Bart Fokkens and Doug Burden walked from the source of the Msunduzi river to Taylors Halt. Bart submitted this account:
It was an amazing day, starting off with us hearing cranes and collecting a porcupine quill. Doug and I were in our element. Recalling days of working in the mountains and in Zululand. This place is special.
It was cool and misty the whole day with drizzle towards the end of our walk. It was soggy for a long way along the edge of the stream, typical highland wetlands.
No special birds but some interesting and interested people along the way. We chatted with Amos Mbhele who had lived in the valley for over 70 years.
Further down we came across a weir which had been washed away and the pipes leading from it in the banks of the river left exposed by continuous erosion. The erosion due to overgrazing is evident all over especially on the steep slopes.
We caught up with Hlengiwe Nxele, a DUCT supervsior who runs a team doing soil reclamation work in the Mafunze area and Sam Phungula who used to work for DUCT.
The biggest shock was not just seeing litter that was dumped, but the shocking number of nappies which had been dumped into the river. If there is any one thing that needs to be addressed, this is it.
Weeds we found straight away with a tall wattle tree in the first kilometer and then sisal plants. Arum lilies were abundant along the whole river.
Mud brick harvesting was seen lower down with large fields laid bare and stripped of the top soil (more clay than soil).
Other weeds we discovered, not all named, Mauritius thorn, Blackberries aka brambles, bugweed, eucalyptus, Salix, thistle.
Lesser striped swallow, black saw wing, and white throated swallow were just some of the birds along the way. The first bird we saw was a yellow billed duck, then later black duck and the extremely common needled nosed duck aka hadeda.