A Walk to Sculptured Corner

Eleven people set out to Sculptured Corner this morning, led by Piet.  It was overcast and cool – ideal for walking – but by the time we reached our destination, we were well onto the clouds.  A stop for snacks at Galpin Hut revived us for our return via Kanonkop.  As usual we were all wowed by the scenery, even if there were times when we could see nothing.  On the last stretch to the Visitors’ Centre we saw no less than six tortoises in the path!  We walked 11 km and climbed 500m.

Aasvoelkop (Afrikaans for Vulture Peak)

There were seven walkers who ventured up the steep track to Aasvoelkop in search of rare plants on Friday.  It was a climb of 800 m and the round trip measured c. 15 km, so we were pretty tired by the time we got down, however, it was well worth it as we saw many interesting plants and the views were wonderful once the cloud cleared from the top.  It really is amazing to walk with such knowledgeable botanists and we marveled at their enthusiasm for detail.  I do not pretend to know the names of many of the orchids we saw, but they make a spectacular display as can be seen from the images below.

 

A walk at Gabrielskloof

Liz arranged a walk at Gabrielskloof and, since it included a lunch there, managed to get no less than 19 takers.  This all goes to show that we are led by our stomachs!!

Nicolene was on hand to lead us and proved to be an excellent guide with her good knowledge of the farm and it’s viticulture.  We walked through carefully nurtured vineyards and marveled at the harsh rocky soils that are favoured to bring out the best characteristics of the vines.  We also traversed a high ridge where we meandered through the local fynbos which is so different to that which grows around Hermanus.  We were therefore not well versed with many of the plants and identification was something of a problem.

At last, the Black Orchid

Renee and I went searching for orchids in the Vogelgat Reserve this morning and were rewarded with both the Blue (Disa purpurescens) and the Black (Acrolophia ustulata) Orchids.  Needless to say we would not have found the latter without careful directions by Giorgio, as they are really small and very shy.

Vogelgat was a sight to behold, with many blooms in evidence and I attach a few photos for my readers.

Blown Away

Six of us set out on the Zig-Zag path up to the back slopes of Mosselberg in search of the elusive Black Orchid or Acrolophia ustulata.  We did not find it but saw many Satyrium stenopetalum and an occasional Disa cylindrica and Ceratandra atrata.

The main feature of the morning, however, was the gale force wind which nearly had us off our feet at times.  I reckon it must have been gusting at around 100 km per hour and we really had to brace ourselves to remain upright!  It also made for a cold outing, so it was surprising to note how warm it became on the way down when we got out of the wind.

Hunting Orchids at Elandskloof

Twelve keen explorers set out for Elandskloof this morning to meet Basie Steyn who had kindly volunteered to show us some orchids on the property which he manages. He was a wonderful host and went out of his way to tell us all about the history of the farm and take us up into the mountains to see the flowers.  We certainly saw many orchids and the botanists in our midst were very excited at all the different species available.  Not only were there orchids, but many other fynbos varieties and I have tried to show some of them below.  Hopefully my readers will be able to identify them for me!