A visit to Kapteinskloof that nearly wasn’t

 On Friday September 11th 2015 there was a plan for the Outramps to do a follow-up on a previous visit to a property in the Robberg Coastal Corridor, but I called it off as it was pouring with rain and predicted to do so until the early afternoon (it did stop at about 11.30).   Arrangements were made with Hazel Jonker to visit her property, Kapteinskloof, on September 18th.

From the beginning of the week the weather forecasts did not look good…lots of rain predicted for the area. As the week progressed, less rain was forecast. Should we go? …Should we cancel? The farm is in the Karoo…let’s go…It was raining when I woke up, but I picked up the others as planned. Gail even called to ask if we were going (we were just about at her gate), the windscreen wipers working hard. The Eastenders met the Westenders at the Engen garage in George and after a bit of discussion we decided to go for it. Two car loads of Outramps headed over the pass. The rain continued, visibility wasn’t great, but as we got over the pass it started to clear and it had just about stopped raining when we bundled out of the cars at the entrance to Kapteinskloof to meet Hazel. She welcomed us very warmly and directed us to some good flower spots. A lot of the mesems and daisies were still closed, but we could already see that we had an interesting day ahead and with the weather improving all the time, we could concentrate on the plants!

The fossicking started at the cars, cameras clicked as we spread out to see what we could find. About an hour later we were all only a few hundred metres from the cars. There was so much to see and as the weather cleared flowers started to open. We spread out so we could cover more ground. Some of those seen: Lampranthus haworthii, Microloma sagittatum, Crassothonna alba, Dicoma picta, Phymaspermum leptophyllum (Threatened), Rosenia humilis, Moraea polyanthos, Tylecodon ventricosus, Agathosma sp. nov. (lanata), Hyobanche glabrata, Holothrix villosa var. villosa, Hyobanche sanguinea, Cyanella lutea, Drosanthemum bicolor (DDT), a possible range extension for Trachyandra jacquiniana, Euphorbia clandestina, Senecio cotyledonis …some we have often seen before, others we have not, but all were looking healthy and somewhat ‘bigger’ after the rain. The list continues to grow as we closely examine our photographs and get help from the experts on iSpot. Keep a look out for additions to the project.

Mid-afternoon we regrouped at the cars and after some intensive plant identification using copies of Vlok’s book and making some purchases at Sally’s Cheese Shop, we bundled back into the cars and headed home. The outing to Kapteinskloof was very fruitful (flowerful) and during the next few weeks some of the many pictures we took will be added to the Kapteinskloof project on ispot: http://www.ispotnature.org/projects/kapteinskloof.

Hazel, thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to fossick on your lovely piece of land. We really enjoyed our time there and agreed there is a lot more to explore. We will take up your offer to return, hopefully in the not too distant future.

Nicky van Berkel


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