1. Stick to a routine

Plan out a routine and stick to it. Having structure in your day gives you a sense of stability and peace of mind. For example, get up and go to bed at the same time you usually would and have your meals at the usual time. Make sure you get your normal amount of sleep. Plan different things for your weekend or day off so you can get a break from your routine, just as you normally would.

2. Get a daily dose of fresh air

Go outside for a walk or run – it’s good for your physical and mental health. Again, plan it into your schedule so you are doing it every day. Getting out of the house will make you feel better and reduce cabin fever.

3. Eat healthy food

Make sure you’re getting your 5 plus a day of fruit and vegetables to stay healthy. Avoid unnecessary snacking which is easy to do when you’re at home. Keep your eating habits as close as possible to what you would usually do. An excess of alcohol is especially risky at this time, so keep to standard drinking advice and find other ways to relieve stress.

4. Stay in touch

A lack of face to face contact with others is tough. However, there are lots of other ways to stay in touch. Pick up the phone, video call friends or family and stay in touch online. Start an online neighbourhood group to keep an eye on each other. You could also throw a virtual party where a group gets together online and connects that way. There are also lots of resources and ideas on the internet to keep you occupied and connected.

5. Exercise inside regularly

Set aside time each day or week to exercise inside, in the garage or in the garden. It could be yoga, weights, dancing or other forms of exercise. There are many websites offering free virtual exercise classes. It’s also a great time to get stuck into the garden, mow the lawns, clean the house and trim the hedge. See also exercising while staying at home.

6. Have fun

If you’ve suddenly find yourself with time on your hands, remember to do something you enjoy. Watch a movie, do some puzzles, play some board games, write that novel, read, redecorate, play charades, start to learn language or do anything else that will put a smile on your face.

7. Have a digital break

While it’s important to stay connected digitally, make sure you do have a break from it and balance your use. Plan times to be digitally connected and times when you switch to ‘do not disturb’ and become fully present to life in your bubble.

8. Healthy balance of news

It’s tempting to keep checking all the latest updates about COVID-19 but don’t let it rule your life. Keep informed but also a have a break from the constant flow of information. Have set times where you check the news, maybe morning and night to keep a healthy balance.

9. Meditate

Meditation is proven to have many mental and physical benefits. As does practising mindfulness. They are both free to do and will improve your health and help you stay calm and centred.

10. Seek medical attention if needed

If you feel unwell and need to see a doctor or you suspect you have COVID-19, then phone your GP to make an appointment. Medical facilities, pharmacies, vets, supermarkets and other essential services are still open.

 

SourceCredit: www.healthnavigator.org.nz

 

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South Africa has officially moved to Level Four lockdown restrictions, put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID-19 infections in South Africa continue to rise and the virus poses a significant threat to our country. Government has thus taken a careful approach, consisting of five lockdown levels, to fully reopen the economy.

Level Four explained

South Africa moved from Level Five to Level Four on 1 May.

Government’s regulations for Level Four include:

  • In addition to essential services, some other businesses may open, including those that sell baby clothes, bedding, winter clothing and stationery. Hardware suppliers and vehicle maintenance businesses can open, and factories that support these businesses can start manufacturing.
  • Restaurants can sell food, but deliveries only.
  • A curfew has been put in place. You may not leave your home between 8pm and 5am, unless you have an essential worker permit or need urgent medical attention.
  • You may leave your home to exercise, but only between 6am and 9am. However, you must stay within 5km of your home and cannot exercise in groups.
  • Fabric face masks are now mandatory. You have to wear one when leaving your home.
  • Tobacco products and alcohol are still not allowed to be sold.
  • Domestic workers and childminders who live at private households can return to work.
  • Businesses that open must have strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place.
  • You may only travel between provinces for funerals or to return to work or home.
  • You may still not visit family or friends.
  • You can use public transport, such as trains and buses, under strict conditions.

The relaxed lockdown will allow around 1.5 million workers to return to work, as shops and industries such as mining and agriculture start expanding their operations.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma reminded South Africans that Level Four does not mean that the lockdown is over. As infections around the country continue to increase, it is important for all citizens to continue to follow regulations so that the healthcare system is not overwhelmed, she says.

“Let me say again, briefly, that Level Four does not mean the lockdown has ended. Stay in your home. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance from other people,” the minister says.

Level Three

Government will base a decision to move down to Level Three on various factors, such as the rate of new COVID-19 infections. When the virus spread is less and the healthcare system can cope with the spread, the lockdown will move to Level Three.

The regulations under Level Three include:

  • All workers will be allowed to return to work at factories. All workplaces must have COVID-19 prevention measures in place.
  • Alcohol sales will be permitted from Monday to Wednesday, between 8am and 12pm. You will only be allowed to buy alcohol to drink at home. Bars and shebeens will remain closed.
  • Restaurants will only be able to deliver orders.
  • More businesses will be allowed to open, allowing more workers to get back to work. These include employees in sectors such as vehicle manufacturing, construction, clothing, real estate and gardening.
  • Limited travel, including travel between provinces, will be allowed in some circumstances.
  • Laundry and dry-cleaning services will be permitted.

Level Two

A move down to Level Two will see more regulations eased, as the virus spreads at a low level and our healthcare system is fully prepared.

Level Two regulations include:

  • Manufacturing to be scaled up to 100 percent employment.
  • All retail will be permitted.
  • Business travel will be allowed.
  • Accommodation will be opened for business travellers.
  • Restaurants can open for takeaways and delivery.
  • Travel between provinces will be allowed.

Level One

Level One is the scenario that government is aiming for. This will only happen when there is minimal spread of the virus and if South Africans adhere to regulations in the higher lockdown levels.

Under Level One, most activities and businesses will be permitted, but COVID-19 prevention guidelines, such as social distancing and proper hygiene, will still have to be followed.

It is important for all South Africans to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 so that we can all return to work and see our country returning to normal.

 

Whales of False Bay

Several species of whale come into False Bay and can be seen in the vicinity of Simon’s Town. These include Bryde’s Whale, the Humpback Whale (which is the one that ‘sings’) and the Killer Whale, more commonly known as the Orca. By far the most common, however, is the Southern Right Whale.

Southern Right Whales

Scientific Name And Statistics

Scientific Name: Eubalaena Australis
[eu = Greek, right; balaena = Latin, whale; australis = Latin, south]
Family: Balaenidae
Statistics: Adult females, larger than the males, are on average 15 metres long and weigh about 40-45 tons, while the males are a little smaller at 14 metres.

Description

The term “right” whale refers to the fact that in the nineteenth century these whales were regarded as the “right” whales to catch, because they were particularly rich in oil, being slow swimmers they were easy to catch, and because their carcases were easy to handle as they floated when dead. It is usually considered that there are two species of “right” whales, one in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern hemisphere.

Southern right whales are baleen whales. This mean that they have about 200 to 270 pairs of fine ‘plates’ which hang down from the upper jaw like vertical venetian blinds, through which they filter their food [see under Diet]. These plates may be up to 3 metres (9.5 feet) long.

The most striking feature of the Southern Right whales are the ‘callosities’ (horny growths) behind the blowholes, and on the face. These provide homes for several other creatures, including the ‘whale lice’ or cyamids, which live on the callosities and operate in a symbiotic relationship with the whales, feeding off the dead skin. Barnacles burrow 4 cm down into the skin. The other characteristic which distinguishes the Southern Right whales are their V-shaped blows. Southern Right whales are black or dark grey in colour. They have no dorsal fin. They have a large, bow-shaped heads and arched mouths. Unusually, Southern Right whales are relatively hairy with up to 300 hairs on the tip of the lower jaw and about 100 on the upper jaw.

Southern Right whales can remain under water for about 6 minutes and swim fairly slowly at an average speed of 6 kilometres and hour when cruising, although than can reach 11 kilometres an hour in short bursts.

Although the humpback whales are the best “singers”, Southern Rights do produce low frequency sounds to communicate with one another.

The lifespan of the Southern Right whale is not established, but it is believed that they can live for over 50 years.

Range & Habitat 

The Southern Right Whale lives between latitudes 20° to 55°, occasionally venturing down to 63°. Although it is to be found throughout the southern oceans, in our part of the world it returns annually to the sheltered bays of the Southern African coast in order to breed and give birth. In False Bay it can be seen between June and November. It is most prolific close to the shore from about September, and it is occasionally seen out of season, as early as May or as late as January.

During the summer months the southern right whales move south to the cold and stormy waters of the Antarctic where it feeds.

Diet

As baleen whales, right whales swim with their mouths open so that the baleen plates can filter out the water and retain the krill forms a large part of their diet. They eat up to 1½ tons a day of these tiny creatures. They are seasonal feeders, eating in winter and living off their blubber in the breeding months in the north.

Reproduction

One female southern right whale will mate with a number of males at the same time, with sometimes as many as eight competing for her favour. The male producing the most sperm is probably the father of her baby. Females usually have one calf every three years.

The gestation period (pregnancy) of the southern right is twelve months, she bears her calf in the spring in the warmer waters of southern African bays. Usually only one calf is born although twins sometimes occur. About 3% of calves are born white, but this usually becomes grey after a few months. The calf is born tail first and immediately swims to the surface of the water to take its first breath. Initially it is helped by the mother but within thirty minutes of birth it can swim. The newborn calf is about 4,5 to 5 metres long.

The calf suckles from a pair of teats, sometimes consuming 600 litres of milk a day and growing 2,8 cm a day. It is weaned after about 6-8 months by which time it has reached about 9 metres in length.

Conservation

Southern right whales are regarded as an endangered species as their numbers have been considerably reduced in the last 200 years. Between 1790 and 1825 it is estimated that over 12 000 southern rights were killed by whalers of the South African coast. Now collisions with ships or entanglement in fishing gear are the main dangers. There are now about 4500 southern right whales, with about 1500 coming to southern Africa. However, southern rights are not as vulnerable as the northern rights which are believed to be close to extinction since they live in more hazardous waters. Moreover, southern rights are increasing in number, doubling in size every ten years, which means that they should have returned to their optimum population size in about 2040.

In 1980 and again in 1984 legislation was introduced in South Africa to protect whales. It is now illegal to shoot at whales, or harass them by coming closer than 300 metres in any craft.

Bryde’s Whales

Scientific Name And Statistics

Scientific Name: Balaenoptera Edeni
Family: Balaenidae
Statistics: Like other baleen whales, mature females are larger than the males, reaching about 14 metres in length, as opposed to the males of 13,5 metres.

Description

Bryde’s whales are distinguised by their prominent “falcate” dorsal fins. They are rorqual whales. This means that they have throat grooves which enable them to open their mouths very wide in order engulf great quantities of water when feeding. However, they are distinguished by three ridges running along the top jaw. The upper body is dark grey, lightening under the belly, becoming white in the centre. There is a slate-grey band across the underside of the body at the end of the throat grooves.

Range & Habitat

Bryde’s whales may be seen along the whole length of the South African coast at any time of the year. However, they are most visible when shoals of small fish are plentiful inshore or in False Bay.

Relatively little is known about Bryde’s whales. There seem to be two populations along the South African coast, one of which is “resident” (non-migratory) in inshore, shallow waters, including False Bay. They are usually seen singly although sometimes small groups from when they are feeding. They are not particularly fast swimmers, nor do they dive deeply, usually remaining under water for a only couple of minutes.

Diet

Bryde’s whales feed on large shoals of small fish like pilchards and sardines, in the company of gannets, penguins and dolphins. They zig-zag through the water on their sides, gulping food as they go.

Reproduction

Little is known of the reproduction of Bryde’s whales.

Conservation

Bryde’s whales have not been exploited much by whalers, and as a result, as far as we know, there has not been a serious depletion of their population.

Humpback Whales

Scientific Name And Statistics

Scientific Name: Megaptera Novaeangliae
[megaptera = huge wings, i.e. the fins]
Family: Balaenopteridae
Statistics: Adult females are larger than the males. Southern hemisphere Humpback whales are slightly smaller than those of the northern hemisphere, with females reaching 13,7 metres and males 13,1 metres. They weigh 30 to 50 tons.

Description

The Humpback whale is distinguished particularly by its very long flippers which are almost a third of its body length and is white in colour. The body is black, although it may have white patches, and is fairly short and round. It has a large head on which there are three irregular rows of knobs (tubercules). There are similar projections on each side of the lower jaw, at the tip of which there is a large, rough, wart-like area. Like the Bryde’s whales, they are rorqual whales with throat grooves running from the chin to the navel. The dorsal fin is fairly short and thick, set on the long, sloping hump which gives the whale its name. There are two blowholes.

The male humpback whale is particularly notable for the wide range of sounds it produces – moans and screams of varied pitch, lasting up to 30 minutes, and ranging from 20 to 9000 Hertz (females don’t sing!) These “songs” differ according to locality and the patterns appear to change from year to year, but seem to occur only in warm waters. It is believed that they are some form of communication.

Humpback whales are the acrobats of the ocean, “breaching” (jumping clear of the water) and “lobtailing” (slapping the water with their tails). They also “spyhop” (poke their heads out of the water). They usually occur singly or in small groups (pods). They remain submerged for about 15 minutes, diving to depths of 150 to 210 metres (500 to 700 feet). Their swimming speed is about 12 kilometres an hour (3 to 9 miles an hour), although speeds of up to 25 kilometres (15 to 16 miles) an hour have been recorded.

Range & Habitat

Humpback whales are to be found all round the Southern African coast but the two main pods are located off the Angolan and Mozambique coasts. They migrate north in the winter, to mate and breed, largely off the east African coast, with their numbers peaking in June and July.

Diet

Humpback whales, like other baleen whales, seem to be seasonal feeders but they do eat copepods and fish off the Angolan coast. On average a Humpback whale eats 2000-2500 kilograms of food a day during the feeding season. They co-operate in hunting, rounding up their prey in “bubble-nets”. A hunting pod forms a circle under water, then blows a wall of bubbles as it swims to the surface in a spiral path. This cylindrical wall of bubbles traps the prey which the humpbacks devour as they all (whales and prey) move to the surface.

Reproduction

Humpback whales form only temporary relationships. Females reach sexual maturity when they are about 15 years old and they bear a calf about every three years. The spectacular activities of the humpback whales, breaching and lobtailing, are believed to be courtship rituals. Gestation lasts about a year, with the female giving birth to a single calf, although twins do occur. The calves are about 4,2 metres long when they are born, and they are suckled for about 10 to 11 months. Humpback whales reach puberty after 4 to 7 years.

Conservation

Because they occur close to the coast and swim fairly slowly, humpback whales have suffered severely from modern whaling. It is estimated that there are about 10 000 to 15 000 whales throughout the world. In South Africa 1963 they received full protection and their numbers do now seem to be increasing.

Killer Whales (Orcas)

Scientific Name And Statistics

Scientific Name: Orcinus Orca
Type: Toothed Whale – Dolphin
Statistics: Unlike the other whales described here, Orca males are larger than the females, reaching a maximum length of 10 metres, while the females average about 7,5 metres.

Description

Orcas are the largest dolphins. They have a short, rounded head with a very short beak containing 10 to13 large conical teeth in each jaw. The flippers are broad and well-rounded at the tips. Their dorsal fins get larger as they grow older, and are their most distinguishing characteristic, sometimes reaching 2 metres high in mature males. They have broad flukes (tails) and the upper parts of their bodies are dark, black to brown, while the lower jaws and bellies are white. Behind the eyes there are oval white patches, and others behind the dorsal fins.

Like all dolphins, orcas produce whistling and clicking sounds. It is thought that the whistling is used for communication with other group members, and the clicks for ‘echolocating’ prey. The effect that the sounds have on other marine animals is dramatic, prompting whales and other dolphins to flee the area, and penguins and seals to head as quickly as they can for land.

Range & Habitat 

Orcas may be found the whole length of the South African coast, including False Bay, but their movements are unpredictable. Little is known of their migratory patterns.

Orcas sometimes form groups of up to 200 animals but in the South African waters they are usually in small groups of 3 or 4. They can attain speeds of up to 30 kilometres and hour and dive for up to 6 or 7 minutes.

Diet

Orcas have a varied diet, ranging from fish, squid, and sea birds to seals, dolphins and small whales. They have a fearsome reputation as killers and seals appear to have an inborn fear of them. Orca packs appear to disable their mammalian prey by biting the flippers or flukes and then attempt to get to the tongue, which they like particularly. One report claims that the remains of 14 seals and 13 porpoises were found in the stomach of one orca!

Despite their fearsome reputations, there are no records of orcas attacking man. In captivity they are docile and respond well to training.

Reproduction

In tropical waters orcas seem to mate and calve throughout the year, but in cooler waters these activities are confined to summer. The gestation period is about a year. Calves are about 2.3 metres long at birth and are suckled for about twelve months. Orcas reach sexual maturity at about 12 years of age, when they are about 5 metres long.

Conservation

It is not known how vulnerable orcas are, although it is suspected that they are endangered.

 

Source Credit: www.simonstown.com

WHERE TO FIND THE PENGUINS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Where to find them? – Ten islands and two mainland sites support the African penguin along the Western Cape coastline, and a further six islands in Algoa Bay in the Eastern Cape.

Seven of these support 80% of the world’s African penguin population. The most important in South Africa are Dassen Island, St Croix Island, Robben Island, Bird Island, Dyer Island and Boulders beach (technically not an island).

Did you know?An emperor penguin travelled 3 200 kilometres ending up on a beach in New Zealand, where he promptly swollowed a lot of sand, mistaking it for snow – he’s been nicknamed ‘Happy Feet’.

Namibia’s penguins are found in a group of islands and rocks along a 355 km stretch of coastline known as the Penguin Islands. Together they measure 2.35 square kilometres, the largest of which, Possession Island, is 0.90 km².

Mainland sites in South Africa include Stony Point, and Boulders Beach. Mainland colonies do well because the towns or human settlements function as barriers, keeping predators away from the penguins in much the same way as an island protects them.

Although for tourists these colonies allow a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the penguins in their natural habitat, endearing the diminutive waddlers to those passing through, living in such close proximity can bring its share of problems.

Betty’s Bay residents made news around the world, late in 2012, complaining about the ‘badly-behaved’ group of penguins who had taken advantage of a recently broken fence to wander into local gardens, braying all through the night and leaving numerous rather smelly calling cards in people’s gardens. Mainland penguin colonies then appear to be a safe haven for the African penguin, whose numbers have swelled in Betty’s Bay, despite their endangered status.

We recommend you visit Boulders Beach for the best viewing of the African Penguins.

Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town is a must for many reasons. It is tranquil, speckled with dramatic rounded boulders, lapped by the turquoise of the ocean, and home to scores of the endangered African penguin. In fact, it remains one of the most visited beaches in and around Cape Town, as visitors from all over the world come here to get up close to the cute and quirky birds.

The ancient granite boulders have been rounded by eons of wind and water erosion, giving them a romantic appeal. But, more than this, they provide excellent shelter from big waves or excessive wind. This makes the beach perfect for long, lazy days spent soaking up the sun. The waters here are still from the Indian Ocean, making them a tad warmer than those of the Atlantic Ocean just a little further on. So, Boulders Beach is ideal for little ones that prefer the warmer, calmer waters to tackling the waves.

But, the penguins are certainly the highlight of Boulders beach. And, to get the most out of seeing this massive colony (currently with a population of around 3 000 birds), there are three unobtrusive boardwalks as well as a penguin viewing area. From these, you can watch them play, swim, feed and care for their young. The African penguin was once called the jackass penguin because of the sound it makes (which sounds peculiarly like a donkey braying). Although they can be found all the way from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape to Namibia, they are most easily (and abundantly) seen here on Boulders Beach (and its neighbouring Foxy Beach).

Because Boulders is a sanctuary for the African penguin, it is crucial that all visitors respect it and care for it.

Simon’s Town is renowned as a naval base, and has a fascinating variety of boats in its harbour. More than this, it is quaint and charming, and a hotspot for excellent dining. It is less than an hour from Cape Town and the V & A Waterfront.

Source Credit: www.sa-venues.com

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