Mission: Obtaining photographs for promoting the area
Date: Mid June 2009
Requesting organisation: Dr Lyn Hurry of the Thuthuka Ecobizz Project
Location: Mpophomeni Wetlands
Pilot: Steve McCurrach
In mid-June we were approached by Dr Lyn Hurry of the Thuthuka Ecobizz Project, wanting a flight over the Mpophomeni Wetlands. Bateleurs pilot and director Steve McCurrach volunteered for this mission, saying that “it was right in his backyard”, and here is the post-flight report from Dr Hurry.
The team that flew the Mphopomeni Wetlands mission, from the left:
Dr Lynn Hurry, an Ecotourism Consultant; Frank Mchunu, CEO of the Zulu Mphopomeni Tourism Enterprise (ZMTE);
Steve McCurrach, Bateleurs pilot and director; and Adam Hoosen, an office bearer for the ZMTE.
The Mpophomeni Wetlands for the ZMTE
by passenger Lyn Hurry
“Living up to their motto of “Flying for the Environment in Africa” the Johannesburg-based Bateleurs recently flew to assist the Zulu Mpophomeni Tourism Enterprise (ZMTE) when they agreed to help us to obtain photographs of the Mpophomeni Wetland. Durban-based Bateleurs pilot Steve McCurrach volunteered to fly the mission and he and I took a series of stunning photographs of the wetland and its surrounding catchment area.
Thanking The Bateleurs for their assistance, Frank Mchunu, Director of the ZMTE, said that the photographs would be used in different ways to promote the Mpophomeni Project: ‘We intend to use these beautiful images of our priceless wetland not only to promote its long-term conservation, but also to encourage its incorporation into our local ecotourism plans. Since the wetland delivers water to the upper uMngeni catchment, its conservation and wise-use is also vitally important in terms of water security for the entire uMngeni basin.’
As a development agency with a strong environmental commitment, the ZMTE networks with a number of community organisations and supports their environmental programmes. These include greening programmes, community-based organic gardens, and school-based environmental education programmes such as those provided by the Midlands Meander Eco-School initiative. Enviro clubs are active in most schools in the area and the ZMTE provides support to their annual school clean-up campaigns.
As an important part of its eco-tourism work the ZMTE is to build the Mpophomeni Gateway Information and Craft Centre at the entrance to Mpophomeni, and it is already working to develop eco-businesses (environmentally-friendly businesses) that will provide marketable goods and services to this centre. An eco-business project, the Howick-based Thuthuka Ecobizz Project, has been mooted by a local agency, and a proposal to launch this project is currently under consideration.”
A panoramic view of the Mphopomeni Wetlands and township