friend of the ‘Penguin Kidz / Pikkewyntjies Pre-Primary put out a challenge to raise funds for the school. His words: “Thus, I am writing to challenge Rooiels, Pringle and Betty’s Bay to join me in raising money for Pikkewyntjies. My family will create an ‘incentive fund’ of R25,000, and this will be used to match any contribution from another family made in February 2016. Join us in showing our appreciation to Zaan and her team for what they do, and starting a legacy project to protect these children and the community in the long term.”

AN ANONYMOUS DONOR CHALLENGES LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO SUPPORT THE PIKKEWYNTJIES PRE-SCHOOL.

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Every contribution will be matched during the month of February.

I came into contact with Pikkewyntjies Pre-Primary school two years ago, after having lived in Betty’s Bay on-and-off since I was a child. Since then, I have visited the school and connected with the team, and of course the children. This is a most extraordinary environment, and the community is unbelievably lucky to have the pre-school and people like Zaan and her staff.

 It is wonderful to see what the team have done. The Pikkewyntjies Pre-School serves the most needy, disadvantaged families in the region. Every one of thechildren come from a background which is socioeconomically stressed, and without this school, these 38 children would be left without the educational support that they need.

It is also clear that the poor economic times we all face are being felt terribly hard by this school. The state provides almost no support, and corporate donations are reducing. The expenses to run the school continue to rise substantially, and the school is under major financial pressure. I have also heard that a portion of the community members who previously contributed to the school have reduced their support. Some have done this in anger at the recent spike in crime, which is thought to have certain perpetrators within the Mooiuitsig communities.

We need to respond positively and actively. We need to try everything possible to create jobs for the community, so that they do not have to resort to crime. Secondly, we need to support the children even more, so that they do not become victims of the same cycles of poverty and crime. Without this school supporting these children to able to make better choices, our community will be ravaged by even more crime in the future!

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Thus, I am writing to challenge the Rooiels, Pringle and Betty’s Bay to join me in raising money for Pikkewyntjies. My family will create an “incentive fund” of R25,000, and this will be used to match any contribution from another family made in February 2016. If your generosity pushes us to the max, we will have a total of R50,000 raised for the school, and we will then look to the possibility of setting up a trust fund for the school.

Join us in showing our appreciation to Zaan and her team for what they do, and starting a legacy project to protect these children and the community in the long term.

The Pikkewyntjies bank details are as follows:

First National Bank cheque account
Account number: 62147034988
Branch code: 200412

If you do decide to contribute to the school, please inform Zaan that you have done so. She would like to thank you. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please ensure that the words “Funding”, followed by your surname appear on the school’s bank statement.

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Also known as “Bass Lake”, it offers sheer perfection on a hot, windless day.

My profession as marine and coastal ecologist has taken me to many coastal environ- ments throughout the world. On the basis of this experience I can say with conviction that Betty’s Bay, with its mountains, forested gorges, fynbos-dominated coastal plains, rivers, lakes and wetlands, dunes, beaches and the sea, ranks amongst the best.

A quite remarkable fresh water body in Betty’s Bay has the unusual name of Malkopsvlei. The story goes that the area around this lake was used in years gone by for cattle grazing. Obviously the cattle came to the lake to drink. However, when they ventured in too far, they got stuck in the slushy mud of the bottom and in their panic went ‘malkop’. To avoid this from happening, the owner of the cattle is said to have filled in the shallow, eastern part of the lake with dune sand. Hence the sandy bottom of the eastern periphery which is such a boon to those who play and swim in the lake today. I cannot vouch for the correctness of this story, but what is interesting is that there is a huge hollow in the dunes immediately on the seaward side of the ‘filled in’ area. So it seems as though there may well be truth in the story. Many years later, large-mouth bass were introduced into the lake and it is therefore often referred to as ‘Bass Lake’.

The configuration of the lake is equally interesting. It is about 350m long (measured by GPS & Google), 80m wide in its outlet region and it has a maximum depth of about 2m. Water reaches the lake from various sources. A major part of the wetland area westwards of Dawidskraal between Bass and Reed Roads drains into Malkopsvlei and it receives water from the Betty’s Bay Mountains via streams and sub-surface flows. It also receives water from the kloof and waterfall above the Betty’s Bay Shopping Centre and Garage. As the run-off water from the mountains is rich in tannins, it is typically dark. In scientific jargon Malkopsvlei is therefore referred to as a black-water system.

In spite of hot and uncomfortable conditions and attacks by thousands of midges and ants, the traversing of the channel was a memorable experience. This is, in fact, a remarkable piece of wilderness in the Betty’s Bay environment. Amongst others, I came across otters, snakes and an exceptional variety of bird-life.

The outlet of Malkopsvlei to the sea is particularly interesting. Instead of opening directly into the marine environment via the shortest route over a distance of some 300m through the dunes and across the beach, lake water flows through a deep trough between two old and stable backshore dune systems to enter the sea at a sandy beach inlet, some 1.5km to the east, near Dawidskraal. The channel banks and upper edges consist of very steep sandy slopes consolidated by typical dune vegetation dominated by Olea-, Maytenus-, Colpoon-, Metalasia- and Passerina scrub. In the lower, damper sections of the outlet channel, this scrub merges into swamp vegetation, dominated by various species of reeds, especially Phragmites. Milkwood trees are common along the damper parts of the channel.

Towards the end of 2002, there was a suggestion that widening of this outflow channel might enhance drainage from Malkopsvlei and hence reduce high bacterial loads which had been measured during the summer months. I was worried about such artificial interference with a natural and stable aquatic system. That prompted me in December 2002, to work my way from the sea near Dawidskraal to Malkopsvlei along the entire length of the channel, wearing wetsuit, pants, booties and armed with a camera capable of taking photos above and below water.

The investigation led me to recommend that artificial widening of the channel should be avoided at all cost, as disturbance of the steep vegetation-bound channel slopes would inevitably lead to dune subsidence and hence the likelihood of total blocking off of the exit channel - with serious consequences for the entire lake system.

In spite of hot and uncomfortable conditions and attacks by thousands of midges and ants, the traversing of the channel was a memorable experience. This is, in fact, a remarkable piece of wilderness in the Betty’s Bay environment. Amongst others, I came across otters, snakes and an exceptional variety of bird-life.

Sadly, Malkopsvlei continues to be subjected to severe and increasing human impacts. All-important peripheral sponge and wetland areas, which formerly acted as filters and which replenished the lake through the slow release of water during the dry summer months, have been drastically degraded by houses, roads and other infrastructure. Pollution by leaking sewage conservancy tanks is a serious problem. Surface water run-off has been concentrated by road culverts which, in turn, affect ground water levels. Pollution is furthermore exacerbated by stormwater run-off. In addition, many Betty’s Bay dog owners enjoy using the lake as playground for their dogs. While the romping dogs are a pleasure to watch, they foul the immediate periphery of the lake, including the grassed verges where people sun-bathe and children play.

The overall consequences of these various sources of pollution are two-fold:

Firstly - the risk of unacceptably high bacterial levels, especially of Escherichia coli and at times of filamentous algae, both of which are hazardous to human health.

Secondly - encroachment into open surface areas by the reed Phragmites australis as a result of high nutrient levels in the water reaching the lake.

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Water quality is tested weekly and, if necessary, the lake is closed to swimmers until the pollution levels drop.

These undesirable ecological and human health indicators unfortunately make their ap- pearance during the hot summer months when the occupancy of houses and recreational use of Malkopsvlei are at their highest. In the past, this has forced Overstrand Municipality to prohibit swimming in the lake during the summer holiday period. It would be a huge loss to the allure Betty’s Bay if the recreational and scenic benefits of Malkopsvlei enjoyed by generations of residents and visitors, were to be jeopardized.

Can this danger be averted? Probably yes, but only if strong collaborative steps are taken, including:

  • Rigorous protection of undeveloped plots on the lake periphery acting as sponge and filters.
  • The upgrading of the sewage removal system in this region.
  • Ensuring that portable toilets used by builders drain into proper conservancy tanks and not directly into the wetlands feeding the lake.
  • Proper management and possible upgrading of the road stormwater system.
  • And sadly - prohibition of dogs in the lake and on its peripheral areas during peak holiday periods – dogs enjoy the lake as much as people do.

The Water and Sewage Committee of the Betty’s Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association are collaorating with the Municipality. But it is clearly of vital importance that all residents do their bit by adhering to preventative measures such as those outlined above.


[ 11 December 2015]

Good News From Harold Porter National Botanical Garden

Bridges in Disa Kloof to undergo repairs at last
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After a very lengthy and frustrating wait, the bridges which were damaged by the massive floods in November 2013, are finally going to be repaired.  We are delighted and relieved to be able to announce that the repairs will start on Monday 18 January 2016 and should be completed in June of this year.

The long wait was caused by having to comply with the many regulations demanded by the Department of Environmental Affairs, which included a Botanical Survey, an Environmental Impact Assessment and an Hydrology Study, all of which had to be contracted out which required a tender process and all the red tape that that involves, as well as a Water License Application which had to be approved. A further tender to find the correct, fully compliant, contractor with experience in bridge building was then advertised and, once approved, was appointed.

PLEASE NOTE:

As soon as repairs commence, Disa Kloof will be completely closed to the public who will not be able to proceed further than the Olive May Porter Bridge which crosses the Dawidskraal River.

We would like to thank all our Garden visitors for their patience and understanding while the bridges have been out of commission and hope that the lowered entrance fee has helped to offset the inconvenience of not being able to visit this special section of the Garden.  As soon as Disa Kloof is opened once again with the new bridges, the entrance fees will be raised as decided by the SANBI Board.  As always Botanical Society members and children below 6 years will enjoy free entry.

Jane Forrester,
Interpretive Officer
Harold Porter National Botanical Garden

Tel:  028 272 9311
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Upcoming Events
  • Carols by Candlelight  19 December 2015
  • Gugulethu Tenors Concert  02 January 2016
  • Heinz Winckler Concert  06 January 2016

As anticipated, the spring flowers have been glorious. Most spectacular have been the watsonias the ubiquitous pink ones that the porcupines decimate in Betty’s Bay gardens and a veritable host of beautiful orange ones that I have never seen before.

What a treat!

 A riot of colour along the length of the fire break below Bass Road.
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BUY ELECTRICITY WISELY. DON’T SPEND MORE THAN YOU NEED TO.

Eskom may need your cash, but SO DO YOU!

The secret is to buy as much of your monthly electricity as you can at the lowest possible rate. Remember: The more you buy, the more expensive it is.

On the first of the month., spend precisely R647 on electricity. If you spend any more, that will be charged at a much higher rate. It is a good idea to do this in two purchases, one for R500 [which you immediately feed into your meter] and one for R147, the slip of which you tape next to your meter. Thus, when you run out, you will have an instant supply, as well as a very good handle on how much electricity you are using. It’s not a bad idea to record the units on the meter before and after punching in your purchases. You will be inspired to save electricity when it’s written down in black and white.

You should be able to work out an average of what you use in a day if you consult your records and do a bit of elementary maths. If your R647’s worth runs out before the end of the month, buy only as much as you need for the remaining days of the month. Top-ups will be expensive so never buy more than you need. Wait for the first of the next month for your next big purchase when once again the magic figure of R647 comes into play.

[Extra tip: You can buy electricity from the FNB banking website, if you're a customer. I don't know about other banks, other than that ABSA has no such facility. — Ed.]

Dear Helen,

Here is the piece I mentioned that I’d written on the Violet Snail Shell for “The Buzz”:

While my son and family were holidaying at Betty’s Bay this year, his elder daughter Amelia, aged ten, decided to do a project on “floating shells”. To her delight, she found numbers of pretty Violet Snail Shells (Janthina janthina) on the beach, together with their prey, the bluebottle, or Portuguese-man-of-war. These snails are in turn preyed upon by birds, fish, sea turtles and other molluscs.

Janthinas have light, fragile shells, growing to between 3-4 cm in size, depending on water temperature. Their bodies are dark purple to black in colour and have a rubbery, slug-like texture. With their “feet” or mantles, they agitate the sea water to create tiny bubbles which they join together with mucus to form rafts, from which they suspend themselves, allowing them to float on the ocean surface. Other common names for this sea snail are Bubble Raft Shell and Purple Storm Snail.

These fascinating creatures spend almost their entire lives at sea, unless washed up onto the shore after unique storms or when an onshore wind has been blowing for a few days. They are all born male and later develop into females. The males release their sperm into a case which drifts to the female, allowing fertilization to take place. The eggs develop internally and the tiny snails are born live and able to build their floating rafts immediately. In the Indian Ocean, there are huge concentrations of these Violet Snail Shells, bluebottles and jellyfish being swept along by the Agulhas current.

With best wishes, Hilary Mauve.

P.S. Recently, Amelia put on a display of her Violet Snail shells at the British Shell Society and was awarded the cup for the Best Educational exhibit on show. This is possibly the first time a child has won a cup that is in a class open to adults as well.

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With mucous intact
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Dry—as collected from the beach

Grant and two oartners run a company, based in Pringle Bay, called Deep Blue Aquatic Systems. They are aquaculture specialists and their core focus is on the design, manufacturing and installation of aquaculture and live-holding systems for both fresh and marine species . To the man on the street, they are experts you call on if you want to farm fish or other edible species that live in water. For more than ten years they have been involved in the cultivation of abalone, crayfish, tilapia, salmon, trout and cob and their business extends well beyond the borders of South Africa.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the Buzz contributors are the authors’ own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Editor of the Buzz.

Notice: The Buzz is a private newsletter, administered, financed and published by the BBRA so as to communicate important issues with its members. The committee reserves the right not to publish letters or articles it may receive.