A trip to Namaqualand

This web page shows a few of the 600 odd pictures we took on our wandering through Namaqualand in Apri 2006.

A typical Namaqualand scene. Miles and miles of apparently nothing.

And yes, the road do just go on for ever. A bad picture. In the distance partially obscured by the picnic shelter is the Gifberg over Van Rynsdorp.

It seems as if there is nothing, but if you stop and look. . . .


The plant you are looking at is smaller than the palm of my hand. Approximately 5 cm across.

And it all grows in the impossible soil!

Like this! Baba boudjies no bigger than the tip of a small finger.

The sunrises are beautiful – Hondeklipbaai.

Quiver trees dot the landscape. The eland apparently like the leaves. You can see the trampled circle where they walk around and around the trunk getting at the lowest branches.

Communal nest are every where that is even vaguely elevated.

These Eland wouldn’t stand still for me to get closer. The eland? Those little dots in the middle distance!

Who says nature isn’t geometrical?

Rock formations are many and varied. The bones of the earth stick out all over. This one was interesting, not only for the layers of strata but also because it rang when hit with a hammer.

Messelaars Pass. All dry wall supports. A work of engineering in a dry, dry land.

This poor guy had lost a leg. Maybe one reason he stuck around to be photgraphed.

“If I lie still enough you won’t see me. At worst case you will see my gaudy tail!” This was one of many lizards that inhabited the walk to the most inhospitable setting for a jail that I can imagine.

The Jail. Again dry wall with a bit of mud work here and there. In summer the area soars to well ove 45 degrees centrigrade and this is in a valley. It must have been terrible in mid-summer and of course the winters aren’t exactly warm either. This is winter rainfall region.

I must admit, I did not expect to see quiver trees flowering. How I thought that they reproduced, I am not certain. The pollinator? Lots of little birds, but if you need to know aim that question at a botanist.

Me! Looking far too pleased with myself. The silence, the beauty of the area and the company made for a wonderful trip.

The company? Amanda, who is very easy to photograph!

Lunch in Springbok. Don’t you like the vivid colours. Possibly a buffer against too much dry dun coloured Namaqualand.

A broken flower. A pity, but a wonderful photo opportunity.

Here is a whole one. Amazingly they stand in this desert type sand and blaze out of the dun coloured landscape. The leaves don’t appear till after the flower is dead. Kinda back to front, but there.

The Kroon. The mountain that gives this little dorp its name. Kamies was apparently a chief in the area and the top of the mountain reminded his people of his hat. Hence Kamieskroon.

On the way home. Gifberg near Van Rynsdorp. If you are wondering about the colouring, it is because it was raining. Amanda snapped this one through the rain and it is a beautiful shot.

Disas on Table Mountain

I climbed Table Mountain and found the red disas that endemic to table mountain. Red Disas or more accurately, Table Mountain Disas is the flower that the Western Cape sports teams use as their emblem.

Aside from nearly killing myself in the climb up, it was an amazing experience and well worth the sore legs.

The really nice thing about being in the richest floral kingdom on earth is that there are ALWAYS a number of species flowering, no matter what time of the year you go out looking. This trip was no different.

Just to give you some idea of the difference between our floral kingdom and the rest of the world, Table Mountain alone has more flowering species than the entire United Kingdom has.

Here are some of those pictures:

I went up Skeleton Gorge and you can see the steepness of the trek.

Me. I had to prove I was there and not looking too exhausted.

The top. At last! Muizenberg in the distance and False Bay in the background.

An unidentified blommie until I looked it up and lo and behold, another disa! Disa Ferruginea. Pays to do some reseach doesn’t it?

King Protea (Protea Cynoroides). The dew drops are for real. I was up there very early.

Campylostachys cernua. I was sorry I looked this one up. Blommie is so much easier to spell.

Gladiolus Monticola. I think. If you are a botanist, break it to me genly if I have gotten it wrong, but it is rather photogenic.

And here ladies and gentlemen is the star of the show. Disa Uniflora, the red disa, pride of table mountain. Take your pick. Pretty isn’t it and really worth the walk.

This guy came out to see what all the fuss was about and kindly agreed to be photographed.

More gladiolus? There were lots of them and they really look much better than the pictures make them out to be.

There were literally hundreds of disas. They are DIFFICULT to photograph. They live in dark holes surrounded by bright sunlight. Metering the camera is a nightmare and camera shake quite a common problem.

A waterfall. It had disas in it, but I couldn’t get disas and the waterfall, so just imagine disas!

He joined me for lunch.

More Disas!

This scene was so much like something from Lord of the Rings, I just had to take it. The End of the Road!

Agathapanthus Africanus. Growing wild on the Back Table.

Hely Hutchison reservoirs on the Back Table and the end of the disa route.

The way down. Nursery Ravine. And believe me it doesn’t nurse anyone!