Wayne Bolton cycles into Wilderness, reaching his 15th SA National Park

Wayne Bolton, the 49-year-old honorary ranger who plans to cycle 6 000 kilometers to 19 National Parks around the country, has reached his 15th park milestone on Sunday, 31 January.

SABC News Interview, as well as Die Burger
SABC News Interview, as well as Die Burger

Having cycled three-quarters of his planned itinerary, Bolton will rest in Wilderness on Monday, 1 February 2016 and depart for Oudtshoorn on Tuesday. He will then head to Karoo National Park and hopes to end his journey at the Addo National Park on 13 February 2016.

He arrived in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) two days before World Wetlands Day, celebrated on 2 February 2016.

“This is a relevant date for this section of the GRNP as the Wilderness and Swartvlei lake systems situated on the Cape South Coast form the core conservation area,” Nandi Mgwadlamba for the GRNP says.

The Wilderness system comprises three lakes (Rondevlei, Langvlei, Eilandvlei). This wetland of global significance (Ramsar site) is home to many bird species that may be seen at the Rondevlei Bird Hide. Bird hides may also be found at Langvlei (the Malachite Kingfisher bird hide) and along the Touw River (the Gallinule Bird hide).

Bolton posted on the One Land Love It Expedition’s Facebook page that he was moved by the warm welcome in the park. “Despite [it] being a Sunday, the staff, press and members of the public were there to welcome me in after a difficult cycle. Rangers met me at the gate and then escorted me past reception. Staff assembled outside shouted “welcome!” as I rode by,” he wrote.

Bolton’s ‘One land, Love It’ cycle expedition is aimed at strengthening ranger corps efforts against the plight of rhino poaching.

The expedition kicked off on 28 November 2015, after which Bolton cycled right through a heatwave in the hottest parts of the country.

READ: SANParks Honorary Ranger reaches 1 000km on 6 000km cycle journey in aid of rhinos

He says through the One Land Love It expedition, they ‘will contribute much needed anti-poaching equipment to the men and women on the ground – rangers who risk their lives to protect our wildlife.’

From GRNP, Bolton will carry a Scroll of Unity in Conservation signed by the Area Manager of Wilderness, Sandra Taljaard. The scroll is firstly a call to stand behind SANParks as the custodians of natural heritage and secondly to raise funds for two beneficiaries: SANParks Honorary Rangers and the Care for Wild Africa (a rhino orphanage near Nelspruit that takes care of orphaned calves).

The Ramsar site in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park is one of 17 in South Africa. The Wilderness and Swartvlei lake systems are situated on the Cape South Coast and form the core conservation area of the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park.

The site in Wilderness includes a dune system with associated thickets, woodlands, marshes, and reedbeds.

Important numbers of locally-migrant resident birds, as well as staging and breeding birds, use the site, which supports 285 native plant species, 32 fish species (several of which use the site as a nursery area), and a diverse marine invertebrate fauna. The lakes provide a major form of flood control.


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