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Friday, June 23, 2023



(Pics supplied)

The popular Ashburton Aloe Festival will once again take place in the beautiful bushveld of the Lower Mpushini Valley Conservancy, Ashburton East, on July 1 and 2, 2023.

Just 10km East of Pietermaritzburg, the Festival offers a packed programme of outdoor activities, market stalls, talks, demos and walks around nature, and nature conservation.

The festival takes place at five venues in the Valley:

The Ashburton Training Centre will host the Ashburton Market which will be open over the weekend from 09h00 – 15h00 with over 80 stall-holders, with a food court, live entertainment, children's crafts, and snare walks led by Conservancy game guard, the legendary Lucky Makuyana, (aka Hardlife).

Galago Farm which is nestled in the heart of the valley alongside the Mpushini River, and is a bird watchers’ paradise offers tea, home baked cakes and light meals at the soup bar in the peace and tranquility of the Conservancy Tea Garden. They host a range of interesting talks on beekeeping, birding and butterflies and gardening for wildlife; as well as guided trails that focus on grasses and the ancient story of rocks. There will be demonstrations on basket-making and soap-making. Indigenous plants will be on sale and a variety of children's activities and art. On Saturday there is a campfire, stories, and night walk and on Sunday afternoon piano music under the thorn trees.

Mawingo Farm offers self-guided trails through the gorgeous bushveld to 'The Donga' one of the ancient drainage lines that occur in the incised valley. There are two guided trails at this venue on Saturday, one focusing on birds and one on the rocks and ecology along the way.

At Impala Bend one can enjoy amazing views over the valley including the giant Aloe Candelabrum in full flower. The Allan Wilson Shellhole MOTH’s will have a range of delicious breakfast and lunch options available on the deck at 'The Waterhole' pub.  There will be several conservation talks here including a bird ringing demonstration. and in the late afternoon (with a sundowner) a special treat is to watch the wildlife feeding. 

Rocky Wonder Aloe Nursery has a display garden of 200 species of aloes making a colourful splash in the bushveld setting. This is a good opportunity for photographers to capture the wild flowering aloe Candelabra, from where the Aloe Festival takes its inspiration. A wide variety of aloes are available to purchase at 20 percent discount, and visitors can picnic in the nursery and surrounds and enjoy the various stalls that support this venue including wildlife art and handmade miniature pottery gardens.

 The entry fee is R50 (R30 for pensioners and R20 for children under 12). Strictly no dogs are allowed. All funds raised go to support the anti-poaching activities of the Lower Mpushini Valley Conservancy and Mpushini Protected Environment.

For the full programme see the Facebook page

For more information contact Pandora on 072 6928124 or Heather on 083 665 8010.