Saturday, 24 December 2016

Gonioma Heights, The Shute and Erica Kloof

For our last walk before Christmas, Anne suggested that we walk to Erica Kloof - a small wooded stream that we have not previously visited. On the drive to that part of the reserve we noticed some of the highly invasive Campuloclinium macrocephalum at the roadside and stopped so we could deal with them before they can invade the reserve. We parked in the same place we use when visiting Hazel Ridge but this time we headed westwards towards the Umtamvuna River gorge and onto Gonioma Heights.

In the grassland we found a few Brachycorythis pubescens.

Brachycorythis pubescens
At Gonioma Heights we found Psydrax obovata in full flower and then made our way down a steep slope towards the next forested gulley. Growing in the shade below the taller trees we found several of the delicate shrubby Polygala gazensis and above them were some fruits of Diospyros villosa with their golden irritating hairs, which show up well in the photo below.

Psydrax obovata
Polygala gazensis
Diospyros villosa
We sheltered from the heat for a while next to a crystal-clear pool in the riverine forest before tackling the grassy slope, heading coastwards.
The clear mountain stream
Along this steep grassy slope Pachycarpus asperifolius was the dominant flower, accompanied occasionally by Relhania pungens.

Pachycarpus asperifolius
Relhania pungens
We finally reached Erica Kloof - we have yet to determine why the kloof is so named as we saw no Erica nearby - and stopped in the shady stream bed for lunch. Suitably refueled, we pressed on coastwards until we reached the next stream. This is the stream we previously reached when walking upstream from Manilkara Meander, so now we have covered this area between Manilkara Meander and Hazel Ridge at least once. Here we found a few Aspalathus dahlgrennii in flower.

On the way back we found a small forest patch just below a wetland. While there was nothing of special note in this forest patch, we did find a several small invasive Acacia longifolia which Anne and I promptly dealt with. In the wetland above we found Satyrium sphaerocarpum - unfortunately all past their best. Sticking out above the grass were several dried flowers of Crabbea nana.

Interesting textures of dry Crabbea nana flowers
Best wishes for a peaceful festive season from Pondoland CREW
Participants: Anne S, Debbie K, Dorothy M, Graham G, Kate G, Uschi T.

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