To all stakeholders, friends, visitors, hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers, season ticket holders, climbers, teachers, school groups and guests:
We want to firstly direct our sincere condolences to the lady who was hiking on the reserve on Sunday afternoon and who experienced the unfortunate incident with poachers. We have engaged directly with her and her family, and are providing any support that is necessary to deal with the specific incident.
We are working extremely hard with the relevant authorities to combat this threat to our precious wildlife, and to maintain a level of safety on our reserve so that all people can enjoy the beauty of the location. This is the first incident of violent crime we have experienced on our reserve.
We have setup patrols, fly-overs, weekend camp outs and even local community volunteer walks. We have also engaged with the local communities and done several education and awareness programmes with our neighbours over the last two years.
The safety of all our visitors is a priority to WESSA and we appeal to the authorities to apprehend the perpetrators, and to work with the community to reduce the scourge of poaching and its related crimes.
We ask the local municipality to assist us with improving the safety of the community so that we can use our proclaimed nature reserve for tourism activities.
Here are some safety tips should you wish to visit us in the future:
1. Sign the registration form at the reception so that we know you are on the reserve.
2. Depart from the reserve before the official closing times and preferably please sign out from reception.
3. Engage with the onsite receptionist about the different trails available and their locations. They will also give you a printed map.
4. Never walk alone when on the reserve, and carry a mobile phone in case of emergency.
News supplied by Wessa uMngeni Valley Nature Reserve.