This morning eight keen botanists and nature geeks ventured up the ZigZag above Voelklip. As we arrived at the start of the Jeep Track, we were met by Frank, who had left before us. A welcome stop for a drink gave us the opportunity to watch a pair of Cape Rockjumpers on the outcrops close by. It was a great sight and they displayed beautifully.
Our stroll along the Jeep Track towards the Vogelgat boundary took us through what Sandy called ‘The Elysian Fields’, an area dominated by Leucadendrons and Restios. Between these were many small and interesting plants that called for many stops and much discussion and fossicking* about! The track back westwards from the boundary took us to the site of a previously visited patch of rare and endangered Mimetes capitulatus, but we failed to find them. This caused some consternation – had they died or had they been removed by some plant thief? Our GPS told us we were at exactly the right spot.
Disappointed, we pressed on, once more spellbound by the many different species on display. One of our objectives was, as usual, to find Orchids, and, whilst we realised that this was a hard ask, given that the last fire was three years ago, we still managed to identify 6 species as well as seeing some which were too small for positive IDs.
Wildlife was also observed, from insects to birds and a lucky sighting of a young Berg Adder and a lone Klipspringer. It was a memorable morning and we had covered no less than 10.5 km by the time we arrived at the Fernkloof Visitors’ Centre at the end of our adventure.
* Fossicking – hunting around – apparently South Africans are not familiar with the term, but Australians certainly are!