/Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Transfrontier park provides further training

Top row: Julius Sikeso explaining a rock formation (l) and fieldwork (r). Bottom row: Julius explaining the Fish River Canyon (l) fieldwork (r) Photographer: Johanna Ashimbanga (NWR)

Building on the success of the mountain rescue training and GIS training provided earlier this year, staff members of the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park’s partner institutions i.e. the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) and South African National Parks (SANParks) received further training during September and October 2012.

The training covered the areas of geology, bird identification and plant identification. A total of 10 staff members benefited from these courses. The training was offered in well-functioning trilateral partnership by Peace Parks Foundation, which paid for the professional fees of the geology and bird trainers, SANParks, which provided accommodation, ground transportation and meals at Sendelingsdrift and MET/NWR that provided accommodation, ground transportation and meals at the Ai-Ais Resort. South African National Botanical Institute (SANBI) was very gracious in offering services of the plant experts for free as they were already working in the Richtersveld National Park.
Geology training was offered from the 24 – 26 October, using the Ai-Ais Resort as base. The trainer was Mr Julius Sikeso, a geologist working for Skorpion Zinc Mine at Rosh Pinah. He is well versed with the geology of the region. The module covered basic geological processes, different types rocks and their identification, and concluded with the geology of the Transfrontier Park. The latter included a geological explanation for how the Fish River Canyon was formed. The training included lectures and field excursions.

Top row: group picture at Sendelingsdrift (l) and class work – Petrus Haraseb with black sleeveless jacket (r). Bottom row: fieldwork (l) and trainees consulting a bird book for accurate identification (r). Photographer: KM Aribeb (/Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park)

The second module of bird identification was offered at Sendelingsdrift Rest Camp from 26 – 29 September 2012. Mr Petrus Haraseb, who is accredited by both the Namibia Training Authority and Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality as a tour guide and tour guide trainer specialising in birds, was the trainer. Contents covered basic ornithology and techniques of identifying birds. Special focus was placed on bird species occurring in Transfrontier Park, while the Orange River, Northern Cape, Karas Region and the Oranjemund Ramsar site were singled out. Again, the training combined lectures and fieldwork during which the trainees managed to identify 39 bird species.

Fieldwork in Richtersveld National Park identifying plants. Photographer: Nick De Goede (SANParks)

The segment on plant identification, which ran from 3 – 5 October 2012, also at Sendelingsdrift – was offered by a duo of accomplished plant experts working for the SANBI. They are Dr Ernst van Jaarsveld (a botanist and horticulturalist in charge of the succulent collection at the Botanical Society Conservatory at Kirstenbosch) and Mr Werner Voigt (the curator at Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden). The training focused on creating an understanding of the Succulent Karoo and Nama Karoo biomes, where the Transfrontier Park is located and the identification of plants that occur in these regions. It also combined lectures and practical fieldwork.


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