Zandvlei Trust

Oliver Koerting - International Student
at Zandvlei Nature Reserve, Muizenberg, Cape Town.


Oliver (23) is from Dortmund in west Germany. He is on a national German scholarship to come to South Africa and work with Mark Arendse teaching environmental education, which is his interest.
His host parents are Joe and Brenda Adams in Retreat. He is here until the end of May 2011. He has an older sister at home in Germany.


Oliver plans to build a catamaran raft out of 2 litre plastic bottles as a project, to take children on Zandvlei and demonstrate and highlight plastic recycling. Also alternative ways to reuse and recycle plastic waste.

He would also like to build some display tanks for live and stuffed animal exhibits for the new office building when the staff move. These tanks will be able to be transported and moved around with less chance of them being damaged and broken.
All the photographs are supplied by Oliver unless stated otherwise.

May  2011    updated 01/06/2011

Morella has a new and bigger display box!! It will be easier to handle when transporting it on education outings. This is the last project Oliver completed before he left for home, back in Germany. He made this wooden box with sliding glass doors for Morella the Corn Snake who had outgrown the glass tank she had as home.

photograph by Cassy Sheasby

Eddie helped Oliver complete the new display and we are sure Morella appreciates the new home.

photograph by Cassy Sheasby

There is much more room to move around and there are larger natural branches and bark
to rest on and under.

April  2011

This is raft building month. "With a little help from my friends" the raft is being made this month. 
A sequence of photos follow below, of the staff at the Reserve helping me to make the raft.

The plywood deck is marked out and bottle tops nailed in place for spacing and drilling centres for the bolts.

The colourful layout of 242 tops for the bottles. 

Getting ready to drill all the holes.

Mark and Eddie admiring their handy work. All the holes are drilled and the gutterbolts installed.

The deck underside has had a few coats of varnish applied before the tops are screwed down.

Now 'the team' screw the 2 litre bottles to the caps.

....and that done, it is flipped over and ready for the next coats of varnish on the top side.

After a few coats have dried.

Now the day has arrived to go and try out the raft on the vlei. The raft on the back of the bakkie.

Unloading it at the Scout Base slipway.

Yeeeeeeh it floats!!

Got to try it out. Mark and I having a go.

Taariq and I really moving it.

It is pretty stable too, with 4 adults having a ride. Now we have to get the children to take it around the vlei.

This juvenile Loggerhead Turtle was found on Muizenberg beach by Law Enforcement, who notified us it had been washed up on the beach. We named it George. Margit, Taariq and I took it off to the Two Oceans Aquarium where they will look after it. At the Aquarium they told us they already have a Doug. "George and Doug, that would work", they said.

Margit with the turtle, drying it off, to keep it warm so we can get it to the Aquarium.

March  2011

This month will be busy as we are short staffed and my sister has come to visit so I shall also be away travelling. 

We are on the way to rescue some Leopard Toads nearby after a call out. Me in the back of the bakkie.

Off to do a bird count, stopped under the palm tree picnic site.

At the lookout platform at the confluence of the vlei and the Sand River.
That is Australia Island in the middle of the picture.

Recording the numbers of birds seen.                     The Corn Snake (Marella).

On a night count I picked up a Grysbok in the torch light.

February 2011

In the Sand River cannel clearing the invassive hyacinth water weed using the canoes.

Just some of the hyacinth removed onto the bank so it can be transport away.

Oliver doing an environmental education class with students in the new office buildings.

Oliver helping Margit with the chipping machine making mulch for 
covering the flower beds during the hot summer months

December 2010

Oliver reports "The one picture shows me after a litter clean up at the scirpus hide/waters edge of the vlei with Cassy and Eddie".

Just look at all the junk that has washed up in Zandvlei from the Sand River!! All this litter was discarded by local residents along the Sand River in Retreat.

"These two pictures show the bottle collection I have in December 2010".

Part of the collection of 2 litre bottles collected to make a raft to carry 2 people on Zandvlei.

"I still need about 55 bottles (now its round about 260 bottles). But I think I’ll get them within the next few days. I collected bottles from the vlei with a canoe and from families from the area".

November 2010

Oliver reports Today we have our last school group from Christian Foundation Primary School for the year and we’ll probably take some pictures with the stuff we made, in the class - like weaving baskets and crafting paper mache puppets.

We had some cake and cooldrinks and a little bag of surprise for each child. They enjoyed it and thanked Mark and I for the weekly sessions.

Me feeding the “Wags”, the Cape Wagtail, our current office bird,                Me in my fire suit before going
Cassy brings the bird every day to work. It uplifts the mood in a very            off to do fire fighting in the
good way, because it is always wagging its tail and is always hungry.   

Wags getting some breakfast mealworms.


October 2010

On Do It Day - 15/10/2010 Oliver was helping all to cut invassive Spanish broom plants on the biodiversity corridor from the Muizenberg to Zandvlei on Old Boyes Drive.

Oliver, Mark and Cleo cutting the branches.                     The bags to transport the cuttings from the site.

At the 16th Cape Town International Kite Festival - 24/10/2010 Oliver was working in the Zandvlei Trust tent educating the general public about the role the Nature Reserve staff play to conserve the local indigenous fauna and flora.

Oliver listening to the questions from the children about the Leopard Toad and terrapin in glass tanks.

Answering questions and demonstrating the snake to the very curious visitors.

Oliver repairing the Reserve western boundary gate. This is before
"the locals" have got hold of him and given him a No.1 haircut.  updated 13/12/2010


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