The Dargle River begins in the grassland slopes below the road to Fort Nottingham. Remember we walked the Dargle in 2014? It was just 20km long and took us four days.
Where the Nile starts, is another story. Dargle resident, Jethro Bronner, is at the Nile right now, having driven his little blue Alfa Guilietta all the way from our Dargle River to the Longest River in the World.
The Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile. The White Nile is considered to be the headwaters and primary stream of the Nile itself. The Blue Nile, however, is the source of most of the water and silt. The White Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source still undetermined but located in either Rwanda or Burundi. It flows north through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and South Sudan. The Blue Nile begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia and flows into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, where Jethro is.
The northern section of the river flows north almost entirely through the Sudanese desert to Egypt, then ends in a large delta and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Egyptian civilization and Sudanese kingdoms have depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan, and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along riverbanks.
The Dargle River was named by Irish settlers who arrived in the valley in 1840 and felt the area looked much like the Dargle, County Wicklow near Dublin.
Although some of its journey is through beautiful original grassland, much of the riparian zone is degraded – often with plants like wattle, bramble and bamboo, which transform the natural landscape and overrun riparian zone biodiversity. For grassland streams, like the Dargle, these invasives shade the water, change the temperature and the aquatic biodiversity, and prevent animals accessing the water. When this ecosystem is weakened water quality is affected. As the Dargle is a tributary of the uMngeni River, which provides 6 million people with water, this is cause for concern.
Our walk inspired the Dargle Conservancy to pay some serious attention to this river. Jethro’s journey supports the Dargle Conservancy river bank rehabilitation programme.
You too can help protect our water sources and ensure there is delicious Dargle water for all. Water is everywhere; in coffee, pizza, cabbages and strawberries. Did you know that making just one pair of jeans uses of 10 000 litres of water?
Six million people live downstream of the water catchment in Dargle, relying on correct management of this natural resource to provide their daily water. Water does not come from a tap – it comes from the hills and wetlands – the ‘water factories’ – of the Midlands.
This campaign aims to protect our water sources by encouraging everyone to make a donation to restore the rivers flowing through Dargle (and eventually to Blue Lagoon in Durban). Dargle Conservancy has a programme to clear the riparian zone of the Dargle and uMngeni rivers. R100 clears a metre of the river and keeps it clear of invasive plants. How many metres would you like to protect? How many glasses of fresh, cold water will you drink this week?
There are two options to make donations:
- SMS ‘DONATE DARGLE’ to 40580. SMS costs R20 per sms on all SA Networks – free minutes do not apply.
- Or go to the Dargle Rivers webpage and you can make a quick, easy, more substantial donation through GivenGain.
Invest in your water supplies by making a donation to restoring this ecosystem. Probably the most important thing you will ever do. Support SteamPunk Cafe, The Farmer’s Daughter and il Postino Pizzeria who care about Midlands water. Give generously to show your support for Jethro’s epic drive to the Dargle River in Ireland after which Dargle KZN is named. Follow his progress: www.dargletodargle.com