During the week of 7 September this year, Durban ICC hosted the 14th World Forestry Congress. At this Congress was a delegation from the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation – or CIC. This group is a politically independent advisory body which aims to preserve wild game and hunting. Essentially, they promote the sustainable use of wildlife resources, which includes the natural forest areas around the world. As members of CHASA, our Association is affiliated to CIC.Congress-delegatesThe CIC delegation headed by the Director General Tamas Marghescu from the CIC head office in Budakeszi and Jan Heino President of Policy and Law Division from Ajurinmäki, Finland, arranged for an African Safari for some 70 selected international guests who were attending the congress. CIC, via our Association’s Office, bussed the attendees up to Tala Private Game reserve outside Durban.

Upon arrival, they were assigned to safari vehicles and enjoyed a trip around the reserve. Particular attention was paid to the rhinos and their security on the reserve. Standing on the shore of the large dam at the reserve, the group watched the sun set whilst listening to the grunts of the hippos and squabbling of duck and geese. When they returned to the boma, CIC organiser Dr Ali Kaka from Kenya took on the role of facilitator of a relaxed discussion forum. Invited speakers were seated comfortably at the front of the hall. Dr Ali opened the evening by talking about the reason behind the need for the support of community reserves. He highlighted the fact that Tala was an example of what could be achieved. The discussion moved to the success story of Kameelkop and our Associations involvement in the reserve. Nkosi Kunene from the Kameelkop Community explained some of the details of the success of the reserve and urged the international delegates to think about what they could do to assist. Included in the discussion were Petros and Richard from Umsuluzi reserve near Weenen. They have specific needs and appealed to the delegates to assist wherever they could. Offering his wealth of experience was Dr John Hanks, who placed a lot of issues into context regarding many of the challenges facing Africa at this time. For him to address this global delegation and to field their very interesting and challenging questions was a worthwhile exercise for everyone.

Following the debate and discussion, the attendees then enjoyed a local fire-side boma meal which included an Impala on the spit. The evening continued late into the night with some deep discussion about the various topics that had been dealt with whilst on the safari.  The traditional dancing exhibition was a great hit with the visitors, who joined in with great excitement and gusto.

Suffice it to say, the whole event was a great success. We thank Steven Palos, CHASA Chairman, for creating the privileged opportunity for the KZNHCA to organise and participate in the event. We made a lot of good friends in the course of this event.Congress-delegates2