Our day started with a visit to the Barrydale Information Centre, where we hoped to get directions to a nature reserve in the area. There wasn’t one there, but the very helpful lady in the office contacted the local conservation officer who gave us permission to visit a portion of the mountain which had been burned in the pass. This was great news, but there was more to come.
She put us in touch with Hildegard Crous, who propagates wild orchids in her own laboratory in Barrydale, so we set off to visit her. This turned out to be a great move as she is doing fantastic work and had a number of interesting specimens at hand. She was very happy to show us around and we were very impressed with her knowledge and hospitality. Years of patient work are starting to pay off and we saw the results of her dedication in the form of beautiful specimens of Disa barbata and Bartholina etheliae. She also showed us a couple of really spectacular Pelargoniums that she had grown.
We then proceeded to the Tradouw Pass again and this time into the burnt section of the mountain, where we immediately started to find Orchids. We managed to identify Pterygodium acutifolium, Ceratandra atrata, Disa bivalvata and Disa reticulata, Evotella carnosum, Satyrium stenopetalum and Satyrium acuminatum. It was wonderful to be back amongst our favourite flowers!
There were, of course, many other wonderful species to see and we were well pleased with our day, and the entire Barrydale experience. We had met some wonderful people and had achieved around 12 different orchid species, albeit that a few were well past their prime. We also identified 58 bird species in the area.