'n Skrop in die Bos

Outramps CREW Diaries
'n Skrop in die Bos
Tuesday 9th October 2018
Wild Seas at Gerickes Punt
If we'd stopped and turned the engine off on the N2 close to Sedgefield, we'd have heard the roar of the surf. We didn't, so the level of sound when we opened the doors of the car was an unexpected assault on the eardrums. We arrived earlier than the rest at dead low tide to walk from Swartvlei Beach to Kleinkrantz and then on to a braai at the Yacht Club. It was a MCSA meet organised by Dave Jones.

The beach was covered with bluebottles and foam and every now and then a wave would surge right up to the cliffs. When we got to the Point two fishermen were discussing the conditions. "So het ek dit nooit voorheen gesien nie"! The water was already too high for us to walk below the rocks. I said to Bill, "I'm out of here. Let's go and do Duiwerivier instead." He wasn't happy, but eventually followed me back to the car.

By that time the Mountain Club party had arrived. In the end only the strongest walkers/climbers went on and even they were head-high under the occasional wave. We would never have coped.


The Calm after the Storm
In sharp contrast to Gerickes, Duiweriver was quiet, sunny, beautiful and very undramatic. The path is excellent, except right at the end, where the signposting disappears and it's something of a problem to get to the waterfall. It wouldn't take much work to sort this out Sanparks. We were delighted to see that all the Aussie invader Ferns have been cleared. Along the way, we pulled out lots of Black Wattle and Blackwood seedlings. Consideration should be given to taking in a clearing team soon.

There was the usual sprinkling of Stinkwoods (Ocotea bullata - Endangered), Curtisia dentata (Assegaai - Near Threatened) and Amauropelta knysnaensis Vulnerable - New Special) that used to be called Thelypteris. Note to self, "check the photos with Johan Baard to make sure of the id". We saw no recent signs of bark-harvesting. A swathe of Aponogeton distachyos (Waterblommetjies) giving a good imitation of the Milky Way wound its way along the stream at one of the river crossings. Duiweriver proved to be a very good choice instead of the thunderlingly dangerous Gerickes Point on the day. It was followed by a very gesellige braai at the Yacht Club.


The Case for Plain Janes
Spring flowering is still in full swing at Aalwyndal. The road verges have been cut severely and look mangy with bare soil patches and an increased presence of grasses. Woody species have all but gone and a lone Diospyros dichrophylla fled to a fence to survive, weaving itself completely into it, standing its ground against the unrelenting weed eating and brush cutting. Dry conditions, fire risk, security issues and plant blindness being some of the reasons for the verge mowing.

Other than the startling pink of Carpobrotus deliciosus, the gentler blues of Babiana fourcadei and Heliophila subulata reigned. Bright orange Watsonia laccata stood out. Though the Freesias were mostly over and setting seed we saw some Freesia fergusoniae (Endangered) and Gnidia chrysophylla (Near Threatened), a white form of Heliophila subulata and a white Oxalis (cf. O. fergusonae or inaequalis ) which Kenneth Oberlander says warrants closer examination. And then there is the Podalyria sp. that Nicky says is not myrtillifolia and a tufted Bulbine and Muraltias still awaiting identification.

The intact veld was very overgrown, Aspalathus subintegra prominent, one splendid Erica versicolor and some Leucadendron salignum. A couple of Protea lanceolata bushes, though substantially less than at previous excursions.

Many of the plants we see and record here are probably just the Plain Janes: Bobartia robusta, Crossyne guttata, Scabiosa columbaria, Acrodon bellidiflorus, Aristea cf. nana, Gerbera serrata, Leonotis ocymifolia, Boophane disticha, Pelargonium candicans, Agathosma capensis, Searsia incisa, the usual array of little Hermannias - H. saccifera, H. salviifolia, H angularis, H. flammea, H. flammula plus a grey-yellow combo I haven’t put a name to. And only once I have downloaded my photographs do I see how many little creatures live on these plants, getting on with their daily business. So after all the Plain Janes dó matter.

Like water running through one’s hands I see natural veld and plants becoming less and less. And whilst legislators may now be happier as they smoke their Pot Plants one doubts that the permanent cure for Plant Blindness would be voted in soon. Which of course is a one-way ticket to Mars, in case you wondered! If the Album captions at my pics seem to be love letters to plants – that is exactly what they are. Somewhere between science, legislation, planning blurb, making money and only noticing the flagship or flamboyant in your face plants – we are losing them. Maybe they’ll matter if we and others see them with our hearts. I dedicate this to all my plant friends who actually do – and of course to plant friends, Thys and dear Jenny.
Sandra, with Gail & Rusell at Aalwyndal

27 September 2018

'n Skrop in die Bos
I have a dream that lives in the "happy place" in my mind. In this dream, I am walking through Fynbos with Jan and Annelise Vlok. A recent weekend spent at the Kliphouis on the Kouga River, made that dream a reality. Dave and Mandy Laing invited Bill and I to join them at the Kliphuis for a wonderful getaway, together with Prof Richard and Shirley Cowling, Jan and Annelise and 7 dogs. Four were Labradors, so the proximity of the river meant that a fair bit of time was taken up with drying canines.

It was a magical weekend,with walks in the Fynbos, paddling and swimming in the river, sumptuous meals and plenty of red wine. Discussions ranged over a host of topics, including plants, politics, current affairs, doggy matters and books.

So what of the plants. Having Jan around was fantastic. The names came thick and fast and his brilliant eyes found all sorts of things that I would just have walked past.

Specials seen
Aspalathus lactea - Near Threatened - New Special
Adromischus cristatus var. schonlandii - Rare - New Special
Phymaspermum oppositifolium - not evaluated - New Special
(Only known from the type specimen collected by Doug Euston-Brown some years ago)
Agathosma sp. nova - Not evaluated - New Special
Aspalathus usnoides -Not evaluated
Amphoglossa callunoides - Vulnerable
Plant discussions are in the Album at greater length

The perfect weekend? Well not quite! The road from the plateau down to Kliphuis is just short of vertical. When we arrived, I said to Bill, "You drive down and I'll walk". Reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, there were all sorts of things in flower, which were irresistible and I'm a wimp when it comes to really steep hill-driving. I had a great walk and Bill got down with no mishaps. When it was time to go home, I again walked up to the top to find Aspalathus usnoides. When nobody had arrived for some time, I began to worry. And rightly so.

The Drifter refused to engage in 4x4 and couldn't get up the hill. So Dave had to drive the Landie to the farmer, who in the minimum of time towed the Drifter up the "moerse" hill with his "moerse" bakkie. We trundled home with no further problems, but were very sorry to have been the cause of so much discomfort and inconvenience. Our vehicles are starting to push the limits. Previously you could rely on the Drifter and it was only the Buchu Bus that used to feature in grisly episodes in the Diaries. It seems the Drifter is now starting to follow in the footsteps of the BOB. FMC!

Thank you all for a fantastic weekend and some wonderful plants to add to the Outramps count of specials.


Klein Swartberg - The Dirty Dozen
HAT Evie in the Klein Swartberg
This last weekend Nicky and I joined the South Cape section of the MCSA to do a trip to the Klein Swartberg. We spent a night outside Ladismith in a s/c house known as “Kliphuis”. Super venue for our dirty dozen. The hiking was to consist of 2 day trips – on Sunday into a Gorge nearby – boulder hopping and cold feet! Amazing scenery and gorgeous Pelargoniums both in flower and wafting their special perfumes around.

On Saturday we hiked the “Liggies” circular Trail. A superb mountain trail winding into the real mountain terrain, and to access “Oom Stan se Lig”. This light used to be an important feature of life in Ladismith. It is a bicycle light on the mountain powered by “water flow” . A light at night – Indicated that the town supply of water was safe. Of course, more recently Ladismith has all sorts of “leiwater”” and solar powered pump systems to boost their water supply. The hike, run by the municipality of Ladismith, has free access for all. A very well laid out path with much of interest along the way. Sadly though, it is more overgrown than usual and no longer has any sign posting!

The plants were stunning – they have learnt to survive in different zones/ dry and wet/ ice and heat. Starting at around 630m altitude- Nicky had her pick of the plants along the lower section , while Evie had to race along to keep up with the strong party heading for rock art – well above the path at 1570m. Along the way Acmadenia sheilae LC); Protea eximia and magnifica (LC); and higher up good populations of new Protea punctata. Both Paranomus dispersus (LC) and Nivenia binata (LC) – seem to enjoy the high rocky location. Cannomois grandis (LC) – as thick and giant-like as ever – very tough to pass through! A little lower down - HAT Derek spotted some new young plant growth on Leucadendron comosum ssp. comosum (LC) . Good show of Erica’s- some still in bud – some for ID’s .

On higher ground in the Swartberg I am always reminded of the legendary botanist and plant collector “Elsie Esterhuysen”. She was a tough mountaineer- never being afraid to scramble down a steep cliff face to stretch out for an unusual plant. And amazingly, with her in mind, I managed to stumble across some plants of Erica esterhuyseniae (LC). It is an unusual Erica covered in long Christmassy white hairs growing in high places on the Swartberg.


Totsiens Thys
We have lost a friend. On Saturday 29th of September, Thys Potgieter died after a long illness bravely borne. Over the last few years, Jen has dedicated her life to looking after him with loving care and she was with him when he died.

The Outramps were founded in 1992 in order to join the Protea Atlas Project. We were a small group of hikers with boundless enthusiasm, but not much botanical knowledge. With the help of Jan Vlok and Tony Rebelo, this changed quite dramatically and by 1996, we were becoming a force to be reckoned with in botanical circles. 1996 was a momentous year for the Outramps Group. A retired ENT surgeon and his retired theatre matron wife (The Potgieters) came to George to settle and began hiking with us and in that same year, we discovered the 2nd only known location of Mimetes chrysanthus on the northern foothills of the Outeniquas. This was about 100km away from the original find in Gamkaberg.

Jenny and Thys were a huge addition to the Outramps. At that time, we were in pursuit of the Mimetes chrysanthus award, given to individuals and Groups who plotted 200 Proteaceae species or more. Jen and Thys drove all over the country in search of Proteaceae species to add to our list. They also joined us on our weekly sorties all over the Southern Cape. Apart from being wonderful Group members, they became our very good friends.

During his life, Thys reached the summit of no less than 31 peaks and many of those were climbed many times. He was extremely fit and a tough old buggar. He, John and Richard were the 3 Musketeers in the Group. And frankly, they were pretty difficult to keep under control. Meanwhile, Jen had become a volunteer at the Garden Route Herbarium and was busy developing a very educated interest in the Erica Family.

There are hosts of stories that I could tell about Thys, but there are time constraints, so I will restrict myself to one. A couple of years ago, we made our ritual, annual ascent to the summit of Perdepoort West in the northern Outeniquas to check on the well-being of our beloved Golden Pagoda or Mimetes chrysanthus. Thys slipped at the summit and badly hurt his ankle. He took a couple of painkillers and then proceeded to hobble down with help from Jenny and Bill. The rest of us went ahead to plot the easiest way down - there were no paths. The descent took about 3 hours. My memory of this occasion is dominated by Bill’s spirited and tuneless rendition of various hymns, which he sang with great vigour. He does this when the going gets tough! The other thing that I remember vividly from that endless day was Thys’s face, grey with pain. He didn't moan or complain once. X-rays later that day confirmed a broken ankle and not a sprain.

I could talk about the Protea Atlas Get together, where it poured with rain for 4 solid days – or the time on the summit of Cockscomb when Bill and Thys got snowed on - the wonderful camping/hiking trip that we did to Min Water - the memorable occasion when Thys scraped off part of the side of his 4x4 at Mannetjiesberg - his cool calm takeover, when the wheel fell off the Buchu Bus in the Jonkersberg plantations, but the stories would take all night, so let me finish.

Thys, I hope that you and Richard are somewhere on the top of a mountain looking down at us poor mortals in our very messy world. Totsiens ou maat. Ons gaan jou mis


From Chris Gow
Talking about the mite mentioned by Tony Rebelo in the last report.
"Tony Rebelo raises an interesting point. I am sure I have seen the yellowing he describes and wondered about it. Then this thing of sanitizing clothing – it is not just boots! Will we in time be required to sterilize all our outdoor garb and gear? Ludicrous!?

Back when I was an active caver, we in the Cape objected to Transvaalers (as they were then) coming here with their overalls, boots, ropes etc, as these could all harbour spores of the Histoplasmosis fungus, a nasty little beggar when inhaled. It is so small it can cross into the blood stream, travel around and germinate in various organs, causing serious illness. At that time it was rife in caves in the North, but unknown in the Cape. That was containable, but heck, the world is full of so many pathogens.

More scary is the stat that Squirrel trotted out at the UN; two thirds of the human population of Africa had not been born when Mandela was released from prison".


From Dave Underwood
Dave and Kyle climbed Bobbejaanberg north of Beervlei forest on Saturday morning and found a Dwarf Chameleon at about 800m in wet fynbos. This has sparked an interesting conversation, as there aren’t any known Chameleon populations in this habitat. A (very) lost Elandsberg Chameleon or an undescribed species...?

News snippet
Erven 271 (& adjacent 264): Garden Route District Municipality received a slap on the wrist from the provincial minister for advertising these erven for lease or development, despite the fact that there is a dispute between the district and Mossel Bay Municipalities re ownership. Matthew Thorpe, chairman of the Midbrak Conservancy brought the matter to the attention of the minister. The Outramps have just done a survey of ERF 271, which the conservancy is keen to preserve in its natural state.

Road Verges
Dr David Gwynne –Evans says “Our single greatest AVOIDABLE threat to biodiversity is the destruction of roadside vegetation.” He is convening a meeting in Muizenberg on the 15th of October to discuss steps and plans for a conference re this issue. To participate in this initiative, contact him on capebio@gmail.com.

For the mathematicians

What are the odds that 2 different Outramps parties should spend the weekend of the 28th in a Kliphuis 350km apart - Kliphuis in the Kouga and Kliphuis in the Klein Swartberg?

Forthcoming Field Trips
On Tuesday 9th, we will be visiting Hartenbos Heuwels near Mossel Bay with Dave Edge (the Butterfly Man). On Friday 12th, we are making a Spring sortie to Eseljacht in the Langkloof, which is looking spectacular after the recent rains.
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 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 - 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
Gouriqua - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gouriqua-private-nature-reserve
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
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/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#page=2
Outeniquas Bobbejaanberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-bobbejanberg-in-the-outeniquas
Outeniquas Camferskloof - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-camferskloof
Outeniquas East - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-eastern-outeniquas-from-bergplaas-to-gouna
Outeniquas Flanagans Rock - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/flanagans-rock-rsa
Outeniquas Lange Berg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/lange-berg-112
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-west
Outeniquas Southern Traverse - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-outeniqua-southern-traverse
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
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
Outramps Projects on iNaturalist
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

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
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
OTL - Out To Lunch is used to describe the Buchu Bus when she's taking a break after she's behaved badly

Posted by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, October 09, 2018 15:48


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