Tokai Park

There are two organisations with interests in Tokai Park:

A.  Friends of Tokai Park 

We are a group of enthusiasts passionate about the natural beauty, history and the upkeep of the biodiversely rich community recreational areas of Tokai and its surrounds.   Our website is also our Facebook page.   For lots of information not only of our activities but also for general information, simply click on  https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfTokaiPark/  .   (You don’t have to “do” Facebook to view the page.)

 Why are we so enthusiastic . . .

 1.  The Natural Beauty:

Tokai is home to three main geological formations from which four distinct and incredibly biodiversely rich vegetation   types have evolved.

Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos:   The uppermost mountain areas stretching from Table Mountain to Cape Point are comprised of the very hard Peninsula Sandstone formation giving rise to spectacular cliffs and crags.   It weathers to course sand, exceptionally poor in nutrients but conversely amazingly rich in plant species, approximately 2000 of which some 140 are endemic (found nowhere else on earth!) but sadly of those 64 are threatened with extinction – hence the classification of Endangered.

Afrotemperate Forest:   This is by far the rarest of the Forest Biomes. It is the richest of temperate forests with approximately 20 tree species and an extraordinary diversity of insects.   Three small patches occur in the Tokai kloofs where, since they cannot cope with fire, they find refuge.  

Peninsula Granite Fynbos:   Found on the lower mountain slopes.  From the relatively fertile soils produced by the weathering of the Cape Granite formation, the Peninsula Granite Fynbos has evolved.    Sadly it is now Endangered, since, because of its fertility, it has largely been converted into vineyards and prime real estate.  Some 24 Red List species occur here and 9 are endemic or near-endemic.

Cape Sand Plain Fynbos:    This is the most threatened vegetation type on the Peninsula with only 11% of it surviving and less than 1% conserved, thus placing it in the category of Critically Endangered.   It is composed of the acidic Cape Flats Quaternary Sands and in Tokai occurs on all the flat low-lying areas.   Counter-intuitively, although these sands are extremely nutrient poor, they are home to a wonder of diversity.   During 1917 to 1919, William Purcell of the Bergvliet Farm surveyed the vegetation of the area and documented close to 600 indigenous plant species.   Sadly, approximately 100 are endanger of extinction.

However our Friends Group, together with the authorities and many others, recognise the unique opportunity

**   of restoring these vegetation types to their former abundant beauty

and very excitingly

**   through rehabilitation, of linking the ecological processes from the top of Table Mountain to the lowlands of the Cape Flats, especially since the March fires have precipitated the premature removal of the pine and gum plantations.

Tokai is one of the last areas on the Peninsula where there still is a possibility of rehabilitating sustainable areas of critically endangered Fynbos.

 

2.   The History.   Tokai is rich in history and of significant diverse cultural heritage value encompassing the ancient KoiSan memories and legends, the Muslim burial sites, the elegant Tokai Manor House, the Porter Estate, the Arboretum and others.   It is important to consider all these holistically and the Friends Group, spearheaded by Berta van Rooyen, is identifying problems and formulating recommendations for their preservation and ultimate public enjoyment.

 

3.   Community Recreation:

The Arboretum:   The Friends submitted a proposal for the maintenance and clearing of alien vegetation after a survey in November 2014.   It was well received and the Friends were given a work permit for one year.   The project however came to a halt due to the fire and as the area is still regarded too dangerous, permission to continue work is being withheld.

The Picnic area:   The Friends would like to assist with

*    innovative ideas to mitigate unpleasant baboon-human interactions

*    informative singnages for public enjoyment and enlightenment

The Restored Areas bordering Orpen Rd and the planted tree avenue on Dennendal Rd:  This has become the outdoor recreation hub in Tokai with young families pushing their little ones in strollers, older folks enjoying their constitutionals, dog walkers, horse riders, bike riders, bird watchers and the like.   The Friends have been active in ensuring the upkeep of paths and general maintenance of the area.


Our Activities:

If the above piques your interest and you would like to get involved, here are some of our activities . . .

 Alien Hacking:   This is the heavy group using  chainsaws, poisons and tackling the larger aliens and dense infestations, often on high mountain slopes.   They have had wonderful support from the Klein Constantia managers who transport them and their equipment on the rough roads up the mountain.

The Hack Group normally meet every Tuesday at 14h00.   If you are energetic and fit, you would be most welcome. 

Convenor:   Jay Cowan   jay@bechet.co.za

 Alien Pulling:   This is the lighter version of alien clearing, involving mainly hand pulling of seedlings and lopping at the root level where appropriate.   Until now the work has largely been focused within the Restoration Area.   However, since permission was granted, two Saturday morning blitzes on the mountain slopes were organised where the young alien infestation is enormous.   For the foreseeable future, we will focus our attention in these areas.

We are a small team and would welcome new members.   We meet every second Tuesday afternoon (times vary with the season).

Convenor:   Margaret Kahle  akahle@iafrica.com

 Species Surveys and Photographs:   With over 600 species in the Sand Fynbos section alone, there is a lot of inventorying and documentation of species to be done.  Many plant species can only be identified in young veld, so keen people are encouraged to submit their lists of species seen.  We are also keen to document the recolonization of Fynbos birds and animals in the restored areas.  

Convenors:  Tony Rebelo T.Rebelo@sanbi.org.za ; Chris Walker; Stuart Hall

 Fynbos restoration and maintenance:   Two extinct species have already been planted here as have many other species threatened with extinction.  Fires need to be managed and plantings are done in collaboration with the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens plant rescue team.  We also maintain paths in the areas, making sure that walkers stick to the official paths and don’t follow baboon, porcupine and caracal paths.

With the summer drought, the planted avenue of trees along Dennendal Rd. are in severe need of watering.  The TMNP Honorary Rangers and Tokai Mountain Bikes have been wonderful in assisting to dig trenches and watering the trees every two weeks.   The Friends are extremely grateful to them and would welcome anyone who could assist in this task.

Convenors: Anthony Hitchcock  A.Hitchcock@sanbi.org.za ; Tony Rebelo T.Rebelo@sanbi.org.za

 Heritage:   The lack of adequate historical method has severe consequences for the heritage of Tokai Park and certain decisions in the 2012 Development Plan need to be reassessed.   Interested and knowledgeable persons are invited to assist in identifying these problems and proactively addressing them.

Contact:   Berta van Rooyen  vanrooyen.alberta@gmail.com

 

To become involved is simple  -  just contact one of the activity conveners or simply come along to one of our events (check the Facebook webpage).   There is no subscription fee only a love of nature or a desire to understand it is asked of you.

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B.  PARKSCAPE - Urban Parks for All

Seeking the creation of safe, biodiverse, open and shaded urban parks in the buffer zones of TMNP where Park meets urban edge. SAFETY FIRST.

Contact Details:

https://www.facebook.com/ParkscapeSA/

www.parkscape.org.za

E-mail: info@parkscape.org.za