Verloren Valei is a magnet for those with specialist interests such as orchids, wildflowers, birds (especially cranes), insects and wetlands in general. More important, though, is the opportunity to understand how these and other areas of interest exist as part of a wider ecological context. Our expert-led field trips are a way to come to grips with specific aspects of the Reserve within the context of the whole—and an opportunity to experience a place of outstanding natural beauty more intimately.
Essential to enjoying your field trip. Copies may be purchased at the Reserve office or at the Heritage Centre in Dullstroom (next door to Mrs Simpson’s) – or by e-mailing email@example.com.
South African Field Trial Club: Annual game bird survey and associated events: These events offer a great opportunity to get to know Verloren Valei better while gathering useful data about our game bird populations—and witness how pointers and their handlers work together. The next events will be Game bird surveys on Saturday 27th April and Saturday 31st August 2019.
All are welcome, please contact Mike Zingel 0832521834 for further info and to book a place.
Understand the “great grass sea”: Field trip to Verloren Valei Nature Reserve, 8 February 2020 with Mike Zingel
Fans of Game of Thrones will know that the steppes ruled by the Dothraki tribe are called “the great grass sea”—and grasses indeed form a critical part of many ecosystems. That is particularly true of Verloren Valei’s sub-alpine environment, which is too cold for many trees to grow. A wide variety of grasses are present, adapted to the extreme weather conditions and providing the food and shelter for a surprisingly wide range of fauna, flora and insects. There is also increasing evidence that grasslands may actually be better absorbers of carbon than forests, yet another reason to protect and understand these unique highland wetlands.
Mike Zingel obtained a BSc Agriculture and went on to build a successful career in the seed industry, culminating in a stint as managing director of Mayfords Seeds. Thereafter, he embarked on a second career in wildlife management, obtaining an M Phil and an MSc in Wildlife Management.
He founded Zingela Consulting (Pty) Ltd in 2003. Mike is currently involved in research into veld assessment for wildlife management using satellite imagery and analysis of vegetation. Using the software that he has recently developed, qualitative and quantitative aspects of a property can be objectively and repeatably mapped. The outcomes facilitate management and monitoring of wildlife areas.
This research and its application in the veld was done simultaneously with investigations into rehabilitation of disturbed areas. This lead to his devising the Biomosome® range of seed products, based on biome and plant succession principles. A recent development is the application of these seed products and plant succession principles in the rehabilitation of mine properties and environmental civil engineering. This concept was introduced in a poster presentation at the Land Rehabilitation Society of Southern Africa (LaRSSA) Congress in 2014.
The software that he has developed for satellite image classification and for vegetation analysis is available for use under licence and is continuously updated and supported. With adaptation it is applicable to vegetation assessment generally and not specifically to wildlife.
Mike is Chairman of the Friends of Verloren Valei and an honorary member of LaRSSA.
Booking is essential: mail us to reserve a place.
26 January 2019: Enjoy “A Botanical Ramble in Verloren Valei with a Plant Enthusiast”. The plant enthusiast in question is John Burrows. John is the managing trustee of Buffelskloof Private Nature Reserve near Mashishing, and has authored several papers on botanical subjects, as well as books and chapters in books. You can read about John here.