News and Events

Dear all,

On Tuesday 12 August 2014, Friends of Bracken will be holding their next General Meeting at 19:00 for 19:30 in the Environmental Education centre, Bracken Nature Reserve. 

At this meeting Norman Larson, well known spider expert, will give a talk on these fascinating, though often wrongly feared, 8-legged creatures. He will bring some of his tarantulas along to show. Refreshments will be served.

Norman has published a field guide to spiders of South Africa, and maintains a spider information web-based service on Iziko's (the national museum) biodiversity explorer web site; http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/arachnids/spiders/ask.htm

The following Saturday, 16 August at 10:00 to 12:00, is once again our activity day, with weeding in the reserve and maintenance of the educational garden. Please come along to help with these important functions in the reserve. A picnic lunch will be provided afterwards. 

We are building up to the Spring day event on Heritage day, 24 September 2014. We will once again have a market as well as several firing of historic guns, mark your calendars now!

For any enquiries regarding FoB or these events please contact me at alanwood111@gmail.com or 083 287 1676.

Kind regards.
Alan Wood
Chair: FoB committee.


Hi All,

Tuesday 15th July 2014
The Annual General Meeting of FoB will take place at 19h00 for 19h30 in the EE Centre of Bracken Nature Reserve. As usual, free hearty soup and rolls will be served for all. Visitors may contribute a donation, or join FoB for the very low membership fee of R30 per annum! Come and hear about the interesting things we have been doing, and are planning for the new financial year. All are encouraged to attend this important meeting.
There will be another Spring Festival this year (24th September 2014, Heritage day) with cannon firing, stalls and lucky draws. Please offer your assistance at the AGM.

Dyer Island Cruises and Shark Cage Diving
After a most interesting talk from this company last month about their research, we have been offered the opportunity to join in one of their cruises, as a FoB group, at HALF PRICE! 
The normal price of the whale watching cruise is R900, or R600 for kids between 6 and 12, with educational commentary. All trips include lunch and refreshments. We will need to finalise the date (Saturday 19, 26 July or 2 August) as well as numbers in order to book. So please be at the AGM!
Should you have always wanted to do the Shark cage diving 'one day', now is your opportunity. The normal price for the shark cage diving trip is R1500. This would have to be done as a separate cruise to the whale watching one, but can be done on the same day allowing for the sharing of transport.

Saturday 19th July 2014: Activities
Weather permitting, we will once again meet at 10h00 to do some weeding, planting or just walking in Bracken. All participants are welcome to a free picnic lunch at 12h00 before returning home. 

Friday 25 July 2014: FOTH CREW outing to Bracken
All are welcome to join the Friends of Tygerberg Hills CREW group who are undertaking a trip to Bracken NR, meeting at 09:00 at the parking lot in the reserve. If you wish to find out names of plants in the reserve, join this very knowledgeable group of volunteers on their outing. 

Remember that Perdekop is open every Tuesday from 10:30 until 12:30 whilst the reserve staff carries out work in this section. This area is a high priority conservation site and is home to an astounding diversity of plants. 

Kind regards.
Alan Wood.

Dear All,

Zille de Kock, of Dyer Island Cruises, will be the speaker at our next meeting on Tuesday 17th June 2014, at 19:00 for 19:30. 

She will talk to us on the research they are doing in conjunction with Dyer Island Conservation trust, an organisation working to conserve the ecosystem around this island and its penguins, whales and sharks. This promises to be a fascinating talk on these little understood but critically important creatures. Tea/coffee and some light snacks will be provided.

For more information on the Dyer Island Conservation Trust see www.dict.org.za

We will be having our working group day a little earlier this month, on Saturday 14th June 2014, between 10:00 and 12:00. Come and help with weeding in the reserve or maintenance of the educational garden. A picnic lunch will be provided after to all who join in.

Don't forget to visit our face book page now and again to see what's flowering in Bracken and other news.

Diarise our upcoming AGM, which will be held on Tuesday 15 July 2014, at 19:00 for 19:30.

For any information on these events or enquiries about the Friends of Bracken, contact me on 083 287 1676.

Kind regards
Alan Wood.

Dear All

Weeding for the year started with Neville and I using FOB's tree-poppers to remove all but the biggest Port Jacksons along the road around to the grey heron picnic spot. A good effort, but there is still a lot to be cleared and we will need more help next month (Sat 20th April). Thanks to Corne for the picnic afterwards.

At the moment the amaryllis are in full bloom at the top of the everite block (other side of the hill), I have never seen so many flower there and they are a spectacular sight. Get there soon before they finish!



Hi Folks,

Please note: There has been a change in the date of our next meeting; Dr Anthony Magee requested the date to be moved on a week to 22nd April for his talk on the Umbrils of Africa. Closer to the date we will confirm the venue; possibly the Brackenfell Methodist hall again. Thank you for organising this, Neville. See attachment.

The red "April Fool" (paintbrushes) are flowering all over the reserve. Try to spot the Brunsvigia (Kandelaarblom) and March Lilies too! You may join the walk at 10 am on Saturday 16th, or choose to help with weeding, or the herbarium. Bring a hat and enough water! At 12 a free picnic is supplied; you are always welcome to bring something to share.

On Monday 18th there will be a continuation of a committee meeting regarding projects and fund raising (golf day). Any members are welcome to join if you have useful ideas. At 14 Rooikrans St. Protea Heights at 18h00. 

Dr Christopher Cupido sent me the following;

Following the informal discussion on Monday, UWC is getting a list together of interested individuals who would like to join a new branch of BOTSOC to be establish in Bellville.

Are there any members of FoB that would like to join? I need to get a list to Gavin’s secretary soon. Could we perhaps mention this on Saturday at our activities day?

Please let us know if you are interested in joining a local branch of the Botanic Society. You may contact Christopher at C.Cupido@sanbi.org.za 

Thank you for the great attendance last Monday at Prof Maneveldt's excellent presentation.

Kind regards,


021 982 3654

083 564 1106


These will start again only in March, when the weather is hopefully cooler. The reserve needs to be cleaned of alien vegetation on an ongoing basis. All volunteers are then treated to a picnic lunch, and we hope to expand that to a braai as soon as our team grows. For the less energetic, our Herbarium needs assitants too, who will be trained by Dr Cupido. Then we always need help with the Educational Garden. Neville (021 981 0887) has kindly been putting in a lot of work to keep this garden clean, planted and watered. Any assistance, even for a few hours a month, will be most appreciated.


Please pay your small fee as soon as possible in order to be kept informed and counted (we need to prove our numbers to the NPO and other authorities). It is STILL only R30 per year for an individual, R50 per family, R15 per pensioner or student and R350 for corporate members.The 2013 access cards are now ready and available. This gives you the right of entry, even after 4pm, to see the sunset and walk when it is cooler.


30th January 2013       Wednesday    Braai – Bring your own to the Reserve office from 18h00.

11th February 2013     Monday          Monthly Meeting –  Jurg Zimmermann “History of cannon signal system”

16th February 2013     Saturday         FoB Activities*

11th March 2013         Monday          Monthly Meeting – Prof Gavin W Maneveldt Marine Botanist, HOD: Dept of Biodiversity & Conservation Biology UWC  Title: Spring wildflowers on urban open spaces

 16th March 2013         Saturday         FoB Activities

22nd  April 2013          Monday          Monthly Meeting – Dr Anthony R Magee Plant Taxonomist, Compton Herbarium SANBI Title: Umbels of Africa (Carrot Family)

20th April 2013            Saturday         FoB Activities

13th May 2013             Monday          Monthly Meeting – To be announced.

18th May 2013             Saturday         FoB Activities

10th June 2013            Monday          Monthly Meeting –  Gerald Wingate on "Local birds and their role  in the ecosystem" and Soup Evening

15th June 2013            Saturday         FoB Activities

15th July 2013              Monday          Monthly Meeting – AGM + Soup evening

20th July 2013              Saturday         FoB Activities

12th August 2013        Monday          Monthly Meeting – Planning for Spring Event

17th August 2013        Saturday         FoB Activities

14th September 2013  Saturday         Spring Event

21th September 2013  Saturday         FoB Activities

14th October 2013      Monday          Monthly Meeting – Wine Tasting Evening

19th October 2013      Saturday         FoB Activities

11th November 2013  Monday          Monthly Meeting – Student Report Back evening

               *FoB Activities: a choice of organised group walks, weeding or helping with the herbarium.

Perdekop:  Opportunities to visit Perdekop will be announced throughout the year.

               MORE INFO:   Thea at 021 982 3654 or 083 564 1106    Tshepo at: 021 982 1323


Calendar of events: 2012

Dear Members (and associates),


We are delighted to announce that Bracken will soon boast a cannon, to commemorate our historic link in the signal system of the Eighteenth Century. FoB will have to take responsibility for its removal from Tygerberg, the istallation and maintenance in future. (This is a great opportunity for some of you to become  members of the Cannon Association and maybe become a registered gunner!) More information to be shared at our next general meeting:


Please note that our meeting for Monday, 12 Nov. has a new temporary venue due to the repairs needed at Bracken.

BRACKENFELL LIBRARY HALL:  19h00 for 19030. There will be a presentation by Shihabuddeen about a possible corridor between Bracken and Perdekop, as well as a discussion about the future of our Spring Events by Ashton. The provisional calendar for next year will also be available then. (Please ignore the Tygerburger notice, which had to be submitted before new info was available.)


Looking forward to seeing you all there.


Kind regards,


Thea Weyers

021 982 3654

Dear Friends,


Our planned outing to the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve was unfortunately rained out, but the Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area are organising a walk on Sunday 2 September 2012 from 14h30 and we are invited to join them.  Their invitation is below.  Please contact them direct if you need more information.  Regards, Jo


Spring walk in the BNR - Sunday, 2 September 2012 from 14h30  
Join a spring walk in an area in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve not normally accessible to the public and appreciate the variety of this unique resource.

Meet at Eerste Steen at 14h30 on Sunday, 2 September 2012. Niel van Wyk will lead a walk into the BNR area with a special focus on dune ecology and formation in the reserve.

Bring water, picnic snacks, comfortable walking/hiking shoes, hats, sun block and cameras.

The event is free for Friends of BCA members. Cost is R20 for non-members. Pets are not allowed.

For more information, contact Niel van Wyk of Friends of BCA on niel@bluecape.co.za or 082 926 0039.

Best regards,

 Ena de Villiers

Secretary: Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area

Cell no: 076 335 1225

Dear Friends of Bracken members – past, present and future!


We are hoping the weather will clear by the weekend because, as you may have seen in today’s Tygerburger, the Friends of Bracken have arranged a walk through the reserve on Saturday 18 August to see the early spring flowers – that is, if it isn’t raining!  Please meet inside the reserve at the EE centre at 10h00.  For more information you can phone Neville Smith at 082 469 5353.


Next week two evening events will take place at the EE Centre in Bracken Nature Reserve:


On Monday 20 August at 7 pm Alan Wood will introduce us to “The Wonderful World of Fungi”.  Alan is with the Agricultural Research Council in Stellenbosch working in particular on invasive plants species.  It seems he has a special affection for fungi in all their various shapes and forms. He will give a short introductory talk, just to point out that they are a greatly diverse yet hidden kingdom.  He says he will then show as many pretty pictures of our local Bracken fungi as possible and answer all your questions – where do they come from, how do they grow, why are there so many kinds, and so on.  He will be bringing some microscopes with prepared samples so that you can have a proper look at them and realise that there really is a Wonderful World of Fungi.  Do come along and bring your children and their friends as well, for a really interesting evening.  There is no charge, but donations to cover the cost of tea and coffee will be appreciated.


On Tuesday 21 August at 7 pm Rus Smal will present a talk and workshop on Bonsai.  Those of you who attended our AGM in March will remember his fascinating display of miniature trees, all perfectly formed, and the great enthusiasm he showed for his hobby of many years.  Several of those present were keen to learn more.  This evening Rus will have more examples of bonsai on show and will explain how the results were achieved.  This presentation will be helpful to both beginners and to those already bitten by the “bonsai bug” who would like to learn more.  This is not a Friends of Bracken event, so those interested are asked to contact Chantel Smal at 071 879 6991.


Hoping to see you at one of these events,


Kind regards



Sept 8th from 08h30:
Annual SPRING EVENT! Let’s make this a BIG one; invite all your friends, come and walk, buy, have fun.  


Provisional Calendar of events: 2011

 Jan 24th  19h00:
Bring and braai social. New Year kick-off!
See Photos of this Event - Click Here

Feb 21st 19h00:
“What FoB does, and how to get involved”

                 Dr C Cupido on the herbarium and A Wood on weeds.

                 Planting. Funding. On what does FoB spend money ?

Mar 14th 19h00:
“The new Brackenfell Fire Station”

                Presented by the Divisional Commander, M Abrahams.

                We will visit the new station and discuss projects.

Apr 4th  19h00:
AGM.  Plus: Hartenberg Wine Estate; the wine maker brings their wines to taste! Plans/dates to hike their wetlands trail.

Apr 24th :
Easter Sunday: Interdenominational Sunrise Service.

                 Enter gate opposite Spar from 06h15. Bring your own chair, cushion or rug and breakfast to “Piempiempie” picnic site.

May 9th   09h00:
Meet at the Reserve for an Outing to the Nature Reserve of UWC, Bellville South. In case of rain, we try again the next (or next!) Monday. Call to confirm, please.

ONGOING: Weeding: Contact Alan at 083 287 1676

Herbarium: Contact Christopher at 021 799 8723.

June 15-17th  from 09h00:
Planting of propagated plants in the garden and reserve. Choose your own time, bring snack and tools.

July 25th 19h00:
Soup and rolls evening.  Planning of Spring Event and Perdekop braai in park, with open gate to flowers. Please come with ideas and volunteer your help!!

ONGOING: Walks will be organised in the reserve and Perdekop, gate open some dates (tba). Contact Tshepo at 021 981 2313

Sept 10th from 08h30:
Annual SPRING EVENT! Let’s make this a BIG one; invite all your friends, come and walk, buy, have fun.

Oct 17th 19h00:
Feedback meeting. What is EE? Intern tells us more.

Nov 14th 19h00:
Research project presentation by student; Akho Mayataza.

Dec  7th  19h00:
Sundowners on Perdekop; our customary social year end picnic;  bring your own seating, warm jacket and picnic.

For more info, please contact the Reserve at  021 982 1323

  Or Thea at  021 982 3654

Also watch out for “Diary” in the Tygerburger.

Good day to you all,

Best wishes for a wonderful 2011, out in there nature, and caring for our beautiful world!

Staff and Management Committee are all fired up to plan many projects and activities in order to improve our Reserve, for the enjoyment of all. Have you noticed that the old Fire Station skeleton has been brought down?! There could be a great new community facility going up there soon. It is still in the planning stage, though. And we have a beautiful new Fire Station as next door neighbour.

Monday 24th January. Our customary "Year Kick-off Braai" is to be held at the office complex, Bracken from about 18h30. 
Please bring the family, and your food and drinks. Fire will be provided, as well as SOME chairs and tables. If possible, bring your own.
We hope to get to know each other better then, when relaxing together. You will be provided with a calendar of events for the year. 
Photographs of your braai may even be posted on the website afterwards! www.brackenfell.org/bnr 

Contacting you: We have been trying to keep the contat list relevant, letting folk who have shown interest in the past, know of our events. Unfortunately the email system failed me badly last year, and all my multiple reminders and newsletters went AWOL into cyberspace. I do apologise if you have missed out. This time I am sending smaller bundles, hoping our service providers do not see it as spam. If you are not interested in receiving mail any more, kindly let me know to delete your name from the list. Our Membership Committee member, Carla de Klerk, will in future be looking after you. Let her know of any changes to your data.

Membership: Since we join for the relevant Calendar year, your membership fees are now payable. Since our inception in 2006 this amount has not increased, although our expenses have. We rely on each of you to please make this small contribution, in order to prevent an increase in future. Only R25 per person for the whole year, R50 per family and R15 for pensioners and students. R350 for corporate members. Only a small percentage of you receiving this, have contributed in the past......
What do you get in return? 
# A laminated membership card, which entitles you to enter the reserve after hours (for sunset, etc.) as the public is not allowed in after 16h00, when Staff is not available to put out fire, etc. We as FoB members, are trusted to be responsible in our behaviour.
# You will be contributing to the admin costs, as well as petty cash expenses such as tea, coffee and milk at meetings, gifts for our speakers, posters etc. 
# FoB employs casual workers from time to time to clean up the garden, 
and there are youth groups, who are sometimes encouraged when working, with light refreshments. 
# Spring Events always have some expenses.
# There is also an herbarium in the making, which requires materials.
# As affiliates of WESSA, we have an large annual subscription to pay. 
# We need to report to the NPO authorities, mentioning our paid-up membership numbers.
The City of Cape Town does grant us some money, but only for specified projects. 
So please do the right thing; we do not want to loose your support.

Recycling is up and running again. You may bring all your clean (we do not want to attract vermin) plastic, glass, paper, metal etc to the "hokkie" (ask security).
E-waste (light bulbs, batteries, computers, etc are to be taken to the EE Centre, or Pick'n'Pay.) This is removed and utilised to create jobs.

Looking forward to seeing you often this year!

Kind regards,

021 982 3654
083 564 1106

Lentedag Amazing Race Bracken - 11 September 2010
There are also some school teams competing in the reserve, doing nature related tasks, with great prizes to be won by them. ShopriteCheckers have donated R1 000 worth of vouchers! Come and try your hand at Djembe drumming, and do not forget our usual lucky draws; one for wine and another with great prizes up for grabs! Thanks to all donors, such as Schoongezicht Restaurant, Mike Cotton, Councillor Carin Brynard (Stodel's vouchers), Marlene and the wineries of Bottelary. The draw should take place around 11h30.

The Voortrekkers are really getting on board now, and hope to be camping in Bracken soon.

Ons het die dag ook baie geniet en ek dink 'n paar oë het oopgegaan oor die kosbare stukkie reservaat wat ons hier in ons gemeenskap het.  Hierby aangeheg is 'n paar fotos, ek sal nog stuur.  Kyk ook gerus op ons webblad vir nog fotos:   http://sites.google.com/site/kanonkopvoortrekkers/Kanonkop

Kan ons dalk op 'n stadium gesels oor 'n gesamentlike motivering aan die stadsraad om geriewe in die reservaat verder uit te bou?

The attached photo is of Alana Hendricks and Marcel Witberg (with a Cape Cobra). Last Monday they gave us a very good presentation on the snakes most likely to be seen in the Cape. More than thirty folk attended the meeting, and I believe we all now have more respect and appreciation for these awesome creatures and their ways.

 As part of community development and job creation, the Bracken Nature Reserve Management in partnership with the Friends of Bracken NR (FoB), are planning to start sewing and craft workshops. As a starting point, it was decided to focus on a small group from the so called Everite community, eventually rolling out to the broader communities of Brackenfell, Northpine and Kraaifontein. The training will be started twice a week from June by FoB member, Lindie Braack, with easy stitchcraft, progressing to other crafts and even cooking in future. Here she is pictured with some of the first enthusiastic participants (yes, males too!).

Mr Lucky Valeka, Mrs Lindie Braack, Mrs Blossom Sithela, Mr Dumisani Jobela and Mrs Eunice Sithela

The ladies of the Tygerburg circle of VLV have also indicated their interest in assisting with the teaching and supply of craft materials. We appeal to members of the public, as well as businesses, to also support this iniative by means of donations of any usable cloth, yarn or sewing materials and tools. Anything from a needle to a sewing machine will be most welcome! We aim to socially interact, instilling a sense of purpose and pride in people, assisting them to develop useful skills that may eventually enable them to become economically productive.

Donations may be brought to the Bracken Nature Reserve (07h50 to 16h00) in Reservoir Rd, Protea Heighs. While there, do take a walk to see the new growth in Nature. Spring flowers are soon to appear! It is free, safe and good for you!

Office: 021 982 1323 (Tshepo)
Lindie: 021 982 5233 lindieloub@gmail.com
Thea: 021 982 3654 thea@nexstop.co.za 

We are in the process of setting up a NING social networking space for FRIENDS GROUPS only! Lots of interesting contact with other groups. Please join (and if you get stuck, ask Lindie (lindieloub@gmail.com))! Click to join; http://wessawesterncape.ning.com/group/friendsofbrackennaturereserve

We had almost 40 folk coming to the Interdenominational Sunrise Service on Easter Morning. It was a great "first time" event.

Pastor Nivo Buys led the sermon, with musician Reynier, assisted by Leon from the Methodist Church and George doing the prayers. Those who had brought a picnic stayed on socialising, while others took a walk, also admiring the March lilies and all the reserve has to offer. As an awareness excersise, this was also good for the FoB.


Newsletter - March 2010 - Click Here

Newsletter - No 2 of 2009 - Click Here

Newsletter - No 1 of 2009 - Click Here

Newsletter - No 3 of 2008 - Click Here

Newsletter - No 2 of 2008 - Click Here

Newsletter - No 1 of 2008 - Click Here

Newsletter - No 3 of 2007 - Click Here

Newsletter - No 2 of 2007 - Click Here

Other News Items

Though not many people attended our outing to Bellevue, the nine that did had a great time. We were taken on a private tour of the cellar, and wines were great too! The picture below was taken in the old building, from the early 1700’s. The owner, Dirkie Morkel, is second from the right.

On the picture below, we are all posing at the historic signal gun that used to be mounted on the Bracken hill, and last fired to summon troops to defend the Cape in January 1806, during the Second British take-over of the Cape. The signaling system became obsolete after that, and the canon was abandoned. In 1888 Andries Brink bought the farm ” Kruispad”, later “Bracken Fell”. While riding on horseback with his friend, Piet Morkel, they came across the canon on the side of the hill. Not interested himself, he offered it to Morkel, who took it to Bellevue where it is still on display on the farm managed now by the fifth generation of Morkels.


Edward Foster en sy vrou, Lynette

Aangesien 2009 die Internasionale Astronomiese Jaar is, het die lede van die Stellenbosch Sterrekyk Klub die Vriende van Bracken genader vir 'n geleentheid om die naghemel beter te leer ken. Edward Foster en sy vrou, Lynette, het op Maandag, 20 Oktober hul telskoop en verkyker in die Reservaat kom staanmaak. Eers is 'n interessante aanbieding met illustrasies in die Omgewingsopvoeding Sentrum gedoen, en toe dit donker word, is ons buitentoe.
Daar was meer as 40 mense teenwoordig, insluitend heelparty kinders. Dian van Bergen het op hierdie wyse sy 11de verjaardag kom vier! Die volgende datums word ook beplan:

Saturday 21st November at 20h00:
Star and new moon gazing at Bracken Nature Reserve. All welcome. Parents, please accompany your children.

Monday 30th November at 19h30:
Moon Gazing evening, as it will be close to full moon, and the meeting has been moved. Two telescopes are available on the parking area in front of the old fire station in the Reserve. All interested people welcome.

Tuesday 15 December at 20h00:
Open to all to use the telescopes and learn more.

Saturday 22 December at 19h00:
Special educational for the Everite residents, conducted in Xhosa.

explaining what to look for and setting up telescope

children enjoyed the star gazing evening

Dian van Bergen het op hierdie wyse sy 11de verjaardag kom vier

NB: All stargazing events will not be cancelled in case of bad weather; alternate indoor activities will be arranged.

We would like to encourage families to use this wonderful free opportunity to inspire future amateur or professional astronomers! If there is enough interest, these events might become a regular monthly feature.

SPRING EVENT  (Click Here for Images)