GEESE members

A Brief History of GEESE

A brief history of GEESE

GEESE, as such, was formed in January 2002 when a small group of residents decided to put on AN EVENT to mark World Wetland Day on 2nd February 2002. Sponsorship, speakers, and displays were obtained and two marquees hired - all to bring an awareness to our wetland and the uses and features of wetlands in general. Hundreds visited and the event ended with a celebratory service in the church next door. A similar event was put on the next year and thereafter World Wetlands Day has been suitably observed from then on in the valley but in different formats.


Read more: A Brief History of GEESE


Improvements by us

We have assisted in a number of these in the Vlei area:

- The Jungle Path was created in 2005, and runs along below Glen Road.

- We have created a check list of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and some of the flora

- A boardwalk was built over a frequently flooded pathway by the City Council in 2007 and is much enjoyed by all, especially fisherman — many grandfathers/fathers are seen teaching their youngsters to fish!

- The three sandstone block seats, which were secured by Alderman Nicki Holderness, are the ‘left-overs’ from Tulbagh Square in Cape Town City and are much enjoyed.

- In 2007, a pictorial map of the valley was commissioned from Paul Jaques, and was unveiled by Alderman Holderness on World Wetland Day.   This can be found on the Glen Road side of the berm that crosses the vlei.

- A suspended bridge is nearing completion, being built by Ben Swanepoel of the Nature Conservation Corporation.  It is attached to the Glen Road road bridge which will enable people to have an uninterrupted walk round the bottom Pan (Coots’ Pan).   The road narrows where it goes across the bridge and pedestrians are at risk should they step off the pavement into the road.

Our activities

Members have become progressively more active and among other things:

1.  Have taken responsibility for keeping the vlei free of litter and service 12 City Council litter bins on a weekly basis.   As conditions require, we hold clean-up work parties which are well attended and our efforts are rewarded by refreshments donated by the Southern Right Hotel .

2.  Keep the paths open with help from the Cape Town City Council who cut the grass once or twice a year, as well as trying to control alien vegetation.  

3.  Experiment with the control of Typha - or bullrush - which threatens to take over the open water.   Typha is a common threat all over the world and spreads when there is a high level of nutrients in the water.   There is a public experimental area near the road bridge in Glen Road — this is very much in its infancy.

4.  Assist with managing and recording water levels .

5.  Resisting developers who want to build on our mountains sides

6.  Serve on the Western Cape Wetlands Forum < > which consists of experts in numerous fields concerned with the health of wetlands as well as a number of friends groups who care for their particular wetland like ourselves.   It meets four times a year, and, among many other things, is cataloguing all the wetlands - literally hundreds of them, especially up in the mountains - in the Western Cape. 

   The appalling disastrous floods in New Orleans in 2006 have taught us a lesson — they would never have been so bad if people had not built in the wetlands and then failed to maintain the dykes.

7.  A group have been assisting the Table Mountain National Park for many years in clearing Rooikrans and other alien vegetation from Elsie’s Peak with remarkable persistence and success — phone 021 782 2736 if you’d like to know more.

8.   Another group have been working on the back of Glen Ridge, the mountainside on the other side of the valley.   Though not as high as Elsie’s Peak, it is very inaccessible from the Glencairn side.  For information, phone 021 786 1620

Visitors to the Vlei

As well as the regulars, a great many young visit the wetland.   There are two youth camps up the valley, one owned by Gordons and the other by Rotary and many Capetonians have fond memories of staying at one of them.   As part of their school curriculum, primary school children in their last year are taken on a nature outing.   Rob Erasmus, a passionate environmentalist, is responsible for introducing these youngsters to the wonders of the vlei.   University of Cape Town students studying for their degrees and post-graduates, are also frequent visitors.  

Thank you for visiting the GEESE website — how about coming and visiting the real thing!   Or joining GEESE - it’ll cost you nothing if you supply us with an email address!   Email < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > to join or keep following the action on the website!