The Rains Came - Briefly

The Rains Came
Outramps CREW Diaries
15th October 2019

“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.” – Henry David Thoreau

ALBUM 15th 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 – Romanskraal in the Langeberg, Robinson Pass and Attakwaskloof in the Outeniquas, Nicky and Fred go west, Giant Kingfisher, Pepsi Pools and Ballots Heights on the Southern Cape Coast.

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

HAT Evie in Romanskraal, eastern Langeberg Mountains
The South Cape section of the MCSA led by HAT Derek spent 3 nights over the heritage weekend in September backpacking in this part of the Langeberg. There was an attempt to climb to the very top of Spitskop/Perdeberg, below which horses were pastured during the Boer War. We also paid a visit to a San Rock Art shelter, so I feel we achieved a real, live heritage weekend, while enjoying some of South Africa’s best natural areas. Some much needed rain, accompanied by gusting winds arrived on one of our nights - a good time to put our tents to the test! Thank goodness Tony B and Evie had done some improvements to the backpacking tent and we were warm and dry on the inside.

On my previous visit in 2016 the Fynbos was almost a “no go” on the hikes off the jeep track. This time the access was easy due to burning about 2 years ago. We did explore a very different area to our previous trip. In the lower areas numerous Ericas were on display. They included Erica grata (R) and there were some E. melanthera and E. curviflora in flower on the high terrain. E. versicolor was dominant all over and interestingly, all plants had 4-nate flowers.

Other plants returning post-burn are resprouting Protea cynaroides; resprouting Leucospermum cuneiforme; young Leucospermum winteri (NT) - I noticed only one sheltered tree in flower. Berzelia and Brunia plants are popping up all over and scores of Psoralea shrubs are enjoying the lower, wetter areas. We found a dense pocket of Cyclopia bowieana at high altitude next to a seep area. It is a Langeberg/Outeniqua endemic. High up on the escarpment with views over the Klein Karoo, to my surprise I saw a few small trees (? single stem) of Hypocalyptus sophoroides at an altitude of 1309m. These trees are growing in rocky, arid conditions in the worst wind possible – literature generally says they like to grow near streams?? Also on the high ground, pretty carpets of purple Indigofera concava were interspersed with yellow Ursinia trifida. I noticed an unusual “Lobelia carpet” in a little overhang on one of the ridgelines we climbed and then noticed the same in the more open “Rock Art shelter”. It could well be Lobelia dasyphylla (R).

A wonderful trip, great company and next time the hardier types will need to carry some climbing gear – so that the top of Spitskop, our heritage peak can be achieved.


Robinson Pass in the Outeniquas
The mountains were hazy on Friday on the Robinson Pass and the forecasts were talking of significant rain for the weekend that lay ahead, as SIM set out on the Kouma Trail. With the bone-crunching drought persisting, the possibility of some relief was the main topic of conversation on the field trip. For once, the plants took second place.

But even second place is better than a "kick in the pants". The crowd-stopper for the day was the stunning magenta Hypocalyptus coluteioides, which is so, so beautiful. Aspalathus digitifolia (Vulnerable) was growing in sheets on the mountainside, with aspects ranging from true south to dead north. It is loving the lack of competition on the recently burnt slopes. Helichrysum felinum was in shades from white, pink to maroon and Orchids of various shapes and sizes were plentiful.

And on Saturday and Sunday, the rain came down and we were lucky enough to get 55mm. Chatting to Jan Vlok, even Oudtshoorn managed to get into double figures for the first time in ages.


Ruitersberg Eastern Buttress
Being the lone representative of the High Altitide Team, I had the steep ascent to the Eastern Buttress of Robinson Pass to myself on Friday. It's bundu bashing all the way to the 1330m peak, but the going is fine as the vegetation is still pretty low after the 2017 fires.

The scenery is spectacular from the top and there is a narrow ridgetop trail made by generations of klipspringers. The mountain is dry and many of the reseeders, along with orchids and bulbs have yet to put in an appearance. Flowers of interest include:
Wurmbea punctata - according to redlist and iNat, all previous records are west of Swellendam
Cyclopia bowieana - (on peak)
Indigofera sarmentosa simplicifolia subsp. nova (id Mr Fab)


HAT Evie Attakwaskloof ridgeline
While the Outramps explored areas off the Robinson on Friday 27 Sept, HAT Evie joined the South Cape MCSA on a hike nearby on the following day. We explored the Attakwaskloof ridgeline, which runs parallel to the Western Outeniqua Range of mountains. A very interesting, rocky hike with constant views of both the Outeniquas on the northern side, while to the south the remaining Attakwas hills unfold.

Mostly it seems I saw similar plants to the Outramps group - the normal rares of the area are slowly returning after the fire 19 months ago. Here and there in rocky pockets a few plants remain unscathed by burning.

Rares seen; several new small plants of Acmadenia tetragona (NT); down in the valley Aristea nana (R) ; Serruria fasciflora (NT) )were mostly new plants; Erica unicolor subsp mutica (EN) surviving in a few rocky spots on top of the ridgeline; Brunsvigia josephinae (VU) with several new bulbs in their green-leaf stage appearing on one of the slopes.

Numerous yellow daisies id'd as Ursinia trifida gave a general golden glow all over, while Erica viridiflora was iridescent in vivid, emerald-green up on the high ridge. On the ridge tops and on the higher northern slopes there were many new flowering Psoraleas making a big display - possibly 4 different varieties, or will the experts say, ”all are new hybrids of each other”! The very warty Psoralea I saw across the valley on the Western Outeniqua Mountains last year was not apparent during today’s hike.


Nicky and Fred go West
Fred and I decided to do some detours on our way to Cape Town to visit family. Our first stop was a walk along a valley in Groenefontein, part of the Gamkaberg Conservation Area. It was very dry with very little in flower. Crassula hemisphaerica (LC), Cadaba aphylla (LC) and Pachypodium succulentum (LC) did provide some colour, but this time around, I took more photographs of fossils and lichens than flowers.

The next day we did part of the Cogmanskloof Trail, which winds through South Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos on the outskirts of Montagu. The fynbos was beautiful, the positive result of a fire a few years ago. I photographed some plants new to me, and Mike Bate identified the Longhorn Beetle in my pictures as Clavomela ciliata – a first for iNaturalist.

On Wednesday we took the tourist tractor ride up to the hut at the base of Arangieskop and walked down the road back to our car. An icy wind howled at the top, making photography very difficult, but once we started down the northern slope the weather was perfect. The long downhill was hard on my knees, but the North Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos was a great distraction, having burnt in March 2017.
Stop Press: Damionjp has just identified the Pelargonium I thought was a colour variant of P. tricolor, as the rare Pelargonium burgerianum !

On Thursday, we dropped in at the Karoo Botanical Gardens, where we earned our lunch by walking the Shale Trail in 34 degrees Celsius. The Vygies were looking magnificent!

A walk along the base of Lion's Head, before we left Cape Town provided the last bit of botanizing for this trip. It is also recovering from fire. Moraea bellendenii, Wachendorfia paniculata, Pelargonium triste, P. capitatum, P. althaeoides, P. myrrhifolium and elongatum, Ornithogalum thyrsoides, Berkheya armata and Salvia africana-caerulea were some of the plants providing colour to the burnt landscape.

I have taken lots of photographs, so have plenty of memories of a great trip west and enough to keep me iNatting for a while!


Ballots Heights
Henry Paine is one of the top Laser sailors at the George Lakes Yacht Club. He has the boat shed next to ours and he and his wife Sally live at Ballots Bay. With the prevailing drought, there has been lots of discussion over the last couple of months about fire and fire-prevention. Ballots Bay has wooden houses and lots of senescent Fynbos turning into Thicket. They have undertaken some clearing and stacking and are waiting for the right conditions to do a controlled burn. In the meantime, lots of plants are coming up in the cleared areas. An invitation to the Outramps to come and have a look proved irresistible.

The usual SIM members, Nicky, Sandra, Ann, Jenny and Di were augmented by Jo-Anne, Rebecca and Brittany. Rebecca and Brittany are students at NMU and Jo-Anne is the youthful chairman of the Garden Route Branch of the Botanical Society. Having survived the drive up the death-defying entry road to Ballots Heights, we were met by Sally and Henry, who showed us where the clearing had been done. We combed through the area with cameras at the ready. Our aim was to catalogue all the plants seen on iNaturalist. Nicky and Fred have created a Place on iNat and it is already populated with lots more to come.
Ballots Heights - : Click on Observations and your will see some of the plants and insects that reflect the biodiversity of the area. We also created an album Ballots Heights October 2019

We are hoping to return at the change of seasons for the next year or so, so that we can have a comprehensive picture of what grows and lives there. We would like to hold a mini iNat course for the residents, so that they too can contribute to the biodiversity catalogue for Ballots Heights. And if the controlled burn comes about, there will be even more reason to return. Thanks to Sally and Henry for giving us this wonderful opportunity.


A snippet which came in from Brian/The Boy/Mr Fab
This Otholobium was first found by Jan Vlok way back, then the Outramps went back to the area and re-found it in November 2013. It had never been collected in flower, until I found a few flowers last week. Prof Charlie and I are now working to describe the species asap. The population consists of over 100 plants sprouting after the fire, but they are threatened by Hakea sericea, which is germinating all over the slope. It is going to be called Otholobium outrampsii.

Mr Fab

Out and About in the Southern Cape
Bosduif Loop on Giant Kingfisher Trail
The forest is recovering after the recent rains and the banks were covered with flowering Crassula orbicularis. After completing the high Bosduif Loop, we took the track that leads to the stepping stones up-river of the pont. The going was surprisingly tricky, but we had loads of fun watching some young German tourists crossing the strongly-running Touw River. They got their feet wet.

Pepsi Pools
It was a pleasant walk on a blustery, showery day with WAGS. We had a top-up of 12mm to add to the 55mm over the weekend. The stunning bronze/pink leaves of Blechnum attenuatum were the highlight of this very attractive hike. Wet and cold, we were pleased to huddle in front of the fire at Platforms, where we met after the hike for a drink and a bite to eat and a mini celebration of Bill's 85th birthday.


Field Trips
Friday 18th - SIM has never done Flanagans Rock, although we do it often with WAGS. After the recent rain, the slopes on the northern side of Cradock, should be looking spectacular. The week after that, we will probably go and check what Spring and some rain have produced in Camferskloof.
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

הועלה ב-אוקטובר 15, 2019 11:19 לפנה"צ על ידי outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi


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