November 2017 Newsletter

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Newsletter November 2017 email

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Sunset Concerts Season 2017/2018

Top South African Acts for this Year’s Incredible Line-Up

The Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve are proud to announce our incredible line-up for the coming 2017/2018 summer sunset concerts series

The Helderberg #SunsetConcerts series is an opportunity for music lovers to enjoy their favourite artists perform live in nature while contributing to the conservation of our much loved Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West.

This year's line-up

This year’s line-up

Over three months from December 2017 to February 2018, ten incredible bands will perform at this beautiful open-air venue, bringing a variety of genres and sounds right to the Helderberg Community’s doorstep.

The first performance for the #SunsetConcerts Series is scheduled for Saturday, 16th December 2017 and sees the chart topper and rocker Mark Haze grace the stage with his original rock sounds. Known for his unbelievable versatility as a vocalist and high energy performances, Mark Haze has been on music lovers’ lips since his impressive success at the 2011 Idol’s competition where he was crowned 1st runner up and from which arose his record deal with Universal Music. Since then, Mark has toured locally and Internationally building a fantastic following. Impressively, he has shared the stage with rock greats such as Seether and Bon Jovi. Mark Haze promises a performance like no other. Expect soaring vocals, dynamic guitar work, pulsing rhythms plus plenty of crowd participation.

Audiences are encouraged to pack a picnic basket and blanket, bring the whole family and settle on the lush lawns for an evening of amazing local music and a superb sunset in a remarkable venue.

Supporting the Helderberg Nature Reserve, local artists, culture and businesses

This year, Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve have outdone themselves with a brilliant line-up, including local legend, Koos Kombuis, international touring artists Raoul, ‘Lonesome’ Dave Ferguson and Mark Haze, Cape Town’s most sought-after act – Coda Africa. And local favourites Shiraz

This year The Friends have also invited local schools Parel Vallei High School and Somerset College to showcase their young talented bands as opening acts for the headline artists.

Tickets for the Sunset Concerts

Tickets are available online via or directly at the Visitor Centre at the Helderberg Nature Reserve. This year Season Tickets for all concerts are also on offer at discounted rates.

Ticket Price
Adult Single Ticket R80 p/p
Scholar Single Ticket R50 p/p
Adult Season Ticket R350 p/p (all 5 shows)
Scholar Season Ticket R200 p/p (all 5 shows)
Under 5 Years Free

Our partners

The Helderberg #SunsetConcerts are proudly sponsored by local businesses Ex Solar, who offer a bespoke solution for all your solar needs and Borehole Drilling Solutions who offer environmentally-friendly water solutions for your property.

The Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve is an NPO which was established in 2008 and raises funds and assists with various projects that aid the management of the Helderberg Nature Reserve

All Concert Committee Team members and crew are unpaid volunteers giving of their time to this worthy cause. Artwork designed by graphic designer and volunteer Ian Whalley. Mandala artwork by volunteer and artist Marguerite MacRobert

Full Line-Up 2017/18 Sunset Concerts at Helderberg Nature Reserve

Sat, 16th Dec 2017

Main Act: Mark Haze (Rock/Pop)
Opening Act: Parel Vallei High Show Band

Sun, 14th Jan 2018

Main Act: Shiraz (Covers 60’s to now)
Opening Act: Somerset College Band: The Disciples of Swest

Sun, 28th Jan 2018

Main Act: Coda Africa (Classical/Jazz/Afro Fusion)
Opening Act: Parel Vallei High Show Band

Sun, 11th Feb 2018

Double Bill: Dave Ferguson & Raoul (Blues/Rock)
Special Guest: Natalie Chapman

Sun, 25th Feb 2018

Main Act: Koos Kombuis (Afrikaans)
Opening Act: Parel Vallei High Show Band


2017 Day and Night walks in the reserve

BOOKING IS NOW OPEN for the new season’s day and night walks in the reserve.

The September/October walks are as follows.

  • 23 September:   Night Walk (New Moon) starts 19:00
  • 24 September:   Day Walk (Birds) starts 07:30
  • 07 October:        Night Walk (Full Moon) starts 19:00
  • 21 October:        Night Walk (New Moon) starts 19:00
  • 29 October         Day Walk (Fynbos) starts 08:00

Cost (cash preferred):

Non-members: Adults R50, Seniors R40 and Scholars R25

Members: Adults R30, Scholars R15

Tickets are available at the Visitor Centre open daily from 10:00 to 16:00.

Booking is essential.


Each walk lasts approximately 2 hours.

Wattling away….

ALIEN AUGUSTClick here to download the newsletter >> Newsletter-2017-08

Trees down – let’s bring back the shade

Much of that lovely shade in the picnic areas of the Nature Reserve has gone, lost in the big storm. The Friends have made an urgent appeal for donations to their tree fund to allow new large trees to be bought and planted before the summer. Please see this extract from our newsletter with banking details at the bottom.


We need your help

Wednesday 7 June 2017 will be remembered for many years to come as The Big Storm. Rain and wind lashed the Cape and the Helderberg Nature Reserve was not spared the devastation. During the night the strong winds wreaked havoc in the picnic area. The top site was worst hit where two large oak trees were severely damaged. Reserve staff spent a few days cutting up the fallen branches and removing the remainder of the splintered trunks.


Replacing the trees

Over the years the oak trees have provided much needed shade, especially in the hot summer months and will need to be replaced as soon as possible. The City has approved the purchase of some large established indigenous trees, endemic to the area. Unfortunately these come a huge cost.


Tree Fund

Reserve Management and the Friends have therefore set up a Tree Fund for the purchase of such trees and we appeal to members and visitors to the reserve to support this initiative. Any amount, large or small, will be welcome. Donations can be made at the Visitor Centre or paid directly into the Friends bank account (details below).
This appeal is urgent as the trees will need to be planted by mid-August in order for the roots to become established before the summer months.
Should you require more information, do not hesitate to contact Reserve Management or the Visitor Centre.

Let’s make a difference

I trust that together we can make a difference and purchase as many trees as possible. Thank you for your support – until next time.
– Owen Wittridge

Bank details for donations to the Tree Fund

  • Bank: ABSA
  • A/c Name: Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve
  • A/c No: 9072029429
  • Branch: 632005
  • Reference: Your Friends membership number followed by Tree Fund

All grown up…..

We spent most of this hack clearing a large patch of port jackson not far above the reservoir. These plants have grown more outward than upward and as a consequence are difficult to grab and remove with a tree popper. We used the poppers as a first line of attack and followed up with loppers and herbicide wherever the poppers struggled…..

To read more, click here: >> Newsletter-2017-04



Aliens in Retreat!


This was a pretty hot hack, the last of our early summer starts. We toiled under a blue sky and unrelenting sun and so sought shade for our tea break. A very suitable spot was occupied by a duiker. Surprised by our presence, it moved off – I imagine it was rather reluctant to lose its shelter from the sun. We worked on the verge of the road……

Click here to read more: Newsletter-2017-03 ALIENS



April Newsletter

Our quarterly newsletter is available for downloading – enjoy this informative and interesting read in either English or Afrikaans:

Click here for English: Newsletter april 2017 email

Click here for Afrikaans: Nuusbrief April 2017 email

Newsletter april 2017 email

Celebrating a 79th summit!

Every so often, you meet someone quite extraordinary, with an incredible tale to tell. Today was one of those days, and the extraordinary person I had the pleasure of chatting to was Hugh Middleton. Hugh has become somewhat of a Helderberg legend in the last 6 years, having hiked to the West Peak 78 times. Yes – you read that right – 78 times! And he’s not slowing down. In fact, you may hear a bit of whinging from the groups of hikers he escorts up to the West peak – Hugh is just too fast! As a regular hiker / trail runner, and having been up to the West Peak a few times, I dared to ask him how fast is fast. Quickest time, 3 hours 30 minutes. Stunned silence from me!

By the way – Hugh is 79 years old (!!)

So – here comes the fun part. You are ALL invited to join Hugh for his 79th hike up to the West Peak this Saturday, 3 December, starting at 7.30am. There will be 2 hiking options – the ‘shorter’ version will be doing Leopard’s Loop (Grade 2B, approx. 3 hours) – lead by the experienced hiker, Ron. The fitter group will be led by Hugh and continue on to the West peak (Grade 3B, approx. 6 hours – slower than Hugh’s normal blistering pace, as we’re expecting quite a crowd).

Hugh turns 80 in December this year, and will be spending a restful day racing up to the West Peak for the 80th time, accompanied by his 3 sons for a family celebration!

Hugh – you are a true inspiration! Congratulations – on behalf of the Friends of the Helderberg, we wish you MANY more happy hours spent on the mountain.

For more information about joining Hugh for his 79th hike, contact Don on 072 270 7972



Please note, you need suitable footwear – good boots are mandatory for West Peak. Bring sun protection – and at least 1.5 litres of water and snacks. These hikes are hosted by the Friends of the Helderberg Reserve and are open to visitors as well as members. No fee to join the walk, however the entry fee to the Reserve for visitors in R20,00 per person, R10,00 for seniors and R10,00 per car.

November Newsletter

The November Newsletter is available in both English and Afrikaans – click on the link below and enjoy an entertaining and informative read!