Here we go again

Here we go again
Outramps CREW Diaries
15th January 2019

Here is the Album - 15th January 2019
For captions or info click on i on the top right-hand side. A good way to go - the Slideshow is found at the top of the page on the rt hand side by clicking on the 3 dots. Featured this week – Out of Africa, Outramps celebrate, Spioenkop contd, HAT and Blesberg, Jan says (Robinson Pass), Montagu Pass North and Montagu Rail

For names and captions of the photos used on this version of the Reportback - see the Album.

"Ring out the false, ring in the true."
Alfred Lord Tennyson
The year ahead shows promise for South Africa, as more and more moves are made to right the wrongs of the past. It is up to all of us to put our shoulders to the wheel in whatever way we can. Let our daily dealings with our fellow-citizens build towards a better future together, so that we can once again be truly called the Rainbow Nation.

The Outramps CREW Group will continue their work of finding, monitoring and cataloguing the Rare and Endangered plants in the Southern Cape and elsewhere. Fossicking in the Lowlands, exploring the middle slopes and scaling the highest mountains in search of new and threatened plants will be our mission for 2019. We will also endeavour to introduce our wonderful flora to young people from all sections of society and imbue them with passion and enthusiasm for our unique floral heritage. We are looking forward to a very exciting year.

Here we go again!

The Outramps Celebrate
It was party-time with a vengeance in early December. We were celebrating a successful Outramps year, a 2018 full of wonderful hikes with WAGS and my 80th birthday with all-comers. Some of my highlights were
• a magnificent Icecream cake with candles
• a cake shaped like Waboomsberg
• 2 beautiful bouquets of flowers
• 8 spectacular btls of wine - 1 for every decade
• And a very elegant hiking shirt (far too elegant for hikes)
I had a simply wonderful birthday with my very good friends.
So thank you, thank you, thank you!


Spioenkop contd
We were thin on the ground in early December, as the demands of the festive season were already apparent. Jen and I arrived at Spioenkop in the Ruigtevlei plantations to complete our post-burn monitoring of the area for 2018. The only unexplored section was the north-western corner of the property.

After showing Jen the Dioscorea burchellii (Vulnerable) near the big Bluegums where we park, we turned north. There was much excitement generated by some plants on a west-facing bank. We saw the stunning little Convolvulus sagittatus for the first time (I think) and there was a strange little Berkheya, which was new to us. Even iNat hasn't been able to come up with an id. In the same section Hilliardiella sp. was growing vigorously. I think this is an Eastern Cape import and we've only seen it at Cloetes Pass before now.

We saved the best for last. On our way back to the vehicle, a single Aspalathus bowieana (Endangered) was in full flower. There wasn't another plant in sight Altogether a rewarding and very pleasant day. Thank you Heine for allowing us to access the Ruigtevlei plantations.


Jan says
"The Robinson Pass is full of Orchids. Well worth a visit!"
When Jan Vlok talks the Outramps listen. Over the years, he has been our mentor and our hero and has given us innumerable id's and lots of pointers to interesting destinations.

We were not disappointed. There were fields of white, lime-green and bright yellow Orchids. Lanaria lanata was striking in white. Wachendorfia paniculata was ubiquitous and its pale yellow flowers were in startling contrast to the magenta of the profusely flowering Corymbium glabrum and africanum. In the drainage lines Wachendorfia thyrsiflora joined Moraea ramosissima in a magnificent display of yellow and gold. Vivid blue Aristea africana and the tall Aristea bakeri added cool tones to the brilliant colours of the landscape. There was also a stunning golden grass covering sections of the south-facing slopes. The resprouting Mimetes cucullatus was in full flower and proved irresistible to the photographers in the Group.

A little lower down on the southern side of the Pass, we stopped again. This time a massed display of the stunning Cyrtanthus elatus (George Lily) was the star attraction. Growing in amongst this gorgeous Amaryllis was a pale lilac version of Watsonia knysnana.

What a day! Baie dankie Jan

Some of the Orchids seen
Disa bivalvata
Disa racemosa
Disa cylindrica
Disa reticulata
Satyrium acuminatum
Pterygodium acutifolium

Pterygodium nigrescens

On Tuesday 4th December a party of Evie, Peter, Werner, Kyle and Dave headed out to Blesberg in the far eastern reaches of the Swartberg, a mountain that Outramps haven't visited for many years. We stayed at the Haggas Farm and spent the first evening talking to the friendly farmer (Piper) about the mountain roads and paths.

On the 5th we drove up to about 1800m and then bushwhacked up the ridge to the peak at 2100m. We actually could have driven all the way up, as there is a service road to a radar station on the peak which is maintained by the farmer - but that would have been boring........

The mountain burned about 18 months ago and the fynbos is coming back nicely, despite the dry conditions. Several areas along the ridge were spared by the fire so we got to see some spectacular fynbos including:
Protea montana (VU)
Leucadendron dregei (EN)
Agathosma zwartbergense (VU)
Agathosma venusta (range extension - previously Uniondale eastwards)
Phylica meyeri
Phylica tortuosa
Phylica alba
Cyclopia alopecuroides (EN)
Erica lignosa (Rare)
Gladiolus longicollis

Dave Underwood aka Onderbos

The Inconvenient Plants
Montagu Pass north
Some plants inconveniently insist on flowering in December and early January. This period co-incides with our closed season, when we take a break to concentrate on Christmas, family, visitors and New Year. But just the thought that Disa schlechteriana might be flowering was enough to tempt us on a sortie to the northern side of Montagu Pass on the Day of Reconciliation.

But we had no luck. Disa hians was the only Orchid to brave the heat and scorched earth and even it was cheating in a little patch that had escaped the fire. The regeneration after the October 2018 fires is progressing. But the generally dry conditions are not helping. The northern slopes of the Outeniquas are distressingly dry. Soft soaking rain is our wish for the New Year. One can dream............

Graderia scabra and Hypoxis villosa were bright spots of colour in the sepia landscape. Watsonia angusta was scarlet around the river bank. A minute little Apocynaceae was growing prolifically on the higher reaches and turned out to be Aspidoglossum heterophyllum (Thank you iNat) . We have previously only seen this plant at Doringrivier East immediately post-fire, but never managed an id.

Montagu Rail
Another beauty that flowers at this time of the year is Geissorhiza outeniquensis (Near Threatened). Visiting it involves a 8km thereandback along the railway line on the southern side of the Montagu Pass. It was a scorching hot day on Friday and there were frequent stops to stand under the little mini-waterfalls that were tumbling down the mountain after good rains earlier in the week. The walk through the tunnels was a relaxed affair, as the Power Van is not using the route, because about 10% of the sleepers have been burnt in the recent fires. We are really hoping that this line will be repaired, so that tourists can once again enjoy the stunning views that are on offer.

We were anxiously hoping that the Geiss would not be over and we were not disappointed. There were about 30 plants flowering. It looks as if the rest are not going to flower this year, as there were no more buds around and none of them were over. They are being threatened by a vigorous Agapanthus invasion, which is taking over the whole slope above the railway line. Erica stylaris (Vulnerable) was present, but probably flowered in November.

The black slopes were covered with the pioneering Pteridium aquilinum and Blechnum tabulare was lime-green against the blackened soil. The large stand of Leucadendron conicum (Near Threatened) has been wiped out by the fire. Hopefully, we'll soon see the emergence of the first seedlings.

It was great to be out in the field again, but the simmering heat was a timely reminder that we'll have to look for "cool" destinations for the next two months.


On Friday, we will be walking in the Groeneweide Forests. We are keen to assess the damage caused by the recent fires. We will also be monitoring some of the endangered and threatened Forest species. Next week we will report on this and the very successful start-up meeting that was organised to give our new year a hupstoot. A wonderful surprise added lustre to the day, when Lize von Staden unexpectedly joined us for lunch. But hang on a second, I am getting ahead of myself.

We are looking forward to an exciting 2019
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.
Cola Conservancy -
Dune Molerat Trail -
Featherbed Nature Reserve -
Gamkaberg -
Gerickes Punt -
Gouriqua -
Gouritzmond -
Heaven in the Langkloof -
Herolds Bay -
Kammanassie -
Klein Swartberg -
Knysna - Westford Bridge
Kouga Mountains Kliphuis -
Kranshoek -
Langeberg Grootvadersbosch -
Masons Rust -
Mons Ruber and surrounds -
Mossel Bay Aalwyndal -
Mossel Bay Diosma Reserve -
Mossel Bay - :

Mossel Bay -
Mossel Bay -
Mossel Bay St Blaize Trail -
Natures Valley -
Outeniquas Bobbejaanberg -
Outeniquas Camferskloof -
Outeniquas Doringrivier East -
Outeniquas East -
Outeniquas Eseljagt -
Outeniquas Eseljagtpoort -
Outeniquas Flanagans Rock -
Outeniquas Lange Berg -
Outeniquas Montagu Pass North -
Outeniquas Paardekop -
Outeniquas Paardepoort East -
Outeniquas Paardepoort West -
Outeniquas Southern Traverse -
Robberg Corridor -
Robberg Corridor -
Rooiberg -
Spioenkop -
Strawberry Hill -
Swartberg Spitskop -
Swartberg Waboomsberg -
Uitzicht Portion 39 -
Uitzicht -
Western Head -
Western Head –
Western Head -
Western Head -
White Heather -
Wilderness Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail –
Wilderness Kingfisher Trail -
Witteberg Kromme Rivier -

Outramps CREW Stellenbosch HAT node
Jonkershoek created by Vynbos -
Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve -
Papegaaiberg -

Outramps Projects on iNaturalist
Lianes and Creepers in the Southern Cape and Little Karoo -

Veg Types of South Africa -

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
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Posted on 15 de enero de 2019 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi


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