Die Klip is Dood

Die Klip is Dood
Outramps CREW Diaries
2nd April 2019

“Cynicism has never won a war, or cured a disease, or started a business, or fed young minds. I believe in optimism. I believe in hope… Don’t let the cynics get you down. Cynicism is a choice – And hope is a better choice.”

  • Barack Obama

For earlier versions of the Outramps CREW Diaries


Meijersrust in the Swartberg
21st/23rd March 2019
Loaded to the gunnels, the Fortuner and the Drifter arrived at Meijersrust to a very warm welcome from Vivienne and Barry Meijer. The farm is on the south-western entrance to Meiringspoort and involved a fair bit of 4x4 driving to get to the Stone Hut where we were staying for 2 nights and some extra rough-road mileage to get to our kick-off destination for various hikes done on the 3 days available. It was an excellent chance for Jen to get some experience over rough roads and she managed beautifully.

We were so comfortable in the Stone Hut, with its spacious outdoor kitchen under roof. Bill and I slept in the back of the Drifter, which is one of my favourite things. Sundowners in the middle of nowhere, with visits from a herd of Eland and a marvellous story session with Vivienne and Barry were some of the special evening treats. A full moon was a glorious addition to the early evenings and 'first-light' mornings. We are so privileged to have access to the wide open spaces and magnificent empty views that this country has to offer.

The ongoing and crippling drought pervades the atmosphere, taking away some of the magic of our surroundings. The dams are mostly empty, or close to being dry. The vegetation is struggling. This made the startling discovery of the flowering Amaryllis, Brunsvigia striata all the more exciting. On the next day, the emerging Haemanthus sanguineus out of the sepia-dry soil was another cause for celebration.

A recent burn partially destroyed a magnificent campsite high-up on the southern slopes of Bloupunt and about 400m from the river, with waterfalls, gorgeous pools and rock-art sites. We are considering asking the Mountain Club to join us on a future trip to the campsite, but only after there has been some significant rain. It would involve about 2km of overnight pack carrying, unless Barry can get that stretch of road fixed, which is impossible under these very dry conditions.

Pelargonium glutinosum was all over the place. Near the rock-art sites, I sat on a rock and right next to me was a rather dry Otholobium swartbergense (Rare). There are two Aspalathus that could be special and Tritoniopsis revoluta, which was a first for me. Jan Vlok id'd Calpurnia intrusa, which I haven't seen very often. After some help from Mr Fab, one of the Psoraleas was id'd as Psoralea sordida, which has still to be evaluated for the Red List status. Common old Leucadendron salignum was stunning in scarlet. Good rains and Spring combined could give us a much better haul of Rares.

After a magical three days, we were sorry to leave. But it was "Au Revoir", because we will be back.

We went our separate ways on Saturday en route home. Jenny, Kath and Sandra took in Lisl Barry's exquisite art exhibition, "Birds of a Feather" at the KKNK in Oudtshoorn. Bill and I went east to recce the southern slopes of the Eastern Swartberg via Oulap. When we turned west for home, we took the road along the southern foothills of the Kammanassie below Mannetjiesberg. From afar the vegetation looks as if the post-burn regeneration is going well. "So many places - So little time!"


Die Klip is Dood
A lost rock-chase
When the Meijersrust family of six eland and larger than life owner Barry and wife Vivienne all arrived at the Stone Cottage early evening it was hard to decide where to look and who to listen to!

The farm comes with a host of its own stories! This one as told by Vivienne...............
Long, long ago two young boys visit. It is the erstwhile farm of their uncle. As boys do, they start scaling the koppie near the homestead, marking their progress and exuberance by throwing ever larger stones and later rocks – the higher they go. With energy and enthusiasm at its peak, they reach the top and nudge a massive rock down the slope.

In its path, on the farm house stoep, sits Ouma with a ‘stukkie hekelwerk’ - no match for a careening rock heading her way. It takes a fraction of a split second for the two lads to realise the potential ‘squashed Ouma’ outcome of their fervour. They chase after the crashing rock. By now Vivienne ís the story. Standing up, her arms and legs pumping urgently - exactly as those of the two boys in their frantic tearing rush after the ill-fated rock. Two thirds down the slope, a reprieve. A barrier diverts the rock away from dearest Ouma, but now it speeds straight towards the homes of the volkies (farm staff). The boys are way behind and frantic, but then see the rock come to a dead standstill.

Most of the farm staff froze and watched the oncoming, inevitable disaster with open mouths, but now they are all in motion - dancing around the still rock. Hearts bursting with terror the boys hear the volkies chant: ‘Dis dood! Dis dood!’ Mortification spurs them on. Who is dead? What is dead? One of the staff? A child? A dog, a rooster? Who, who, tell us!
‘Dis die klip. Die klip is dood’!


A long weekend in the Baviaanskloof
20/24th March 2019
At last Evie made it into the Baviaanskloof. It has been on the list for some time. Nicky and I joined a South Cape Mountain Club meet. A few days beforehand we were told that a flash flood in the Kloof had resulted in our campsite being submerged by piles of river silt and black mud! Not wanting to miss out on the weekend we all said ”No problem" – knowing how much intense sunlight the area is exposed to, it will soon dry out.

Well – we arrived at Bokloof Campsite in the upper part of the Baviaanskloof, on Wednesday afternoon, to watch as piles of mud were being scraped away from the ablution block by an able team of workers. It was still muddy – we tried to choose the driest sites- in the full sun. We ended up having a wonderful camp – despite grovelling in the dirt for the first 2 days. Thereafter it did dry out. Luckily, this kind of dirt washes off easily in the shower and in the river. The rains and flash flood did make the access roads a bit more of an adventure into the unknown, and luckily added a lot more greenery to an area that has had a long and hard drought.

The Baviaanskloof is a remote area off the N9 in the Eastern Cape. The lower parts of the kloof are only accessible by 4X4s. Baviaans has that special, isolated and long forgotten old fashioned atmosphere. Amazing geology and sandstone rock features, with umpteen side gorges to explore. We had 3 days of exploring some of the smaller side kloofs cutting into the main Baviaans ridgeline on the northern side and a full day climbing up to reach a peak at 1242 m on the Ridgeline. The vegetation in the side kloofs was cool and green – mostly sandy dry riverbeds and super trees of all sizes. Special in this area is the Willowmore cedar (Widdringtonia schwarzii). Numerous colourful flowers, mostly Selago sp. exist in sunny corners. Nicky, who took photographs of all sorts of living bits in the kloof and on the hillsides will be making these available to all, once she posts them on iNat. For her, a first was the clump-forming stem-succulent Tridentea gemmiflora.

Obviously, I had to join the Peak outing - full sun all day, but at least there were some cool gusts at higher altitude. The fynbos was remarkable, and so very different to my normal outings into the Outeniqua mountains. Special Erica of the day – was E. pectinifolia – loads of bushes and small trees of this gorgeous hairy, pink and white large-tubed Erica. An unusual, and for me unknown, hairy tubular Erica was found only on the Peak area, while good populations of other Erica’s were possibly E. andreaei and E. rosacea. (Jen id'd the unknown Erica as E. sparrmanii - ed)

The Protea plants were certainly there - mostly only on higher ground, P. neriifolia, P. punctata, the pine-needle Leucadendron nobile – very special to this area, with numerous plants at higher altitude; Leucadendron spissifolium subsp. phillipsii, Leucospermum cuneiforme and royenifolium. At last I have seen an abundance of Agathosma mucronulata – it was all over the ridges. There was a dominance of grey Aspalathus kougaensis. Otherwise good populations of other Aspalathus, Agathosma, Phylica, and Selago species, all still to be id’d.

As always – far too much to absorb in one day of uphill. Glad to notice that there were no alien threats at all on high levels. Then the hot afternoon downhill run – and a lucky find “a big washed out gat’, in a flowing river on the way home.
De Grote Kosyn
MCSA hike on 17th March 2019
On Sunday 17th March I joined the MCSA hacking and alien removal hike to De Grote Kosyn led by Jane Luck. As meet leader, she kindly agreed that as the hike was a there-and-back, I could go at my own pace, photographing flowers, insects, frogs and whatever else caught my eye. I was keen to see what had changed since my last visit in 2017, which was shortly after the area had been burnt.

Although there were some puddles of water, the ground was dry and there was not the diversity of plants I have seen on previous visits. I did spot a Cape River Frog (Amietia fuscigula) trying very hard not to be seen in one of the muddy, shallow pools along the path and the large purple flowers of Polygala teretifolia could not be missed, but otherwise the vegetation looked rather sad. I found 4 plants of Hermannia bifaria. This is the Hermannia that David Gwynne Evans identified as a ‘lost’ specimen after my last visit. The name is still not recognised by iNaturalist.

Due to the lack of diversity and not taking so many photographs, I had time to walk through the section of Afrotemperate forest and into the tall fynbos on the other side. There the display of Ericas and Proteaceae was beautiful, even the odd Hakea that had escaped the clippers and panga wielders could not spoil the view.

While wandering through this head-high and higher fynbos, I met the first of the other hikers on their return to the cars. They had enjoyed a swim in the Grote Kosyn, but it was time for me to turn around and head back to the start, without even seeing the deep, water-worn fissure on the Palmiet River. Before long, all the hikers had passed me, but I don’t think I kept them waiting too long at the finish, most of my photography had been done on the way in!


Field Trips
Currently the weather forecast is behaving very irrationally and can't make up its mind. So if it's hot and we can get permission from Heine Muller, SIM will be visiting Spioenkop to see Dioscorea burchelli in flower. If it's raining, we will do some more exploring on the northern side of the Robinson Pass. We will have more clarity by Wednesday evening.

LOT will be exploring a section of the Herbertsdale road on Thursday.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

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 covered by Southern Cape Herbarium - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/southern-cape-aoi
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
Gamkaberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gamkaberg
Gerickes Punt - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gerickes-punt#/places/gerickes-punt
Gouriqua - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gouriqua-private-nature-reserve
Gouritzmond - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/the-gouritsmond-commonage
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
Knysna - Westford Bridge https://www.inaturalist.org/places/westford-bridge-estate-knysna
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/hartenbos-heuwels

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
Outeniquas Bobbejaanberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-bobbejanberg-in-the-outeniquas
Outeniquas Camferskloof - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-camferskloof
Outeniquas, Collinshoek and the Big Tree - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outenoquas-collinshoek-and-the-big-tree
Outeniquas - Cradock and George Peak Trail - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/cradock-peak-trail
Outeniquas Doringrivier East - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-doringrivier-east-in-the-outeniquas
Outeniquas East - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-eastern-outeniquas-from-bergplaas-to-gouna
Outeniquas Eseljagt - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/ezeljagt-eseljagt-and-surrounds
Outeniquas Eseljagtpoort - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/ezeljagts-poort-72-ptn-0-eseljagt-poort
Outeniquas Flanagans Rock - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/flanagans-rock-rsa
Outeniquas Lange Berg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/lange-berg-112
Outeniquas Montagu Pass North - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-montagu-pass-north
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-wes
Outeniquas Pizza Ridge - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-pizza-ridge
Outeniquas Southern Traverse - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-outeniqua-southern-traverse
Robberg Corridor - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/robberg-coastal-corridor-krans-hoek-432-ptn-5
Robberg Corridor - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/robberg-coastal-corridor-e8267c6b-9263-4a87-a721-a24619be6dc8
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 Bloupunt - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-bloupunt-swartberg
Swartberg Spitskop - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-spitskop-to-meiringspoort-swartberg
Swartberg, Swartberg Pass to Bothashoek high and low - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/swartberg-pass-to-bothashoek-jeep-track-and-crag-route
Swartberg Waboomsberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/waboomsberg-in-the-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
Witteberg Kromme Rivier - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/kromme-rivier-72-ptn-0-willowmore

Outramps CREW Stellenbosch HAT node
Jonkershoek created by Vynbos - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/jonkershoek-cv
Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/mont-rochelle-nature-reserve
Papegaaiberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/papegaaiberg

Outramps Projects on iNaturalist
Ericas of the Southern Cape - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/ericas-of-the-southern-cape
Fungi of the Southern Cape - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/fungi-of-the-southern-cape
Geranicaceae of the Southern Cape - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/geraniaceae-of-the-southern-cape-of-south-africa
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

Flowers of the High Drakensberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/flowers-of-the-high-kzn-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
DFKIAA - A very funny video in Afrikaans is doing the rounds. It refers to the current power outages.

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