We got our Feet Wet

We got our feet Wet
Outramps CREW Diaries
12th March 2019.

‘So wyd soos die Heer se genade’
24-26 Feb 2019

It is bitterly dry at Matjiesvlei and the plants look dreadful. The valley is close to Calitzdorp at the foot of the Swartberg on the Gamka River. Matjiesvlei is surrounded by folds in the earth. Hills, valleys, Swartberg foothills and the Swartberg itself create changing depths of shifting shadows every bit of the day. It is too beautiful.

But for shallow water in an elbow of the river, it is dry. Karoo bossies and shrubs are bare sticks, barely recognisable, such as Polygala myrtifolia var. pinifolia and Carissa haematocarpa. The succulents are just holding on: Euphorbia radyeri, E. heptagona, the Aloes, species in the Crassula family and an abundance of Spekboom (Portulacaria afra). The leaves of the succulents are wrinkly, shrivelled up and every shade of pink to dark red, even purple. It indicates intense stress. Nothing is plump here, except for the farmyard chickens. The little plants which usually rely on the cover of nanny bushes look desolate - Gasteria brachyphylla, Haworthia viscosa and Adromischus triflorus. There are no leafy, herbaceous plants to be seen.

Up Steering se Kloof, the characterful trees of Olienhout (Olea europaea subsp. africana), Doppruim (Pappea capensis,) Basterolien (Buddleja saligna), Sandolien (Dodonaea angustifolia) look dead or close to it. The spring higher up has run dry. Here in the streambed is a very tall tree in an unlikely place – so wraggies – it is Leucadendron eucalyptifolium! One of the two populations of the new Aspalathus, A. outrampsii, looks good. The silvery branches of the small trees droop down, just the tips loop up again, making little hooks. So cool!

Views higher up along the circular trail shift from spectacular to spectacular-spectacular. The drought-strained Gonnabosse (Passerina sp.) are tinged an attractive mustard yellow. When asked, Jan Vlok said they are unlikely to survive. Though the scattered Klipnoors (Euphorbia tetragona) is looking fair, many of the plants died for some reason and left patches of dark grey Euphorbia mulch. Another surprise. A veritable fountain of fresh-green leaves sprout from a splitting rock. It is a lush and scented, flowering Dioscorea elephantipes. The various Aloe species (A. speciosa, perfoliata, microstigma) seem to prefer landscape niches, but confident Aloe ferox tends to transgress here and there. All the younger and stemless aloes have curled into little balls of crimson - a fierce inwards bracing to survive.

By now I think – is there a word for ‘droughter than drought’? Near the river and stream, the Soetdoring (Vachellia karroo) is flowering ever so slightly. The dense upright, branches of large Nerium oleander on the riverbank are impenetrable. It is a nasty invader, listed as such and dwarfed by the tall Spaanse riet (Arundo donax), another invasive plant.

It is never about plants only and there are no words to describe the Karoo landscapes and the majesty of the Swartberg mountain range. Night time and it is cool outside. Around me the dry Klein Karoo is stripping down to a blank canvas. I feel drawn into the infinity of a pure night sky. A human in an infinitesimally small speck of time. In a state of grace.


We got our Feet wet
6th March 2019
It was that time of the year again, as Summer starts to fade into early Autumn. The annual WAGS Strawberry Hilll Fern Trail hike, combined with Kaaimans Gorge and a festive party afterwards can be difficult to schedule. The weather must be hot for the Gorge with very little wind and not too late in the year. The four river crossings on the Fern Trail are better done when the rivers aren't running high. The weather was perfect for the gorge at around 30 degrees, but the hikers on the Fern Trail got their feet wet.

A party of 13 arrived to do the Fern Trail. The forest is looking gorgeous and doesn't show the stress that drought is causing in the open vegetation. The Ferns along the track are looking particularly luxurious, with the huge Ptisana fraxinea causing lots of comment. A couple of hardy souls had a swim at the Point to find that the water coming off Melville Peak into the Silver River is on the chilly side. After a leisurely walk, we returned to the main house on Strawberry Hill. Shortly afterwards the adventurous Gorgers arrived back, reporting that everything had gone "swimmingly".(Oh dear, Di! - ED)

We had a simply wonderful party afterwards, with sumptuous eats and drinks. It was loads of fun.


Kaaimans Gorge with WAGS
A great river trip (despite it being a tough event) for a hot summer’s day. On the day, we were exceptionally lucky - relatively warm water, a hot day, low wind speeds, while the cold sea mist on the beach luckily decided not to hunt us down.

This trip for me has become almost an annual event. Wonderful scenery, as the river winds its way down to the sea and gradually narrows down to enter the gorge. At this point the river cascades and swirls over large boulders and blocks,requiring some negotiation and slipping on our part.

Around the next corner as the gorge deepens, it is all quite different. Here the river turns into long, dark, silent pools. There are 3 of these long, extended pools. What an atmosphere, as we undertake some sustained swimming to make progress through the dark water. Far above us only a narrow section of blue sky is visible. Typically, this Garden Route river is “Pepsi” coloured. Thereafter we were glad to have some sunshine again - some further wading and finally a last long swim in the Kaaimans Lagoon.

The vegetation - well not very easy to see what plants are hanging from high above while swimming! Some good indigenous forest growth along the way, as well as numerous small trees of the unwanted varieties, both Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii) and Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) in the riverbeds. At least these aliens are absent in the steep sections of the gorge – but re-appear as soon as there are some riverbeds and more sunshine on the lower section. It is very infested in the area below the Map of Africa viewpoint.

Some of the flowers we saw, although these were scarce - Bobartia aphylla; Chasmanthe aethiopica; Erica discolor subsp. discolor and Erica gracilis in sunny patches, while numerous Lobelia cushions enjoyed the cool moist areas - mostly Lobelia pubescens; Lobelia erinus and Lobelia flaccida.


The Quarry - Mossel Bay area
The idea of checking out a quarry seemed depressing to some, but we set out anyway, wondering if we would find many things in flower, as recent high temperatures and lack of rain has been a factor.

After a few hiccups finding the property that we'd arranged to visit, we were taken around and shown the exact scope of the works. I must say I was amazed at the level of dedication given to preserving the portion determined as hands-off by their EMP (which stands not for electromagnetic pulse but for environmental management plan). It was our first trip together with Corné Brink, the intern this year at the Garden Route Botanical Garden.

The quarry manager left us to our own devices and after wandering around for about an hour, we found a few things in flower, such as Indigofera sp, a creeping Prismatocarpus sp., Metalasia sp. and a very small mystery four-petaled plant which is going to take ages to determine properly (at least we have herbarium specimens). A small hairy Erica sp. was also in flower, but Acrolophia cochlearis was not.

Towards midday, after finding nothing spectacular, we heard a joyful squeal from Corné, who had chanced upon a spectacular find, Tulista kingiana (EN). We were blown away by the healthy population in full flower, while all else was wilting with the low rainfall the area has received. These plants were perfectly stunning, showing no water-stress whatsoever. There were quite a few juveniles indicating good pollination of the flowers with seed recruitment at good levels. While counting the plants we also found Trichodiadema occidentale (VU; not in flower). This is the eastern-most distribution so far for this taxon.

It is always great going to a new place with some nice new finds.


A Stairway to Paradise
The forecasts for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all talking "Heavy Rain". In anticipation of "Cabin Fever", Bill and I went off to Goukamma to check on Gladiolus vaginatus (Vulnerable) on Thursday. The conditions weren't ideal, as the mercury rose to the early 30's and there wasn't much of a breeze. The track from Groenvlei to the top of the Dune is strenuous, but stairs made out of poles interlinked with wire create a stairway that makes the slog a little easier. And this stairway does indeed lead to Paradise - Goukamma is one of my favourite places on earth with spectacular views in all directions.

We were on the late side for the magnificent, scarlet Brunsvigia orientalis (Candelabra Flower) and a lot were going over. But there were still plenty to wonder at and photograph. Gladiolus vaginatus (Vulnerable) was elusive and we only saw 3 of these stunning plants all day. The lilac/purple of Selago burchellii (Vulnerable) was sparsely scattered across the Reserve. Disparago anomala was the most common flowering plant on the day and Pteronia uncinata was just going over on the steep south-facing hill looking out to the ocean. Goukamma is the only place that I've ever seen this plant and that in only 1 location on the Reserve. Erica glandulosa subsp. fourcadei (Vulnerable) is still recovering post-burn, but a number of the plants were in flower.

Generally the vegetation is showing signs of stress from lack of water. The Afro-temperate forest on the edge of Groenvlei is looking decidedly the worse for wear, with many of the under-storey plants wilting. There is significant work being done on the trails, with steps being repaired and bush-cutting taking place. Hopefully that means that the trails will soon be open to the public at large.

It turned out to be a very hot day and the Ancients took some strain. But it was gratifying to see the cold front approaching from the sea and by the time we reached the car, the first drops of rain had fallen. Widespread rain is forecast for the next couple of days. Let's hope that the forecasts have got it right this time.


New local information on how to combat the

Polyphagous Shothole Borer Beetle

Thursday 14 March at 18h00

Venue Glenwood Lodge, Glenwood Avenue

The PSHB beetle (Polyphagous shothole borer) is only the size of a sesame seed but along with its fungus partner is proving to be an international challenge. Recently Prof. Wilhelm de Beer of the University of Pretoria visited George. Two other universities, Stellenbosch and Grahamstown (Rhodes) are working together with the University of Pretoria. An information session was held on 21 February at Glenwood Lodge.

Unfortunately notification in the local press was at extremely short notice.


www.georgeherald.com/News/Article/General/bome-vrek-op-n-streep-201902210814 )

At the request of WESSA Eden and in the interest of reaching a wider public, Glenwood Lodge along with the Glenwood Conservancy have kindly offered interested parties the opportunity of a workshop that will summarise the finding of previous workshops. Hear first-hand the evidence of successful treatment through a combination of fertilisation, irrigation and treatment with fungicides and herbicides. The effectiveness will be discussed and demonstrated.

Please note that there is currently no registered or officially recommended treatment for this very destructive beetle, but since some success has been noted here, come to this workshop and find out more for yourself.

If you think you may have infected trees the Conservancy members will happily help with identification.More information

Jodi 083 632 2201 or

Adri Joubert 083 2777 677

Please RSVP to admin@glenwoodlodge.co.za

BotSoc to diarise!

The Botanical Society of SA is reconvening a Garden Route Branch. Do attend the AGM Saturday 16th March at the Garden Route Botanical Garden, Caledon St, George, Registration 10h00, meeting at 10h30.

Field Trips
Once again, a busy week lies ahead. On Tuesday, Ismail, Gigi and Joti will be coming up to George for our annual planning meeting and field trip. Ismail is the CREW Co-Ordinator for the Cape Floral Kingdom. He will no doubt present us with an impossible list of target plants to find. The meeting will be followed by supper and a field trip on Wednesday to check on Disa arida (Endangered) at Camferskloof.

On Thursday LOT will be visiting the Barnard's Farm in the Langkloof and on Friday SIM will be checking on the St Blaize Trail at Mossel Bay. Just maybe, the weekend rain will have given the plants a hupstoot.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

All id’s subject to confirmation by Doc Annelise and Jan Vlok, Steven Molteno, Dr Tony Rebelo, Nick Helme, Prof Charlie Stirton, Dr Robert Archer, Dr Robert McKenzie, Dr Ted Oliver, Dr Christopher Whitehouse, Adriaan Grobler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans, Malthinus and Mattmatt on iNat. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Outramps Places on iNaturalist – You can browse through the observations or refer to the checklist which is in alphabetical order eg. Animals, birds etc.
Area covered by Southern Cape Herbarium - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/southern-cape-aoi
Cola Conservancy - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/cola-conservancy
Dune Molerat Trail - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/dune-molerat-trails
Featherbed Nature Reserve - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/featherbed-nature-reserve
Gamkaberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gamkaberg
Gerickes Punt - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gerickes-punt#/places/gerickes-punt
Gouriqua - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gouriqua-private-nature-reserve
Gouritzmond - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/the-gouritsmond-commonage
Heaven in the Langkloof - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/heaven-in-the-langkloof
Herolds Bay - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-herolds-bay
Kammanassie - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kammanassie-reserve
Klein Swartberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/klein-swartberg
Knysna - Westford Bridge https://www.inaturalist.org/places/westford-bridge-estate-knysna
Kouga Mountains Kliphuis - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kouga-mountains
Kranshoek - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kranshoek-
Langeberg Grootvadersbosch - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/grootvadersbosch-nature-reserve
Masons Rust - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/masons-rust-32-ptn-4-gezwinds-kraal-41-ptn-0
Mons Ruber and surrounds - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/mons-ruber-and-surrounds
Mossel Bay Aalwyndal - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/aalwyndal
Mossel Bay Diosma Reserve - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/diosma-reserve
Mossel Bay - :https://www.inaturalist.org/places/hartenbos-heuwels

Mossel Bay - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-14072
Mossel Bay - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-19201
Mossel Bay St Blaize Trail - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/st-blaize-trail
Natures Valley - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/nature-s-valley-south-cape-south-africa
Outeniquas Bobbejaanberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-bobbejanberg-in-the-outeniquas
Outeniquas Camferskloof - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-camferskloof
Outeniquas, Collinshoek and the Big Tree - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outenoquas-collinshoek-and-the-big-tree
Outeniquas - Cradock and George Peak Trail - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/cradock-peak-trail
Outeniquas Doringrivier East - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-doringrivier-east-in-the-outeniquas
Outeniquas East - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-eastern-outeniquas-from-bergplaas-to-gouna
Outeniquas Eseljagt - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/ezeljagt-eseljagt-and-surrounds
Outeniquas Eseljagtpoort - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/ezeljagts-poort-72-ptn-0-eseljagt-poort
Outeniquas Flanagans Rock - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/flanagans-rock-rsa
Outeniquas Lange Berg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/lange-berg-112
Outeniquas Montagu Pass North - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-montagu-pass-north
Outeniquas Paardekop - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/paardekop-13
Outeniquas Paardepoort East - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-east
Outeniquas Paardepoort West - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-wes
Outeniquas Pizza Ridge - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-pizza-ridge
Outeniquas Southern Traverse - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-outeniqua-southern-traverse
Robberg Corridor - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/robberg-coastal-corridor-krans-hoek-432-ptn-5
Robberg Corridor - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/robberg-coastal-corridor-e8267c6b-9263-4a87-a721-a24619be6dc8
Rooiberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-rooiberg-reserve
Spioenkop - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/ruigtevlei-plantations
Strawberry Hill - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/strawberry-hill-7-passes-road-wilderness-south-africa
Swartberg Spitskop - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-spitskop-to-meiringspoort-swartberg
Swartberg, Swartberg Pass to Bothashoek high and low - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/swartberg-pass-to-bothashoek-jeep-track-and-crag-route
Swartberg Waboomsberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/waboomsberg-in-the-swartberg
Uitzicht Portion 39 - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-portion-39
Uitzicht - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-ptn-65
Western Head - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/walker-s-point-215-portion-1-buffalo-bay
Western Head – https://www.inaturalist.org/places/walker-s-point-215-portion-2-buffalo-bay
Western Head - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/walker-s-point-215-portion-3-buffalo-bay
Western Head - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/western-head-knysna
White Heather - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/white-heather
Wilderness Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail – https://www.inaturalist.org/places/brown-hooded-kingfisher-trail
Wilderness Kingfisher Trail - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/kingfisher-trails
Witteberg Kromme Rivier - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/kromme-rivier-72-ptn-0-willowmore

Outramps CREW Stellenbosch HAT node
Jonkershoek created by Vynbos - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/jonkershoek-cv
Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/mont-rochelle-nature-reserve
Papegaaiberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/papegaaiberg

Outramps Projects on iNaturalist
Ericas of the Southern Cape - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/ericas-of-the-southern-cape
Fungi of the Southern Cape - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/fungi-of-the-southern-cape
Lianes and Creepers in the Southern Cape and Little Karoo - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/lianes-and-creepers-of-the-southern-cape-and-little-karoo
Veg Types of South Africa - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/vegetation-types-of-south-africa

Flowers of the High Drakensberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/flowers-of-the-high-kzn-drakensberg

Abbreviations Glossary
MCSA – Mountain Club of South Africa
MSB - Millenium Seed Bank based at Kew in the UK
WIP – Work in Progress
HAT – High Altitude Team
LOT – Lowland Team
SIM – Somewhere in the Middle Team
WAGS – Wednesday Adventure Group
VB – Vlok Boekie “Plants of the Klein Karoo” and our Plant Bible
ITRTOL – Another thread “In The Rich Tapestry Of Life”(It describes a challenging situation, usually to do with the Buchu Bus)
ITFOT – In the fullness of time
WOESS – Fair Weather Hiker
FMC and JW – too vulgar to translate, but the equivalent is “Strike me Dead” - An expression of surprise and delight on finding a new “Rare”
Kambro – same as above
Fossick – A meter per minute, scratching around looking for rares
SIDB – Skrop in die Bos – Another name for a field trip, this one coined by Prix
BAFFING – Running round like a blue-arsed fly
SYT – Sweet Young Thing - Anyone under the age of 40
TOMB – Get a move on
Mayhem - Needless or willful damage or violence
SESKRYNG – “Sit en staan kry niks gedaan” ,with thanks to Brian
SOS – Skelms on Scramblers
FW – Idiot
BOB – Another name for the Buchu Bus when she’s misbehaving.
CRAFT – A symptom of Old Age
DDD - Metalasia tricolor (Damned Diabolical Daisy)
VP – Vrekplek – Retirement Village
Qàq – Self-explanatory Inuit word describing some of our local problems
Mr Fab – Our Fabaceae specialist, Brian Du Preez – originally Boy 1
Muisvoel -The Mathematician – Peter Thompson
Boy 2 – Kyle Underwood who works on Orchids and is still at school
Sharkie – Finn Rautenbach – Our latest SYT is a surfer in his spare time and is now the Curator of the Garden Route Botanical Garden
Sicko – Someone who suffers from Car Sickness. With 4 in the Group, allocating seating in the Buchu Bus is tricky
VAG – Virgin Active Garage, which is our meeting place when we head north
MATMUE – Meet At The Mall Under E - Meeting place when we head West
WG – Waves Garage in Wilderness East. - Meeting place when we’re going east.
VU- Vulnerable
DDT – Data Deficient and Taxonomically ?
NT – Near Threatened
EN – Endangered
CR – Critically Endangered
PE – Presumed extinct
LC – Least Concern
TBC – To be Confirmed
TLC – Tender loving care
JMS – An expression of absolute disdain
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
Milk – the fruit of the vine
Condensed Milk – Scotland’s finest export
Full Cream Milk or Fat Milk – Any product of Humulus lupulus eg. Milk Stout
Milk of the Gods – Rooibos and Brandy
Milk Shake - Sparkling Wine
NS – Species of conservation concern new to the Outramps
PS -Priority Species allocated to the Outramps by our CREW Cape Co-ordinator , Ismail Ebrahim
iNatFD – iNaturalist for Dummies as compiled by Sally
Mizzle – Mist and drizzle combined. A regular feature of George in the ”good old days”.
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire
Squirrel – aka President Ramaphosa
WOG – Wrath of God – eg. incurred when you put a young Pine tree on iNat as Leucadendron album
Skedonk - A banger - old, battered motor car more than 30 years old
Hoedown - redneck gathering, usually involves shouting catchy phrases like "yee-haw" and "the south will rise again"
VHF - Vat Hom Fluffie - our nickname for furry or woolly plants
SA - Stay Attractive is Google's translation of "Mooi Bly"
OTL - Out To Lunch is used to describe the Buchu Bus when she's taking a break after she's behaved badly
DFKIAA - A very funny video in Afrikaans is doing the rounds. It refers to the current power outages.

Publicado por outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, 12 de marzo de 2019


No hay comentarios todavía.

Agregar un comentario

Acceder o Crear una cuenta para agregar comentarios.