Slithery Encounters

Outramps CREW Diaries
29th October 2019

“Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.” ― Anatoli Boukreev

ALBUM 29th October 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 today – Rabiesberg, IUCN Leaders' Meeting, Herbertsdale West, Van Kerwelsvlei at Ruigtevlei, A Thesium for Daniel and the Swellendam Hiking Trail.

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

For earlier versions of the Outramps CREW Diaries

The Sore-Edge Subarbush:
For years I've wanted to see Protea holosericea (Saw-Edge Sugarbush - Endangered) and given that it flowers during September and October, it is the perfect Protea to be hunting for one's 24th birthday!

MO, Werner and myself (upon recommendation of the Worcester MCSA) decided to climb Rabiesberg, rather than Saw-Edge peak. We had been told there are a number of plants on Rabiesberg, as well as a path halfway up the mountain. We set off on the Saturday into Smalblaarkloof, which is a narrow and overgrown kloof to the south of Rabiesberg. We struggled to find the path out of the kloof and managed to waste a great deal of time scrambling up a somewhat dangerous scree slope. Finally, we found the path which led us to the ridge below Rabiesberg. This ridge turned into something of a nightmare!

With no extra water and a boulder-strewn ridge, we struggled up the mountain in scorching heat. We had been warned that there was no water on the mountain, so the excess of water in our packs didn't make the trip any easier. After many hours and an ever increasing slope, we reached the ridge leading to the peak. With the slope being less steep and the boulders and vegetation clearing, we decided to set up camp. Exhausted, we enjoyed the sherry Werner had carried up, with a spectacular sunset marking the end of being 23.

The next morning the 2km to Rabiesberg was easy going and we successfully found one measly Protea holosericea in flower. This lifted our spirits and set us on a mission to get back down as soon as possible. Along the way we saw Gladiolus debilis, Serruria dodii, a beautiful Lachnaea and the striking Hypocalyptus sophoroides. To end off the trip, we had well-earned burgers at the Saggy Stone brewery, with MO deciding the name of P. holosericea should be changed to the Sore-Edge Sugarbush, for all the sore edges you have after climbing up Rabiesberg!


IUCN Leaders' Meeting

SSC Deputy Chair, Dr Domitilla Raimondo
Domitilla Raimondo is the Threatened Species Programme Manager at the South African National Biodiversity Institute. She is responsible for the species assessments for South Africa’s National Biodiversity Assessment and has extensive experience assessing the threat status for South Africa’s animal and plant species. Domitilla is the lead author of the “Red List of South African Plants” (2009) and has co-ordinated the Red List assessments for many animal groups. She is dedicated to ensuring that species information feeds into landuse decision-making. Domitilla is also involved in species conservation work internationally and serves as Deputy Chair on the IUCN SSC Red List Committee.

Tilla started the CREW Programme in 2003 as part of the Threatened Plants Programme and the Outramps were conscripted in 2004. The rest is history.

Van Kervelsvlei in Ruigtevlei Plantations
From the first day that we saw it, we were fascinated by Van Kervelsvlei. There didn't seem to be a water-source and it was filled with grass. In one of the Diaries, I mentioned that we would be very interested to know more about it. Heine Muller is the manager of the Ruigtevlei plantations and he picked up on the query. Recently, there has been a lot of research done on the vlei and Heine sent me the scientific papers. These were duly passed on to Mike Cameron, with the request that he turn it into a readable article. Below is the result

A hydropedological assessment of the van Kervelsvlei wetland
Van Kervelsvlei wetland is situated about 2.5 km north of the N2 on the Ruigtevlei plantation managed by PG Bison. After the 2017 fires, which burnt most of the plantation, concerns were raised by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation re the replanting of the area surrounding the vlei. They suggested that a hydropedologic assessment be done to determine future management of the vlei (study of the interface between soil and water relations). PG Bison appointed a team of scientists to carry out this assessment.

The following questions were raised:
Where does the water in the vlei originate?
What are the boundary limits of the vlei?

What is the importance of the vlei?
What was the effect on the vlei of aerial spraying of herbicide on the surrounding areas to be re-established with plantations? The vlei itself was not sprayed.
How should the vlei and its surrounds be managed in the future, especially regarding re-establishment of plantations?

The assessment determined the following:
The vlei is formed by a sealed base of CaCO3 and peat in a basin filled with about 11 m of peat formed over thousands of years. The environmental history of the vlei and its surrounds can be analysed using e.g. the very rich pollen records.

The team used a series of soil pits and auguring, as well as instruments to measure water inflow. The inflow into the vlei is only from precipitation and from the immediate catchment of old dunes surrounding the vlei and not from underground water sources, making it a perched vlei and not an aquifer. The water in the vlei will fluctuate in depth and leave chemical clues to the extent of the vlei boundary
This type of wetland is rare in South Africa and van Kervelsvlei wetland is environmentally near pristine, with relatively little human interference. This rarity and the historical significance make it of high conservation importance. Chemical analysis of the water in the vlei showed no traces of any herbicide (glyphosate and its carrier AMPA).

Future management
The team used a combination of aerial photography, presence of vlei specialist plants and chemical soil indicators to delineate the wetland margin. They suggest an additional 30m buffer zone where all but the most important management roads can rehabilitate to their natural state.

All invasive and alien plant species present are to be removed from the vlei, its edges and the buffer zone using methods which will cause minimum disturbance, yet still adhering to safety precautions. The water flow should be monitored and all alien species invading the vlei and its buffer zone should be removed.

PG Bison will manage the vlei and the buffer zone as a conservation management area, thus ensuring it maintains its high conservation status.

Mike Cameron

Herbertsdale West
Die Stappers at Herbertsdale, 11 Oct 2019
‘Die Stappers!’ – is how Dewald greets us when we meet at Herbertsdale. He leads us west to a private nature reserve in the foothills of the Langeberg. The Fynbos is mature and dense, so this does not allow for off the path exploration. I’m a little alarmed when I hear crackling sounds coming from the thick stand of Protea neriifolia as we start our walk! Nicky and Ann walk west towards the stream. Nicky finds Dioscorea burchellii (VU) and Ann finds a well camouflaged Western Natal Green Snake (Philothamnus occidentalis). Its belly is bulging with a recent meal.
Trail-running Dave crosses the stream to explore the top of a hill and reports back that the pink tinge on the higher slopes is Erica melanthera. He also finds Acmadenia trigona, Leucadendron spissifolium ssp. fragrans, Watsonia fourcadei, and Moraea bulbullifera ssp. bulbullifera.

Seen as splashes of pink all over the site is Acmadenia tetragona (NT), often with Erica copiosa and Erica unicolor subsp. mutica (EN) closeby. Jenny and I hike the circuit trail which follows the stream. Here Serruria fasciflora (NT) is flourishing and Psoralea asarina (NT) creeps onto the path from under the plant cover. The landscape is quite beautiful and tall trees of Leucadendron eucalyptifolium are a feature of the mountain slopes. Some of the male plants are in flower. They are magnificent and we stop to admire them.

As Jenny yelps and leaps backwards, a snake flies off the path and into a protea bush. Its charcoal back matches the size and colour of the branches exactly. So much so, that I struggled to find it in my photographs later. Jenny breathes out ‘cobra’ and with that the snake lifts its head and turns, giving us a big-eyed, indignant glare before slipping down into the undergrowth. There is a last glimpse of the barred underside. Unmistakably a boomslang (Disphilidus typus ssp. typus).

We are chuffed with the Erica haul: Erica caffra var. caffra, E. cubica, E. curviflora, E. glandulosa subsp. glandulosa, E. glomiflora, E. imbricata, E. nutans, E. quadrangularis and E. triceps. Some other plants: Aspalathus florifera, Psoralea arborea, Empleurum unicapsulare, Protea nitida, Protea cynaroides, Mimetes cucullatus, Leucadendron salignum, Disa sagittalis, Holothrix cernua, Agathosma bifida and Cliffortia graminea.

At the end we all arrive at the car together. The usual excited plant chatter is somewhat elbowed out by nervous snake encounter jabbering this time, although the plants win soon enough

At Fynbos Forum Gregory Nicolson suggested this as a fieldtrip. Thank you to Greg and his family for the arrangements, Sue Davidoff for permission and Dewald for taking us there.

Although there are lots of snakes on Strawberry Hill, we don't often see them. But in the last 10 days, we have had close encounters with 2 huge boomslangs that shot across the path straight in front of us, 2 monstrously big Puffies, a Night Adder and a Slugeater. Needless to say, we are watching where we put our feet. -Ed

A Thesium for Daniel
There was a brief flurry of excitement when Prof Charles Stirton saw a photo of a tall Thesium growing in the Ruitersbos area in a recent Album. He suggested that we get a specimen for Daniel, who is doing a Ph.D revising the Thesium genus.

At the same time, Mr Fab had seen this gorgeous tall Thesium at Romanskraal in the Langeberg. He collected a specimen and duly delivered it to Daniel at UCT. The latest news is that it could be Thesium fruticosum and we decided that we'd collect another specimen to make sure that it was the same plant.

We finished early and decided to explore the area near the top of the Pass where Acamdenia rupicola (Vulnerable) grows. But with lots of chatting and my mind genrally occupied with the big move from Strawberry Hill to Bishopslea, I turned down instead of up and only realised the mistake, as we passed Eight Bells. So instead of doing some work, we dropped into the Boerqui Bistro for a quick bite and some drinks.

It was there that we met Kobus and spent a fascinating hour listening to his stories. A retired major in the Police Force, he and his wife decided on a new direction, living and working in the "slow lane". His Boerqui Bistro is a result of this decision. We were enchanted by the place and the people that work there. Do yourself a favour next time you drive on the Robinson Pass and pop in. You will not be disappointed.

It was an interesting, if unusually short day for the Outramps


Swellendam Hiking Trail
HAT Evie - Report on Swellendam Hiking Trail 14 to 18 Oct 2019
This super trail is at last open. We ( South Cape section of the MCSA) have had a booking with numerous changes over the last 18 months. Cape Nature have now completed various rebuilding /upgrades etc. to the trail and the huts. Parts of the trail were badly burnt at least 6 years ago. It is a wonderful trail, has loads of variety and provides a special experience in the Langeberg Fynbos with its numerous endemic plants. The trail lasts for 5 days allowing for a maximum of 10 hikers to participate.

Day 1 was very long, with exhausting uphill sections under the weight of a full backpack, while a very hot day didn’t ease our rather sweaty discomfort! Somehow, I survived. The last 3 days are short in terms of hiking hours - so an easy 2 afternoons to enjoy the surrounds and some river swimming. Along the trail at high levels there were signs of some reasonable ground seepage, however numerous plants are very drought-distressed. At lower levels, the ground is exceptionally dry, while numerous side streams don't even have a trickle of running water. The hiking path is excellent, very well laid out, especially the descent in and out of rocks along the north-facing Langeberg slopes into the Klein Karoo.

It was so enjoyable to be immersed in “real mature “ Erica and Protea Fynbos again, considering that during the past year our field trips have been into many areas in the South Cape recovering from recent burns. Having said that, some of the mature areas are very ready for a new fire.

On the second day, 2 of our group undertook the long ridge walk/climb to reach the top of Misty Point over 1700m. Apparently, they encountered a wonderful high-altitude wetland along the way. A few of us managed to explore a section of this ridge line. There, in a small amphitheatre among the rocks – an enormous stocky Berzelia abrontanoides. This tree must have escaped numerous fires – 4 dense trunks, at least 2 of them well over 12 cm diameter. Also, in a niche of its own, there was an interesting purple Agathosma sp. with axillary flowers. I feel pretty sure it is not yet another A. ovata type!

Returning to the main path, we encountered a rather angry, large Cape Cobra. With a flared chest and few more ‘hisses', it did eventually whip itself off into the thick undergrowth. We literally shivered!! After all, we had just spent the previous 2 hours off the path, bush-whacking in and out of deep soft vegetation.

Some of the plants seen:-
Langeberg rare endemics – Cliffortia grandiflora (R) trees in a few clumps along the trail; Bobartia parva (R) dotted on higher slopes.
Striking buds and flowers on Dilatris viscosa and Satyrium acuminatum.
Proteaceae with gorgeous flowers were: P. speciosa; P. magnifica; P. eximia; P. cynaroides and flowering Leucospermum calligerum, Serruria fasciflora (NT) and Spatella parilis.

Langeberg Ericas seen were: E. ovina; tall pink spikes on E. regerminans, striking red E. vestita, E.daphniflora, E.polifolia, E. dianthifolia and E. ardens.


Field Trips
Friday November 1st - Nicky will be organising something in Brenton-on-Sea
Friday November 8th - Eastern Ridge from the top of the Swartberg Pass
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie

Di Turner
Outramps CREW Group
South Africa

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 of Interest to the Southern Cape Herbarium -
Ballots Heights - :
Baviaanskloof -
Cola Conservancy -
De Mond -
Dune Molerat Trail -
Eco-reflections -
Featherbed Nature Reserve -
Gamkaberg -
Gerickes Punt -
Great Brak River Conservancy put on by Stuart Thomson -
Gouriqua -
Gouritzmond -
Heaven in the Langkloof -
Herolds Bay -
Kammanassie -
Klein Swartberg -
Knysna - Westford Bridge
Kouga Mountains Kliphuis -
Kouga Wildernis -
Kranshoek -
Langeberg Grootvadersbosch -
Masons Rust -
Mons Ruber and surrounds -
Mossel Bay District -
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, Collinshoek and the Big Tree -
Outeniquas - Cradock and George Peak Trail -
Outeniquas Doringrivier East -
Outeniquas East -
Outeniquas Eseljagt -
Outeniquas Eseljagtpoort -
Outeniquas Flanagans Rock -
Outeniquas Goudveld -
Outeniquas Jonkersberg Bowl -
Outeniquas Langeberg
Outeniquas Montagu Pass North -
Outeniquas North Station -
Outeniquas Paardekop -
Outeniquas Paardepoort East -
Outeniquas Paardepoort West -
Outeniquas Pizza Ridge -
Outeniquas Southern Traverse -
Outeniquas Waboomskraal Noord -
Robberg Corridor - :
Robberg Corridor -
Robberg Corridor -
Rooiberg -
Spioenkop -
Strawberry Hill -
Swartberg Bloupunt -
Swartberg Spitskop -
Swartberg, Swartberg Pass to Bothashoek high and low -
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

Outramps CREW Group - all postings
Ballots Heights -
Ericas of the Southern Cape -
Fungi of the Southern Cape -
Geraniaceae of the Southern Cape -
Lianes and Creepers in the Southern Cape and Little Karoo -
Veg Types of South Africa (Tony Rebelo)-

Flowers of the High Drakensberg -

Outramps CREW Group - iNaturalist stats
59 827 observations
8450 species
19 Observers

(Updated Monthly)

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 recent power outages.
Walkie Talkies - Botanical walks that include more talking than walking

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CREW Outramps · PO Box 2991 · Mossel Bay, WC 6500 · South Africa

Publicado el octubre 29, 2019 05:10 MAÑANA por outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi


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