The Aliens in Retreat: ‘The sunny chill of winter’


‘A Chronicle of Helderberg Hackery’

It was a beautiful Western Cape winter’s day. The sun was shining in blue skies, but the cold breeze kept things just on the wrong side of comfortable. Continuing our attack above the reservoir in the burnt pine plantation, we targeted mostly Port Jackson……


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The Aliens in Retreat!

Seventeen Honours students from Stellenbosch University’s Department of Botany ad Zoology joined us for this hack. Along with professor Sophie von der Heyden and her daughter Helene, they made fantastic inroads into the alien vegetation.

Regular hackers were Erika Dau, Lisa Figenschou, Ryan Verrezen, Margie Humphris, Megan Lane, Jenny Lawrence, John McNaughtDavis, Dora Wolhuter and James Silberbauer.

From Stellenbosch were Brian Du Preez, Celeste de Kock, Anni Basson, Richelle Brink, Hendre van Rensburg, Melissa Schulze, Nicolene Hellstroom, Sian Seymour, Tilly Randle, Reece Bolus, JC Bothma, Mizpah Hoffman, Kyle Kulenkampff, Stefaan Di Leva, Michelle Fourie, Kayla Killina, Megan Dreyer, professor Sophie von der Heyden and Helene von der Heyden.

For more Hacking news, click on the link below!


hack newsletter


Thank you!

A big shout out to the Stellenbosch University honours students from the Biology department, who joined The Friends of the Helderberg for the hack on Saturday (14 May).
17 students plus Prof Sophie von der Heyden (and her daughter) joined the regular hack team.

The focus of the hacks at the moment is the removal of new alien vegetation growing where the controlled burn was carried out last year at the Helderberg Nature Reserve. The area was scattered with protea seeds and these plants, as well as others from the existing seed bank are slowly getting established. The alien seedlings are however racing ahead to take over the area.

Our regular hacks attempt to control the alien plants, giving the fynbos the time and space to settle in. If you are interested in joining these monthly Saturday morning hacks, keep an eye on our website or facebook page for details, or contact James Silberbauer at for more information. You don’t need any special skills – just a willingness to help protect our beautiful Reserve.

Honours students from the University of Stellenbosch Biology Department.

Honours students from the University of Stellenbosch Biology Department.

April Hack News

For more information about the April hack, click here!



Weekend Hack – 14 May 2016

Please join us at this weekend’s hack. We’re going to tackle seedlings, so if you have a weeding implement or an old
screwdriver, please bring it along.

On Saturday 14 May at 8:00am.
Meet behind the Mike Woods Environmental Education Centre.
Dress for scratchy bush – tough clothing with long sleeves and long trousers are recommended.

We supply saws, loppers, tree poppers and herbicide. You’re welcome to bring your own equipment if you like.
We have several pairs of sturdy gloves, but bring your own if you prefer.

The hack usually lasts about two and a half hours.
We will have a break during the hack and refreshments will be provided.



Annual General Meeting: 11 May 2016 at 17:00

Dear Friends Members
Annual General Meeting: 11 May 2016 at 17:00
We would like to remind all our members that the Friends Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday, 11 May at 17:00 at the Mike Woods Environmental Education Centre.
This is the most important event in the calendar of the Friends where you will have the opportunity to hear about the activities and achievements of the past year, as well as the challenges ahead. Most importantly, you will be able to take part in the nomination of candidates for and election of the Friends Management Committee.
This year we are planning a new and more tightly programmed agenda to ensure that the entire event is completed by 19:00. There will not be a guest speaker but instead there we will hold a discussion on ideas for the Friends activities over the next year.
Come at 17:00 to register and enjoy coffee, tea or a glass of wine and some light snacks before the start of the official proceedings at 17:30.
·              Welcome and Apologies
·              Confirmation of Minutes of AGM held on 16 May 2015
·              Chairman’s Report
·              Treasurer’s Report
·              Open discussion forum: Present and future activities and tasks of the Friends
·              Election of Friends Committee 2016/17 (Nomination forms are available at the Visitor Centre)
We look forward to your participation in this event.
Friends Committee


Early Riser Keys

1 May 2016 to 30 April 2017

For more information, click here: Early Riser Keys Info for Website

For the application form, click here: Application Form keys 2016

special key

Vriende Nuusblad, Maart 2016

Newsbrief Maart 2016 print-1


Friends Newsletter, March 2016

Newsletter March 2016 email


Friends Newsletter – November 2015

Newsletter November 2015