So few people understand that the Garden Route is called that because of nature’s garden – the beautiful fynbos and proteas growing in our area. I would like to share the feedback on a field trip by Di Turner and her group of nature enthusiasts:
“On Friday, the colours were washed clean and vivid. Usually the Camferskloof landscape in the northern Outeniquas is sombre from a distance. Close by of course, it is full of stunning surprises and is the home of many rare endemics. Legend has it, that a rainbow signals the end of the rain. Well, legend and the weather forecast had it wrong, not for the first time. Persistent showers of rain swept over us, as we slogged up the slippery firebreak through Metalasia acuta (Horribilis maximus) and Hakea to reach the top of the ridge. Rain-laden Restios and Fynbos had us wet to the waist and waterproof boots became a liability. They filled with water that couldn’t escape, as we squelched along in the sodden fynbos.
We were in time for a spectacular showing from the gorgeous little Disa arida (Jan’s Disa or the Purple Spitfire – Endangered)) . We counted about 80 plants going up, traversing and descending the steep ridge. Rafnia vlokii (Jan’s Widowpea – Vulnerable ) was flowering, although the rain had soaked the flowers, causing them to look a little the worse for wear. Erica vlokii (Jan’s Heath- Endangered) was over, but the combination of russet and bright green was very attractive. They were all over the steep Fynbos-clad slopes. Psoralea diturnerae (Di’s Fountainbush – Endangered) was in flower on the lower slopes and Metalasia pulcherrima forma pallescens (Paleface Blombos) was all over the place. Protea lorifolia (Old Donkey Ears) in shades of cream to dark pink with its dark maroon centre was too beautiful. The lime-green yellow of the Leucadendron salignum (Common Sunshine Conebush) was dotted all over the slopes. Always stunning, raindrops added another dimension to the cream of Brunia noduliflora (Kolkol).
There were plenty of the usual suspects and the Hakea, Wattle and Pine need to be cleared from this valley. The presence of large numbers of aliens on Burnsleigh doesn’t help. The SAB Hop Farms need to address this. The Pine seed plantation should be removed as a matter of urgency. It has no place in one of the most precious Fynbos sanctuaries in the Southern Cape. Yes I know. You’ve heard this all before. However, I will continue to say it until something is done about these problems.
Zandile and Patrick of Cape Nature joined us for this field trip. Unfortunately Patrick had to leave halfway through, because his little boy was ill. Hopefully he has fully recovered by this time. We very much enjoyed having them with us and are hoping to try and find Zandile a job. He is currently working as a volunteer with Cape Nature and coming on field trips with us. He has a B. tech and did his practical at Gamkaberg, where I met him for the first time and was very impressed. We will be contacting Saasveld, Eden to Addo, the Garden Route Botanical Gardens and Ismail of CREW, to see what we can find. It is very upsetting when youngsters who have made the effort to educate themselves are unable to get jobs. We can’t change this for most, but we hope to change it for one young man. So please, if you know of a position that might suit him, please let me know.
The warmth of Bobby and Ria’s Pizza place ( Waboomskloof) beckoned on the way home. After some delicious grub we made our way back to George. The Outeniqua Pass was spectacular, with waterfalls cascading down steep rocky slopes into the rivers below. In the photographs, I have tried to give you an idea of the beauty of the day.”