Pre / Post Congress Field Trips

Field Trip 04: West Coast National Park  |  Date: Sunday 04 September or Saturday 10 September 2022


Facilitator:  Prof John Compton
Prof John Compton (now emeritus) has been involved in research on the West Coast for the last 24 years. His research interests include the history of the highly productive Benguela Upwelling System and the genesis of large phosphate deposits on the shelf, the records of climate and sea-level fluctuations over the last several millions of years and their impact on human evolution in southern Africa, the importance of wind-blown mineral dust and sea aerosols as a source of nutrients to the highly diverse fynbos plant biome, and the dynamics of coastal environments from lagoon salt marshes to mobile sand dune cordons. He has written several popular science books on the natural history of the region (visit

Date: Sunday 04 September or Saturday 10 September 2022

Cost: R1260.00  (Includes luxury transport, Entrance fees, Lunch, water, and guide book)

Minimum capacity: 20
Max capacity: 38 

Description:  This field trip will explore the relation of plant biomes and geological substrate in the West Coast National Park. The park contains Cape seashore vegetation on active dunes along the coast, Cape salt marsh along the fringes of Langebaan Lagoon, as well as granite and dune strandveld biomes. Dune strandveld is the dominant biome in the park, growing on widespread calcareous dune sand that ranges in age from Recent to Pleistocene. Plants vary within the dune strandveld related to age of dune deposits, extent of leaching of carbonate from the sand and the extent of exposed calcrete (a pedogenic limestone rock). Aspects that will be discussed include source of nutrients to the plants (substrate, wind-blown, nutrient islands, role of fire), alien invasive species, soil processes (calcrete, silcrete) and groundwater hydrology.

Preliminary Itinerary:

Departure from Club Mykonos at 08:30, Return at 18:00

  • 08:30 Drive to WCNP, enter North entrance at Langebaan
  • Visit Seeberg for overview of Lagoon
  • Geelbek bird hide (Saltmarsh)
  • Postberg granite for Namaqualand daisies
  • Tsaarbank Atlantic coastal dunes
  • Kraalbaai fossil footprints, sandflats and middens
  • 18:00 Return to Club Mykonos

Participants to bring:

  • Appropriate clothing for sun and wind
  • Comfortable walking shoes (minor walking)

Field Trip 05: West Coast Fossil Park  | 5-9 Sept 2022 | Fossils, Fynbos, Mining and Mankind

Coordinator & Presenter:  Guides and co-ordination: Pippa Haarhoff (Manager, West Coast Fossil Park), Deon van Eeden (original mine closure ecological restoration practitioner and Managing Director for Vula Environmental Services) and Lynette Munro (Conservation partnership facilitator, Nature Connect).

Pippa Haarhof:  Pippa Haarhof graduated in Archaeology at UCT where she initially worked in the Cenozoic Palaeontology department on the fossil collection from Langebaanweg under the guidance of Dr Brett Hendey. Her work in this field led her to play a leading role in initiating the Fossil Park project in 1992, and she took on the responsibility of running the Park when it was opened to the Public in 1998.

Deon van Eeden:  Natural interest, followed by formal training in horticulture and landscape design, took Deon into research-based environmental restoration work in the late 1990’s. What began as a 3-month contract to “see what could be done” about an old open-cast mine on the west coast, became his stomping ground and the West Coast Fossil Park for the next 25 years. Deon and his team have pioneered dryland restoration work in South Africa, mainstreaming restoration and ecosystem-based landscaping along the way.

Bio: Nature Connect

Nature Connect works to build resilience in communities in order to address both the social and environmental challenges faced by the City and beyond. This is undertaken through its Crèche-to-Career environmental education model. Lynette Munro serves as a Conservation Partnership Facilitator, seeking to understand and develop models for sustainable financing for conservation, while growing the conservation estate. ‘Business as Usual’ is clearly failing the fynbos. Nature Connect work with the hope that all is not lost, and that the world can look different as per its tagline: Changing lives through nature.

Date:  5-9 Sept 2022

Cost: ZAR1 277.50 per person (includes: *Transport, West Coast Fossil Park tour, tea + lunch and a donation for the green village eco-school project)

Max capacity: 30 (no minimum but transport cost will vary depending on the number of participants)  Please note that transport cost may vary and influence the per-person price.

Description: A guided walking tour to the dig site will take you to one of the few places where you can see fossils in the ground exactly as they were buried. This fossil site is world-renowned for its exceptionally well-preserved fossil faunal remains that date to the terminal Miocene/early Pliocene (circa 5.2 -10 million years ago), including the fossils of bears, sabre-tooth cats and short-necked giraffes. A customised presentation will provide you with background linked to the origin (the site was originally a phosphate mine), establishment (including social and biodiversity mine closure impacts) and future, of the fossil park as a Public Trust. Following the walking tour of the dig site and locally hosted onsite lunch, the day will conclude with a discussion concerning ongoing land transformation pressures and the role conservation can, or should, play in the future.

Preliminary Itinerary

09:00   Depart Mykonos

09:30   Arrive West Coast Fossil Park

09:45  Walk to the dig site with Pippa & Deon

10:00   View the open dig site

10:30   Walk to Green Village

10:45   Engage with staff and local Councillor (History, challenges, dreams for the future)

11:45    Walk to Museum

12:00   Museum tour

12:00   Lunch

13:30  Deon van Eeden: What we did, why, and how this has advanced the field of fynbos restoration.

15:30   Depart West Coast Fossil Park

16:00   Return to Mykonos

Field Trip 07: A Review of biological control in Mediteranean Environments | Date TBC

Coordinator:   Nicola Kruger

Facilitator:  Professor John Hoffmann

Research Entomologist, Weed Division, Plant Protection Research Institute, Agricultural Research Council, South Africa 

Date:  TBC

Capacity: 20 persons minimum

Old Villiage | Modderfontein Lodge

Old Village on Modderfontein Farm (circa 1725) is a unique country retreat with beautifully restored self-catering cottages and a period country Restaurant and Pub, located in a magnificent setting on a organic citrus farm outside the village of Citrusdal, 2 hours from Cape Town along the scenic N7.

The renovated cottages have been individually furnished and decorated with an understated elegance, complementing the character of each. All have fully equipped kitchens, spotless bathrooms, fireplaces, air-conditioning and satellite televison. Solar power provides electric light and hot water. Quality mattresses,, crisp linen, fluffy towels and attention to detail complete the picture and ensure a comfortable stay.

Cost:  Accommodation at Modderfontein Old Village
Sharing cottage: TBC per person, Single: TBC

Inclusive of:

  • One-night accommodation at Old Village, Modderfontein in a variety of cottages / houses. All rooms will be offered with private bathroom.
  • Picnic lunch en route the lodge, dinner and breakfast at the lodge.
  • Lunch at Muisbosskerm
  • Transfers in a luxury 32 seater coach
  • Local tour-guide

Description:  Invasive alien plants pose a major threat to biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a mediterranean ecosystem.Large shrubs and trees from South America, Australia and Europe have invaded the mediterranean shrublands changing soil nutrient cycles, increasing fire loads, altering fire cycles, overshadowing and outcompeting indigenous vegetation and impacting water supplies.Successful use of biological control to manage the impact and threat of invasive alien Acacia species from Australia and several South American Fabaceae will be discussed and demonstrated by Professor John Hoffmann who has a wealth of experience in this field.  Delegates will be able to learn about how to manage similar problems in their home environments, for example in Portugal where biological control of Australian Acacia species has been initiated.

Itinerary | Day 01

Travel on day 1 is a 5 hour drive but with numerous stops along the way it will be approximately seven hours.

We will leave Mykonos early in the morning and drive to Rocher Pan Nature reserve a short drive up the coast. Here, if the pan is flooded, we are likely to see a variety of birds. We will also be investigating of Acacia cyclops, an invasive Australian tree and look for the presence of biological control agents on this species.

From Rocher Pan we will drive through the Agter Piketberg and then on to Citrusdal before climbing the mountainous pass into Algeria forest station in the central Cederberg. As we cross the Olifantsrivier we will be looking for sites where Sesbania punicea used to invade.

After lunch at the forest station, we will drive down the Rondegat valley. Before we travel down this route we will look at photographs of the valley before clearing of Acacia mearnsii (Black Wattle) and view the current state of the valley. We will stop to investigate the presence of biological control agents that target seed production of Acacia mearnsii, without compromising the bark and timber value of the tree.

We will discuss the successful efforts to remove invasive black bass from a stretch of this river in order to protect habitat for the rare and endangered fish species found in this catchment.

We will end the day with dinner at the Old Village in Modderfontein.

Itinerary | Day 02

Breakfast is served at the restaurant at the Old Village.

Travel on day 2 is a four and a half hour drive but with fewer stops on the way.

We will drive down into the historic Moravian Mission town of Wupperthal. This historic village was burnt to the ground in fires in December 2018. There will be an opportunity to buy the world famous veldskoen that are manufactured here.

Spring flower displays should provide an opportunity for both colourful landscape photographs and detailed macro photography of the rich floral diversity.

Next stop will be the Lambert’s Bay Bird Island Nature Reserve Conservation to visit the vast colony of Cape Gannets.

Lunch at Muisboskerm & back to Mykonos via Elands Bay and Velorenvlei.