The Endless Skyscapes

The Endless Skyscapes
Outramps CREW Diaries
5th February 2019

LOT had a very pleasant outing to Palmietdrif in Waboomskraal on Thursday. We were met by the farmer, Pieter Terblanche, who joined us for part of the day. He showed us some trails and routes and gave us the history of the property. The farm faces north-east and is on the old Oudtshoorn road and to the west of the road that is currently in use.

We will be returning to cover other sites in the area. Here is a list of some of the plants that we recognised.

Blepharis capensis ( flowering).

Anacampseros telephiastrum
Leucospermum cuneiforme
Protea nitida

Pelargonium dipetalum (flowering)
Erica discolor (flowering)

Limeum aethiopicum (flowering)
Selago glomerata (flowering)
Prismatocarpus campanuloides (to be confirmed)

Rusell came home with lots of specimens to press and Prix collected seeds. A good day was had by all.

The Endless Skyscapes
We set off with great enthusiasm towards the Swartberg Pass last Friday. The numbers were such that we had to take 2 vehicles - Jen's smart, newish Fortuner and the aged Bloody Mary. Although you don't need a 4x4 on the Pass, the going is not suitable for an elderly low-slung saloon car like a BMW that is designed for European roads. It was just as we reached the top that the temperature gauge in the BM made a startling leap to the right. We coasted down about 500 meters and parked at the entrance to the Bothashoek Jeep track, leaving Bloody Mary to contemplate her sins for the day.

The Swartberg is unbelievably dry. It has been 3 years since they had significant rain and the vegetation is taking strain. But as always, there was something to Ooh and Ah about. Nicky found an exquisite purple flower on Otholobium swartbergense (Rare) and we saw a Green Protea Beetle on Protea eximia. The crowd pleasers were Tritoniopsis antholyza in orange and Harveya purpurea in pink. Psoralea sp.and Erica curvifolia were happily ensconced in the furrow next to the track, whilst Berkheya cruciata and Pteronia stricta were bright yellow flashes of colour in the dry sepia landscape.

The old path down to the northern side has almost disappeared, which is a huge pity. It was there that we branched off and went exploring on some of the kopjes. And eventually we turned up something exciting. Having had to dredge the name of Dolichothrix ericoides out of the deep sub-conscious, I was feeling chastened. It didn't last long, as on the top of one of the kopjes, we came upon a tiny little treasure trove. A single Phylica nigromontana (Rare) was growing next to a small spiky Aspalathus sp. that we didn't recognise. There were 3 plants. We were delighted with our find and made our way back to the cars glowing with heat and satisfaction.

We filled Bloody Mary with water and she sailed down the Pass, past Oudtshoorn and halfway to George. Suddenly the temperature gauge had another surge to the right and when we opened her up, she was boiling. After a couple of stops, we limped to the driveway of a farm with a security gate. Despite hooting and calling, nobody appeared.

And then our luck changed and a good Samaritan drove by. Fred van der Leeuw had come back from the farmstall where he'd heard the Aunties talking about the situation. He picked us up and took us all the way down the Outeniqua Pass to the Engen garage. He lives on Burnsleigh so it was a very long way out of his way.

By the time we left the farm, the owner Frikkie Jonck had appeared from town. At first he was a bit taken aback and berated me, but soon realised our plight and offered to keep the BM in his yard. My son fetched her the next day. I felt for Peter and Werner in the Cedarberg, who were having similar car problems.


The Snow Protea on Sneeuberg
With a bit of nagging, Werner and I convinced MO to join us on the MCSA trip to Sneeuberg in the Cederberg. The hardest part of the trip was the driving. My car is in a state where it starts to shake uncontrollably, while Werner's car has issues with the clutch. Not really knowing which one was better, we settled on Werner's car........... This involved a surplus of unplanned stops.

We parked the car at Eikeboom and set off for Sneeuberg hut along a jeep track, passing age-old Protea nitida and a bounty of interesting Phylicas and Ericas, which have yet to be identified. From the hut, Werner and I had a quick run to the Maltese Cross, passing a clump of Widdringtonia wallichii, as well as Protea witzenbergiana, Protea acuminata and Sorocephalus lanatus.

The following day, we had a early start for Sneeuberg (2027m) and soon came across a stand of the famous Protea cryophila (Near Threatened) in full flower. We also saw the shyer Protea recondita (Near Threatened), well past its prime. From the saddle where the Snow Proteas grow, the scrambling and exposure started to get interesting! To quote MO, when I mentioned I'd seen Snow Proteas to the right of the watershed, "That's funny. I kept seeing the abyss to the right of me."

After reaching the summit, Werner and I left the group and made a quick descent back to the car, in 38°. Realising that we had no more brake fluid, we push-started the car in second gear and drove (slowly and without aircon) to Citrusdal, where we sorted out our problems. What a great weekend in the mountains - not only did I get to see a ton of new Proteas, but I also left with excess knowledge on how the clutch system works..
2019-01-(26-27) Sneeuberg For all the observations on iNat
Peter -Stellies Node

Ed - Both old and young Outramps - Stellies Node and SIM - had car problems on Field trips this week. What we need is a benefactor, who will help us to keep our ageing vehicles on the road, or even better, find us one that works.

Mossel Bay’s Diosma Reserve has two Hermannias and one Prismatocarpus sp. considered different to currently described species. Now Nanobubon sp. follows. Dr Pieter Winter commented on an iNat obs that it needs more scrutiny. The plant was recorded last year in May.


In November 2012 the Outramps found a few Muraltia knysnaensis (EN) plants growing in the Fynbos Reserve, one of the properties in the Robberg Coastal Corridor. Although we have searched for it there on numerous subsequent visits to the property, we have not found it again. On Thursday 24th January, I walked in the Reserve, nearly 20 months since it was burnt during the 2017 Knysna wildfires. I was thrilled to find a healthy population of the plants scattered over a larger area than our first sighting.

I also found a large population of what I think is Aspalathus bowieana (EN) growing close to the cliff edge, awaiting confirmation on iNat. These grey Aspalathus plants have not been observed on this property before.


From iNat - a snippet
In one of my post-burn observations, I was moaning about the overwhelming presence of Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken) in the post-burn landscape. Also mentioned was the state of our clothes after scrambling through blackened Proteaceae skeletons. A dialogue with Meneer (aka Dr Tony Rebelo) ensued. He said,
"Well you know what to do!
Eat the Bracken
and don't wear clothes!"
My reply
"You know what you can do and don't you dare flag this comment as inappropriate............... Your little statement is going to appear in the next Diaries. It's too good to pass over. The sight of a whole lot of old women fossicking around the burn with no clothes is too hideous to contemplate".


Field Trips
SIM needs to monitor Gladiolus vaginatus (Vulnerable) at Goukamma in the next week or so. Currently the weather is OK for a sortie into this attractive piece of coastal Fynbos, but we will be watching the forecasts carefully. Goukamma can be unpleasant going if it's too hot. If the temperatures are too high, we will find a cooler option and do some monitoring of Forest species instead. LOT is planning a visit to the Herbertsdale Road on Thursday to continue their monitoring of this interesting stretch of hughweay
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.
Area covered by Southern Cape Herbarium -
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 - Cradock and George Peak Trail -
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 Pizza Ridge -
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
Ericas of the Southern Cape -
Fungi of the Southern Cape -
Lianes and Creepers in the Southern Cape and Little Karoo -
Veg Types of South Africa -

Flowers of the High Drakensberg -

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

Posted on February 05, 2019 04:17 AM by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi


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