The Fernkloof Flower Show is currently running at the Fernkloof Reserve at Hermanus, South Africa. Put on by the local Botanical Society, it displays some of the many beautiful flowers that grow in our region. There are also specimen displays where interested viewers can learn about what they are seeing and so become better at identifying plants in the wild. This is a show not to be missed.
We had the privilege of living in Australia for three years in the late Nineties. What always struck me about the topography of that vast land was the lack thereof. How sad to have access to so much territory, but be denied the opportunity to see mountains.
Back in Southern Africa, I look around and topography looms at me on all sides and I realise how lucky we are in this wonderful country. Whenever the more mundane aspects of life get one down, one can inevitably go and sit on a mountain and forget most of one’s problems fairly quickly.
A walk through the veld in the early morning in Namaqualand, South Africa, and taking the trouble to get down close to the ground and see the dew on the tiny plants that are everywhere is like entering a new world. I do not know what the plants are, but am content to marvel at them and enjoy their wonderful earthy colours and forms. I hope that you will appreciate them as much as I do.
Only six hikers visited Flower Farm this morning. For me, it was my first walk with the group since the end of June and I was glad to be back. The weather was clear, but windy ahead of an approaching cold front.
We did the 7 km walk that took us over the mountain and down into the Stinkhout forest, where we availed ourselves of the picnic facilities to have our snacks, but only after we had negotiated what was a veritable obstacle course through the fallen trees!
The flowers were wonderful and we saw many interesting plants in addition to the usual Leucodendrons and Leucospermums that characterise the local hillslopes. Hopefully the names given to those shown below are not too far off the mark.
Our last stop on our arid parks trip was at the Tankwa-Karoo NP, where we were again with our group from Skikpad, this time staying in the beautiful Elandsberg cottages in the north of the park. We could not wait to travel south to see the daisy fields that had so impressed us in 2013, but were amazed to see not one single flower in the area. It was that dry!! A trip up the Ganagga pass, however, restored our faith in the area and we were rewarded with many beautiful scenes and interesting plants, some of which are shown below. Bird life was also good along the pass, with many sunbirds and even a rare Fairy Flycatcher.
After our visit to the Richtersveld, we travelled south to meet up with six friends for a three night stop-over in the Namaqualand NP, where we stayed in the four well equipped and comfortable cottages at Skilpad. The flowers were magnificent with fields of daisies, whilst other interesting species hid within the scrub. Sandy was in her element and found a number of lifers. Renee and I, on the other hand, were more interested in birds and managed to add a couple of lifers to our list, whilst also seeing many other species.
Hopefully the images below will capture some of the feeling of the area.