Fernkloof Flower Festival

This weekend sees the culmination of endless hours of work by a huge army of volunteers over a long period, as the Flower Festival takes place at Fernkloof.  It comprises a wonderful display of local flowers arranged around a mock-up depicting the post fire scene in the fynbos.  There are also hundreds of flower specimens and a photographic display depicting the flora which occur after a fire.

Outside the hall are many other attractions, with local environmental organisations manning stalls where visitors can learn more about various aspects of our natural heritage.

Elephant Walk

Eleven hikers walked the Elephant Path at Fernkloof this morning.  Our hike took us along Klipspringer and the Contour Path, up Elephant, along Rotary Way and down Kanonkop, a distance of 10 km.  We had perfect weather and the views from the top were magnificent, so that much time was spent looking rather than walking!

The show of Serrurias along the contour path was splendid, as was the burnt hillside on Kanonkop with its myriad of Geissorhiza ovata and Moraeas.  We were also privileged to see a pair of Klipspringers on top of the mountain!

Flower Picking

Spent the morning up on Rotary Way gathering specimens for the forthcoming Fernkloof Flower Festival and we were delighted to see the morning light across the Klein River Lagoon (which is now full to bursting point!).  The flowers in the burnt area were, once again, amazing.

Fernkloof Walk

Only seven walkers took part this morning in Fernkloof.  We had a very pleasant 4 kilometre stroll after which three members decided to stop and the rest of us carried on around and up Lemoenkop, adding another 3,3 kms.  Once again the weather was perfect and the flowers were in abundance.  It was interesting to note how the Geissorhiza ovata, which are so abundant on recently burnt south facing slopes, are completely absent on the north facing portions of the burnt area.  We also saw a number of the unusual Moraea lurida and many Gladiolus debilis.

A Walk in the Burn

An eight hour hike in the Fernkloof Reserve yesterday was a revelation.  The amount of regrowth after the summer fire is incredible and we saw many wonderful flowers.  As usual, the search for Orchids took centre stage and we were not disappointed.  We managed to find Disa fasciata, Disa cornuta, Disa cylindrica (?), Disa ophrydea, Disa obliqua, Disa pillansii, Holothrix cernua, Evotella carnosa and Satyrium lupulinum.

There were also many Moraea species as well as a good variety of others.  The common denominator was that most only occur after a fire, so are unlikely to be seen again for a while.

A pair of Klipspringers seemed unconcerned by our presence, although we were a fair distance away.  On the birding side, I was thrilled to see a pair of Sentinel Rock Thrushes, a pair of Verreaux’s Eagles and a Fish Eagle, whilst the call of the Grassbirds was constant.

The Panty Bar at Paternoster

Readers who saw my post on our trip to Kamieskroon and Paternoster may have wondered why the Panty Bar at the Paternoster Hotel is so named.  For those in the dark, I attach a picture of part of the ceiling – this should clear up any confusion!  Of course, some readers may claim to have worn these items – best you keep this information to yourself!


Walking at Vredehoek Farm

Keith and Debby led us on a wonderful walk at Vredehoek today in perfect weather.
The walk took us through cultivated fields of magnificent proteas and pincushions, many of them just ready for picking.
We also encountered many exciting wild flowers.
Debby generously provided us with a table of delicious food on our return after which we were given a tour of the packshed where the flowers are cut, stripped and packed for export.
We each left with a bouquet of beautiful fynbos!
Sandy asked me to publish this on behalf of the Hurriers, who walked at Vredehoek on Wednesday.

Flowers and Birds in Namaqualand

The arrival of Spring always brings memories of Namqualand’s fabulous flowers, so we once more hied off to Kamieskroon for a few days.  It was overcast and wet all the way there, but by Friday it had cleared and we set off up the Kamiesberg Pass and spent the day exploring little traveled roads to the north-east of the town.  Not only did we see good flowers, but there were many birds to record as well.  Next day was spent in and round Skilpad Reserve and then on to the Wildeperdehoek Pass, before heading back to the hotel at Kamieskroon.  On Sunday the temperature soared to 38 degrees and we got all but lost on farm tracks to the south-west of the town.  The flowers were wonderful and we saw many different species.

Next day saw us travelling south to Paternoster, where we stayed in the Paternoster Hotel, probably best known for its famous Panty Bar!  On the way we stopped to look for birds at Verloren Vlei, Rocher Pan and Velddrif.  We returned to Velddrif on Tuesday in a futile search for a Red Necked Phalarope, but sadly, we failed to find it!

We spent Wednesday in the West Coast NP where we visited all the bird hides and drove around Postberg to see the flowers.  Unfortunately, many had been trampled by the week end hordes, but the show was spectacular, nevertheless.

We managed to record 141 bird species, met some interesting people and renewed our ties with the area in which we spent many years whilst living in Kleinzee.