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Flowers Archives - Walk in Africa
23 Feb

Botanic, photographic, erotic

I am unashamedly crazy about orchids - especially indigenous South African Orchids. Anyone who has walked with me on Table Mountain when the conspicuous orchids are flowering will attest to this. Now is the time when the Red Disa (Disa uniflora) flowers and every year I make at least a few pilgrimages in order to see this magnificent flower.   For thousands of years humans have associated orchid flowers with sexuality. In fact the name "orchid" derives from the Greek word "orkhis" which means a testicle. As long ago as 2,014 years...

2 Feb

Decoration, pollination in the fynbos

On a spectacular clear summer day I was walking close to the top of Table Mountain when I noticed these beautiful metallic groove-winged flower beetles (Family Melyridae) on the flower of a Tinder Bush (Hermas villosa). While the plant has been used medicinally and practically for thousands of years very little is known about these beautiful jewel-like beetles. In addition to decorating the fynbos and brightening my day, they certainly seem to be likely candidates for pollinating these flowers....

9 Dec

The Queen and The Sailor

On Saturday I hiked up The Matroosberg, which at 2249 metres (7379 ft) is the highest mountain in the Western Cape. When viewed from the south side the mountain has a feature which is said to resemble a sailor standing alongside a ship. This explains the Afrikaans name Matroosberg, which means "sailor mountain". From the peak, the views are spectacular and there are excellent and breathtaking views of the exposed geological folding that created these mountains. Unfortunately my camera which earlier in the year was destroyed by an elephant, has...

10 Nov

Swords and Turkeys in the mountains

Living and hiking in The Cape Floral Kingdom is an absolute privilege. With more than 9,000 plant species in this tiny area, it is no surprise that I regularly encounter beautiful flowers that I have never seen or noticed before. Recently I was walking in the Cederberg on a glorious cloudless spring day, when I noticed this strikingly beautiful Gladiolus, which I had never seen before. As I continued walking it became apparent that this species was abundant. So although I have walked in this area often and at a similar...

29 Sep

Dream flowers

Some people to whom I spoke said that this flower season in The Cape was exceptional, while others told me that it was average. Whatever other people's subjective views the flower display has been incredible for me. I have had the opportunity to see flowers from the north of Namaqualand to Cape Town and from the West Coast to The Cederberg. And I have been fortunate enough to visit and revisit some of these places in subsequent months. This season I have had the joy of seeing several species that I had...

2 Jun

Beautiful Desert Flowers

By the time you receive this newsletter I will be on a new adventure, about which you will receive news at a later date. However today I am thinking about the beautiful flowers which I saw earlier in the year in the Succulent Karoo. The genus Polygala is a very large genus with wide distribution throughout the world. They are recognisable by their wing-like flowers with stamens and style protruding like a brush. This Karoo specimen was clearly recognisable as a Polygala, but because of its desert habitat it possesses thicker succulent...

8 Apr

The Succulent Karoo

I have recently returned from an extended stay in the Succulent Karoo. one of the unique biomes of South Africa. To many people this arid region appears boring and of little ecological value however nothing could be further from the truth. This area has the greatest plant diversity of any arid area in the world and is home to a staggering 3,000 different succulent species. Many of these bear showy flowers when conditions are suitable and most (like that shown below) are members of the Mesembryanthemaceae (sometimes classified as Aizoacaea).   As...

24 Feb

Surprises with the Norwegians

I went walking on Table Mountain with Elin from Get Africa Travel and some of her friends.   I promised them a surprise (overraskelse), but even I was surprised by the unexpected surprises! First we saw our National Flower Protea cynaroides and Elin looked very surprised.   Then we saw Disa graminifolia, the Blue Disa . . . and I was ecstatic. These flowers make me so happy.   And then we were surprised by yet another orchid from the genus Disa - Disa ferruginea, the cluster disa.   And finally we saw the surprise that I had promised...

27 Jan

The very best job in the world

Recently I guided a fantastic walk up Table Mountain with a group of Swedes. It was great fun to be with them because they were energetic and enthusiastic. They all work in the wine industry in a wonderful country so I thought they had a pretty good work life. I was therefore a little taken aback when at our lunch-stop, someone said to me "Wow! You have the very best job in the world". And as the day wore-on and we were treated to the sight of the very first Disa uniflora...

11 Nov

November is the new Pink

In this floral wonderland that is currently my home I notice temporal patterns in the colours of the flowers. In mid-summer we have a predominance of red flowers and this is certainly correlated with the emergence of the Mountain Pride Butterfly (Aeropetes tulbaghia), which is attracted to the colour red. Right now as we pass from Spring into Summer I see the hills covered in beautiful flowers, with a definite preponderance of the colour PINK (or variations thereof - Cerise, Rose, Fuchsia, Magenta, Lavender). I went for a short walk this evening...