The Middle of Nowhere

The Middle of Nowhere
Outramps CREW Diaries
3rd September 2019

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”

John Muir, Our National Parks

ALBUM 3rd September 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 – Fynbos Forum Field Trip, Wolwedans, Kouga Wildernis, STOP PRESS and Out and About in the Southern Cape.

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

A couple of weeks ago, we joined Stuart Thomson on a walk below the Wolwedans Dam, at the request of the Great Brak River Conservancy. One of our objectives was to photograph the plants and post them on iNaturalist, so that the Conservancy can generate species lists and determine the way forward for the area.

After some to-ing and fro-ing, we found the meeting-place at the start of the hike outside the distinctive Beatnik Leatherworks building. The dry conditions were immediately apparent. The lack of rain in the Southern Cape is severely impacting flowering times and the condition of the plants. Week after week, the depressing sight of struggling plants is beginning to take a mental toll on the Outramps psyche.

The GBR Conservancy has done an admirable job of clearing Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana) in the river course, but there is stilll lots of work ahead. Both Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii) and the ubiquitous Aussie Invader Tree Fern (Cyathea cooperi) are getting a foothold. Rares seen on the day were Erica unicolor subsp. mutica (Endangered) and Dioscorea sylvatica (Vulnerable). The GBR Conservancy must be commended on their dedication and commitment to conserving the area. They are doing an excellent job under difficult conditions.


Fynbos Forum Field Trip
Elim Ferricrete Fynbos
Fynbos Forum Field Trip – 7 August 2019
Sean Privett of Grootbos led the group to Elim’s communal land next to the picturesque settlement. There is less of the endangered Elim Ferricrete Fynbos left than originally thought. It does not help that this endangered vegetation type grows on soil suitable for agriculture. As it is, the Agulhas plain has been transformed by extensive agriculture. There is also the looming presence of a variety of alien invasive plants.

We drove and stopped at three adjacent sites along a track, but the weather scuppered a visit to a fourth site further away, which is apparently quite different and very worthwhile to the Elim land. The veld presents as unassuming, grey, shin-to-knee-high vegetation, with scattered blotches of butter yellow. A delight to explore. It was teeming with new and interesting plants. It was also teeming with an array of plant lovers and botanists! That meant id’s on tap for the most! The sites varied along the track, in the way which is so typical of Fynbos. At the last count I noted 12 redlisted plants. Ooos and aaas marked all the spots where the dainty moederkappie orchid, Disperis capensis var. capensis, grew. It was simply glowing in the face of all the audible admiration. I swear I could see its tiny chuffed smiles - half hidden by the kappie….

Nodding shyly was Erica bruniifolia and then there was a ‘little pink Erica’, cute Clutia tomentosa, fragile Hesperantha fibrosa (VU) and interesting Proteaceae: Protea subulifolia, P. pudens (EN), P. aspera (VU), Leucadendron elimense subsp. elimense, L. modestum (EN), Paranomus abrotanifolius (VU) and Serruria fasciflora (NT). It was a real pity Echiostachys ecklonianus (VU) and Xiphotheca guthriei (VU) were not in flower, as Ismail pointed them out. He handed me the exquisite and pure white flower of Euchaetis schlechteri (VU), but was really on a mission to get to Erica regia subsp. regia (EN). Had I not seen this plant in the veld, I would most certainly have thought it was developed as a horticultural marvel!

Congratulations to Rupert Koopman and his team on a successful 41st Fynbos Forum at Baardskeerdersbos. May the forum theme: ‘ELIMinate barriers to conservation’ become a self-fulfilling prophecy for the Cape Floristic Region.


Kouga Wildernis
I have titled this "The Middle of Nowhere", but I could just as easily have called it , "On a clear Day you can see Forever". This vast untenanted land dwarfs mere humans and firmly puts them back in their place in the universe. The John Muir quote at the start of the Diaries could have been written for Kouga Wildernis.

We were anxious that the continuing drought would leave us with nothing to photograph, but in fact there was plenty, although the veld was looking very dry and brown. The first afternoon we walked up the kloof to the start of the Watervalle. Next morning HAT (Dave, Sebastian and Jo-Anne) set off to the summit on the northern side of the cottage where we stayed. Jen and Sandra went up the steep ridge and then came down the interesting Watervalle track, with ropes strategicallly placed to help hikers over the tricky bits. Bill and I walked to Koos se Bos and back. On Sunday morning, Bill and I followed the same route as SIM had done the day before and Jen and Sandra did Koos se Bos. With all that heen and weering, even I am having difficulty working out who did what.

Koos se Bos
The views were spectacular and the standout plants were Leucospermum cuneiforme in full flower, the delicate pink of Phylica lachneaeoides, tiny little Aristea nana, the pink and white flowers of Erica pectinifolia, a pink Ixia and a white Geissorhiza still to be id'd, the spiky and distinctive Muraltia juniperifolia, Erica andreaei in white, Carpobrotus mellei in palest pink and Erica newdigateae and Diosma hirsuta (I think).

But the undoubted "Star of the Show" was Relhania decussata (Rare). We have previously found this gorgeous plant on the Mast Peak, just west of Mannetjiesberg in the Kammanassie. It is a deep gold colour with an interesting bract arrangement, which is a brilliant, coppery colour. It is stunning!

Koos se Bos is a fabulous hike in magnificent surroundings and well worth the doing.

A scarlet Erica, which keys out to Erica diaphana is causing some discussion on iNat. Kenneth Oberlander has referred it to Nick Helme, so we will see. A young Ilex mitis was growing next to the river. There was a stunning pale-lilac Selago and an Oedera that was much discussed. Pittosporum viridiflorum (Cheesewood) was spectacular, covered in yellow and red fruit and it was great to look at Virgilia divaricata and be sure of the species. The changeover from V. oroboides to divaricata happens in George and the result is often confusing. Pelargonium panduriforme was all over the place, Erica caffra was over our heads on the stream banks and Nuxia floribunda was covered in cream flower-sprays.

Steep Ridge and Watervalle track Circular
The path up the ridge is steep and challenging, but the reward is some stunning Fynbos at the top. The track down the (now almost dry) Waterfall track is definitely not for decrepit geriatrics. Rock-scrambling and using fixed ropes, puts this hike into the category of "Not suitable for Crutches". But it was loads of fun and in stark contrast to the other hikes we did at Kouga Wildernis. The ancients throughly enjoyed themselves.

Not seen elsewhere - Diosma rourkei (a first for all of us and on iNat), Caputia scaposa var. scaposa, Holothrix aspera, Argyrolobium incanum, Protea tenax with very broad leaves, a soft, silver-leafed Aspalathus - probably A. kougaensis, Aspalathus aciphylla, Syncarpha milleflora, Leucospermum wittebergense, Haemanthus albiflos, the delicate Geissorhiza heterostyla, Polygala microlopha, Haworthia mucronata and Dioscorea sylvatica (Vulnerable). In addition there were a whole lot of indigenous trees in the Kloof - too many to itemise.

It would take a book to mention all the plants. Those listed are by no means comprehensive. We had a wonderful 3 days on this remarkable property.


During a recent discussion about iNaturalist's identification algorithm, Tony told us about the iNat app for kids called "Seek" (

While reading the blurb I had a very vivid flashback to my youth. My most prized possession when I was about 4 was the little book "I-Spy in the Hedgerow" (one of a range of spotter's guide for kids; "I-Spy On the Seashore" was another favourite) - you'd look for things depicted in the book and then tick them off when you found them. The Seek app is totally the next century version and I'm feeling quite envious.

Some comments on Indigofera sp. 19
mr_fab commented - Need to see if ovary is hairy or glabrous, either way its one of the undescribed species
mr_fab commented
Collected this one today and am happy that its new and different from the one in Kouga. Going to probably be Indigofera outrampsii

Brian aka The Boy/Mr Fab

Out and About in the Southern Cape
Tierkop Peak

There was very little in flower on a freezing cold day with WAGS. But there's always something, even when the drought relentlessly tightens its grip on the Southern Cape. Most spectacular - the bright, golden Wachendorfia thyrsiflora in a seep and Cyclopia subternata on the southern side. A small, compact, white daisy on the track to the summit of Tierkop Peak defeats me. I think this is one for Jan Vlok.

Field Trips
On Friday, SIM will be doing something on the eastern side of George, which we've rather neglected recently. There are various options, but we will confirm the destination later on in the week.

Our September overnighter will be from the 10th to the 14th September. We have been offered free accommodation in Kleinmond and that is simply irresistible. The fascinating Fynbos in that neck of the woods, will keep us more than busy and entertained for 4 days.
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 -
Baviaanskloof -
Cola Conservancy -
Dune Molerat Trail -
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 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
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

(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

Our mailing address is:

הועלה ב-ספטמבר 3, 2019 08:38 לפנה"צ על ידי outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi


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