Some years ago, I remember people asking the then Chairperson “What is the conservancy going to do about ………….?” His response would always be: “The Conservancy is AN AREA not a person and therefore cannot DO anything, but the COMMUNITY CAN…..” This sentiment is borne out by the Cambridge Dictionary with its definition of a conservancy: ‘An area of land kept in its natural state, especially for wild animals and plants to live in and be protected.’
Our little coastal village of Pennington is such an area. We are so very lucky to have, within very close proximity, ocean, forests, rivers & estuaries, grasslands, wetlands and some very interesting flora and fauna all worthy of our protection and that is essentially what the Pennington Conservancy Committee attempts to do with the help of volunteers. We are fortunate in that we have some very committed, enthusiastic and knowledgeable Community members who help us in achieving, arguably, one of our main objectives: ‘To protect, manage and improve the environment through the application of sound conservation practices, including the eradication of alien vegetation, the removal of snares and the creation and maintenance of trails.’
We have a few community and environmental projects that will always be at the forefront of our activities: -
Removal of snares in conjunction with Snare Aware;
The Beach Café @ Impithi.
These projects are discussed in more detail below, to give you an idea of what is involved and perhaps encourage you to join us in beautifying and indigenising our village, as well as preserving the natural environment of coastal and riverine forest, bush and grasslands
Do not hesitate to contact us. should you wish to support the Pennington Conservancy by becoming involved in any of these projects and / or join the Conservancy, Alternatively, you can complete the membership application at the foot of this page and we will contact you.
Please join us, to support our many projects for preserving and promoting the flora and fauna of Pennington
A lovely area of conservation significance in Pennington and is an example of how wildlife requires intact habitats and space to survive. Nkomba is situated on the banks of the Nkomba River. Perhaps there was, in days gone by, a natural population of inKomba Palms growing along the river. Today these graceful 8 m multi-stemmed palms are only found along cliff faces in Pondoland.
Nkomba is 6.2 ha and comprises swamp forest (critically endangered), coastal forest, riparian zones and flood plains with & without reed beds and an estuary.
In July 1988 Dr David Johnson of the then Natal Parks Board visited Nkomba and had this to say: “Your proposed reserve is a little gem, well worth preserving, and indeed could turn into a tourist attraction.”
John Jerman, acting on behalf of the Pennington Environmental Group, led negotiations to have Nkomba registered as ‘A Site of Conservation Significance’ and more recently, Evelyn Heunis and Carolyn Schwegman (John Jerman’s daughter) were instrumental in having Nkomba zoned as ‘Conservation’ in the Umdoni Town Planning Scheme.
Today our “little gem” continues to thrive and boasts a lovely picnic area under the Fig Tree (planted by Ann Jerman in the early 1990’s), an eco-loo, a bird hide on the banks of the Nkomba River, a pont to take you across the river to the south bank from where you can enjoy a slow stroll to the Beach Café along the beach . Monthly activities are held ‘Under the Fig Tree @ Nkomba’ and these are designed to suit a variety of tastes: environmental, for example, Froggie hunts, identifying bats, living with snakes, and entertainment, for example, Jerry Kunene on saxophone, Petya on violin, singer, songwriter, Nibs van der Spuy.
We have a birding group that meets at Nkomba on every third Monday of the month, led by bird enthusiast, Allan McLennan who is a whizz at impersonating many bird calls. We currently have 80 bird species on our list and it grows weekly.
Visit the Nkomba Sanctuary (entrance on Dolphin Drive, Pennington) and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature with family and friends. It really is a little gem!
If you would like a key to the enviro-loo or need more information,contact Mary on 083 441 5084
The Beach Café @ Impithi is a unique restaurant in our lovely coastal village, Pennington.
Why unique? It is situated on a primary coastal dune with awe-inspiring views of the Indian Ocean, surrounded by indigenous plants, shrubs and trees, including some magnificent Red Coastal Milkwoods (specially protected), has resident Impithi (Blue duiker), visiting birds, Vervet monkeys, mongoose, not to mention passing whales and dolphin (seasonal). But what makes us even more unique? The Café is operated and managed by volunteers, supported by a team of employees, with all proceeds going towards the Conservancy’s environmental and conservation projects in Pennington.
The Beach Café has an interesting and varied menu serving breakfast and lunch, with specials every day and a traditional Sunday lunch. Our coffee is the best in town! All our meals are home-made and prepared by our wonderful cooks A really lovely spot and a joy to visit or celebrate an occasion: special birthday, christening, engagement, wedding and, we will take care of all the catering.
It is said that one picture tells a thousand words ...
The Green Team is a group of volunteers working under the auspices of the Pennington Conservancy. This team has taken on the responsibility, with the leadership of Mandy van Prooijen, for identifying natural areas in Pennington that have an impact on the Community and are in need of some care and attention.
We have identified the following, but if you know of an area that requires maintenance and management in respect of the natural environment, please let us know by contacting Mandy - 072 380 5997 or Mary McKenzie - 083 441 5084
Makamati Stream from Botha Place to Umdoni South and the Makamati Wetland (previously the dam) just off Umdoni Road South;
The beach access walkways at Nkomba, Postman’s Gully and Beach Café;
The stream (stormwater drainage) running through the municipal owned property at Relton Hall. The Pennington Recreation Club maintain the stream on their part of the property;
Nkomba South Bank;
The garden on the corner of Botha Place and Impathle;
The small wetland at the end of Impathle and Palm Roads;
The natural area between Umdoni Road North and Pennington Drive; and
Impithi Dunes (the grounds surrounding the Beach Cafe and down to the sea). This forms part of the Dune System
In addition to the above, we have agreed to care for and maintain the paved pathway along Pennington Drive. Whilst not a natural area, it does have an impact on all visitors to and residents of Pennington and perhaps more importantly, affords the Pennington Conservancy with some much-needed exposure!