Sundays Walk Baviaans

Hi All,
What a lovely walk we had in Beautiful Baviaans, the drive there through the lovely Gamtoos Valley and Baviaans with the majestic mountains and huge trees, good for the soul !
Such a pity that there were so few of us. The kloof on Tiekie Smith`s farm was very special,the predominant, trees were the Outenique Yellowoods –Afrocarpus falcatus, Forest- elder — Nuxia floribunda, and White Stinkwood — Celtis Africana. Some other trees I have included photos. It was also good having a couple of “Birders ” with us to help with Iding the calls.
Many thanks to Tish for organising the outing.

Sunday Walk in Baviaans

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‘Dendro’+ Outing -Bushbuck Gardens- St. Francis/?Krom way 29-05-16

As luck would have it this ended up being an exceptional day, weather-wise as well as minds and surrounds-wise, with a good representation from local and PE dendro, CREW grps. etc. with a few other talents thrown in the ‘mix’: the odd historian, a linguist, birders, landscapers, (budding and established) authors, and probably a lot more, NOT forgetting our new-found ‘tree-scaler’ who managed to drop otherwise unidentifiable leaf samples down from the tree canopy to the more serious ‘ID’ers below.
The forest yielded a vast number of tree species.
Most surprising of all was the unusual abundance of Lachnostylis hirta (Coalwood). There was so much of it one would even be tempted to put to test the claim by Eve Palmer that it makes ‘good fuel and excellent charcoal’. Although the common name makes total sense, it is difficult to get one’s mind around the fact that this tree is related to the Aloe-like Euphorbias!
The well-named Nuxia floribunda (Forest Elder) not surprisingly belonging to the Buddleja family, was fairly abundant too.
A tree which Lloyd pointed out as being pretty ‘special’ was Lauridia reticulata. There were also quite a number of specimens of its’ more common ‘sister’ species L. tetragona which is more recognisable with its’ 4-angled stem (tetra=4; gonum=angle). Strangely, most members of this Spike-thorn family (Celastraceae) seem NOT to have thorns.! Other non-armed members of this family that we saw were Pteracelastrus tricuspidatus (Candlewood), Maytenus undata (Koko tree), Maytenus acuminata (Silky bark), Robsonodenron eucleiforme (Mock Silky Bark) and Cassine peragua (Forest Spoonwood or Bastard Saffron). An armed member of this family that was found in the forest was Gymnosporia nemorosa (White Spotted Forest Spike-thorn).
Another ARMED shrub /tree but growing in full sun on the forest periphery belonged to the Gardenia family (Rubiaceae): the very thorny Canthium spinosum (Thorny Turkey Berry). Also spotted Canthium mundianum (Rock Alder) and Canthium inerme (Turkey Berry, ‘droog-my-keel’ etc.), which often has thorns despite the specific name implying otherwise! Burchellia bubalina (Wild Pomegranate) –also Gardenia family member but no thorns- was also enjoying the forest margins.
More thorns: Carissa sp. (Num num) -Oleander family- with its’ non-spiny but more dangerous relative Acokanthera oppositifolia (or was it oblongifolia?) -Bushmen’s Poison-
Members of the Wild Peach family (Flacourtiaceae) -some controversy between experts in Pretoria and C.T. whether or not this family does exist!- included the extremely armed Scolopia zeyherii (Thorny Pear) seen on the forest outskirts, and Scolopia mundii (Red Pear) in the forest -armed OR unarmed.
More unarmed species spotted: Olea capensis (Ironwood) -both subsp. macrocarpa as well as capensis , our reliable friend Olea europaea subsp. africana (Wild Olive) and aptly-named Chionanthus foveolatus (Pock Ironwood) needless to say from the Olive family, Oleaceae.
(Ebonaceae) Ebony family members were represented by both Euclea schimperii and E. undulata (various ‘Guarri’s’), the former more tree-like, and Diospyros dichrophylla (Star-apple, but I prefer the Afrikaans word describing the fruit: ‘Tolbos’), usually a shrub but very much a tree in parts of this forest!.
Calodendrum capense (Cape Chesnut) would be lovely seen in FULL flower (hint for a re-visit: Garth!). Am sure 1 or 2 specimens of Vepris lanceolata (White Ironwood) were spotted, and the lovely strong smell of Agathosma spp. (Buchu) of the same Citrus family (Rutaceae) was ever-present.
Others: Apodytes dimidiata (White Pear), Afrocarpus falcatus (Outeniqua /Common Yellowood), Olinia ventosa (Hard Pear), Tarchonanthus camforatus (Camphor Bush etc.) or was the species trilobus?? , Curtisia dentata (Assegaai), Cussonia spicata (Cabbage Tree) competing for light with other forest trees and therefore growing uncharacteristically very tall!, Hippobromus pauciflorus (inaptly-named False Horsewood), Schotia latifolia (Broad-leaved Boerboon) and the shrubs Ochna serrulata and Osyris compressa. The latter was pointed out by our author /historian friend as being a plant which was used commercially in the early Baviaanskloof days to tan Baboon hides!!
With thks. to our Chairman for forfeiting a boat-trip to share his knowledge with us, as well as Jenny for her assistance. Her organisational skills are invaluable in keeping such societies going.
Congrats. to our hosts Garth and Denise Perry for their wisdom in appreciating and maintaining the Virgin bush with all the treasures it has to offer. May they be inspiration to other land-owners!
Thanks to Susan for the article and Lloyd for the photos

Outing to Innie-Kloof

On Sunday the 24th April 2016 a well represented group of members visited this farm which is based ± 12 km due north of Hankey.The farm offers a picnic area with toilet ,braai and chalet facilities and typical valley bushveld vegetation.The area is crisscrossed by several clearwater streams and is also a favourite birding venue.Although alien vegetation such as a few cluster pines is present it is noticibly less than other venues visited in the recent past (no black wattle).The area offers various short marked trails and primarily the long entrance road that runs parallel to a typical baviaanskloof type clearwater river.Podocarpus Falcatus and Kiggelaria Africana are common and some huge Celtis Africana were viewed.The connoiseurs found some interesting species such as Clutia Pulchella and Andrachne Ovalis.Jenny and Susan as usual were fountains of tree knowledge and shared information on tree identification chararacteristics,scientific and common names,and various other topics.a Total of ± 40 species of trees and climbers were identified.This venue offers a representative sample of valley bushveld and is worth a visit by any enthusiastic nature lover.

KUDU KAYA 27-28 February 20

What a wonderful outing to Kudu Kaya, we arrived on the Saturday and the accommodation was very special,a rustic cottage next to a little
stream with the stoep facing the mountains and beautiful trees on our doorstep. The weather was stunning and we had a couple of “Bird
Ladies”who helped to ID some of the many birds….
Russell was asked by the owners to put information labels on some of the trees, and Neil and Russell did all the hard work.
On the Sunday we walked up the Kloof along the little YS river with some huge Trees, the most common being White stinkwood (Celtis
africana), Forest elder ( Nuxia floribuda ), Outeniqua yellowwood ( Afrocarpus falcatus ),Cape holly ( ilex mitis ),Broom-cluster fig ( Ficus sur),
Some others seen– White milkwood (Sideroxylon imerme ), Buig-my-nie ( Smelophyllum capense ). Keurboom ( Virgilia oroboides),Cape
beech (Rapanea melanophloeos ),White pear ( Apodytes dimidiata ), Koko tree ( Maytenus undata ),False horsewood ( Hippobromus pausiflorus
), Red elder ( Cunonia capense ) also very special were quite a few Cape gardenias (Rothmannia capensis ) and some even had fruit.
The stream had a large number of River Red fins ( Rooivlerkies ), it was wonderful seeing these little fish that are critically endangered and only
found in a few of our rivers
This is a working citrus farm owned by Petrus and Helene van der Watt and they have numerous little cottages along the stream and a lovely
camp site and all blend in with the citrus trees.
Well worth a visit


We had a lovely walk yesterday in the beautiful Forest. The weather was great and after the recent rains it was damp and “earthy ” and the trees were looking good, we did find a small area where all the trees seem to be dying. What could be causing this ?They were close together below the path. The small leaved Ironwood (Olea capensis ssp capensis ) was in flower all over , quite a sight.Also starting to flower were the Wild Plum ( Harpephyllum caffrum ) and the Kamassi ( Gonioma kamassi ). We saw a Wild pomergranate ( Burchellia bubalina )which looked very different from the usual one, it had orange flowers and much smaller leaves.The Tree Orchids (Cyrtorchis arcuata) were spectacular.
In the Flower Reserve at the 2nd circle the Krantz Ash ( Atalaya capensis ) was coming into flower and the Buig-my-nie ( Smelophyllum capense ) was in full flower. Both trees don`t flower very often so it was quite a treat to see them, could be all the lovely rains !
We finished off with a braai at the designated braai area made by FOVS with raised braai places, lovely benches and tables, made by Rudi from the invasive trees removed from the Reserve.Thank you FOVS.
Good company and a lovely walk made a special day

Van Stadens Forest Walk

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CANDLEWOOD ESTATE Maitlands 26 July 2015

What a beautiful day, what a beautiful walk but such a poor turnout.
Only Rasheed,Thomas,Krag, Jemma, there 2 young lads Kyle and Wyatt and myself.
Rasheed and Thomas worked many weekends clearing the path .A big thankyou to them both for all the time and effort.

Tha Candlewood Estate is a private Reserve and we were privileged to have access to the walking trail.
The Costal Forest interspersed with Fynbos is very interesting ,lying on the southern side of the hill, because of the recent rains it was very wet.
The Buchu (Agathosma stenopetala ) was plentiful with beautiful flowers and fragrance .Other flowers seen included Felicias, Carpobrotus,Metalasia,Euryops,Nylanda spinosa(Tortoise Berry )
The Dune Olive (Olea exasperate) was flowering and the Cat Thorn (Scutia myrtina ) and the Num Num (Carissa bispinosa ) had fruit ,much to the delight of little Kyle who knew all the edible berries.

Other Trees spotted were Small Knobwood ( Zanthoxylon capense ),Karoo boer-boon (Schotia afra ),Fury Kooboo Berry (Mystroxylon aethiopicum ),Sea Guarrie ( Euclea racemosa), Candlewood (Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus),Spoonwood with its orange roots and bark (Cassine peragua ), White Milkwood (Sideroxylon inerme ), thorny Sweet Thorn ( Acacia karoo )and on the margin of the forest a clump of Cape Beech (Rapanea meelanophloeos) and many more trees and shrubs.
Towards the top of the hill are some very large trees Outenique Yellowwood ( Afrocarpus falcatus ), Cape Teak, not seen very often (Strychnos decussata), Cheesewood ( Pittosporum viridiflorum ), White Ironwood (Vepris lanceolata ) and White Pear ( Apodytes dimidiata )

To end the morning we had lunch on Rasheed`s deck with a beautiful view of the sea and the odd whale in the distance.

Candlewood Estate

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Island Forest Reserve Forest

After the initial disappointment with NMMU not bothering to answer their emails and get their student projects on track, we had a really super outing. Naturally, I hope the others enjoyed it as much as Lorien and I did, as we got separated and went hell for leather to make it to the end of the trail and back. When we arrived at reception after four hours we were the first ones home, not sure how that happened. Anyway, having not eaten after leaving the Karoo at 6am, we headed for the Elephant Walk for lunch.

After living in Seaview for 37 years I just cannot believe that I have never done the long Bushbuck trail in the Island Forest Reserve, it is simply stunning. Besides the Cape teaks, Koeboe berries, White ironwoods, Perdepiss. Cheesewoods, Yellowwoods, Cape chestnut, Guarries, White stinkwoods, Candlewoods to name a few, the White milkwoods were just out of this world.

There were so many old gnarled specimens over 300 years old that I just couldn’t stop trying to photograph them. This was quite difficult under the canopy with very little ambient light available. I have attached some photos that just does not begin to do justice to the scenes we witnessed in the forest. We also saw three bushbuck and a myriad of birds. The trail was well signposted and kept clear of fallen trees and shrubs.

We have taken note of the alien invasion and hopefully we can urge the authorities to take action. While it is very easy to point fingers at the cause of the problem, this unfortunately does nothing to alleviate the woes. The only way to get it right is to engage with them and help fix the problem. As with the rehabilitation of the Colleen Glen Wetland, once we showed the way, the Metro was quick to join in and offer assistance,. Hopefully with the same modus operandi we can get similar results. The Island Forest is definitely a gem worth getting back into shape.

Many thanks to Wayne Erlank from Eastern Cape Parks and Babalwe from the Island Forest Reserve for helping with the arrangements and proving a ranger to help us in the right direction.

Our next outing is to Koffylaagte Game Lodge at the end of May. I would like to propose that we bring it forward a week to the weekend of the 23/24th May if possible?  I have a BBC Film Crew arriving on the 28th May for a week so will be unavailable on that weekend. Arrangements with regard to the weekends plans to be emailed in due course.

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Maitland’s river, Sleepy Hollow

This was a beautiful section of the Maitland’s River a few km up from the mouth. We saw a magnificent Broom cluster fig, Ficus Sur, the quite rare Coffee pear, Smelophyllum capense, the largely unknown Forest cherry, Maerua racemulosa. We also visited the old gold mines on the property.

Alexandria Forest, Kaba Farm

This is the most stunning farm adjacent to the Alexandria Forest. The lodge where we stayed looks over Bird Island and the largest gannetry on earth. There were some very old Cape teaks, Strycnos decussata and Cape Boxwood, Buxus Macowanii. The boxwoods have a very limited distribution in the Eastern Cape only occurring on this farm and the adjacent one. There is another population in the North of the country.

Hogsback, Madonna and child trail

The trail winds its way down from the little village through some massive trees to a beautiful waterfall. We saw massive Lemonwood, White Stinkwood, Celtis africana, Knobwood, Zanthoxylon capense and many others. We managed to ring bark some black wattles we found growing in the river.

Thornhill, Journey’s End farm

The farm is situated at the end of the road which leads onto the sandy beach between Van Staaden’s and Gamtoos Rivers. Just before the sand dunes start the road goes through a perfect example of coastal thicket. The endemic Dwarf beeches, Rapanea gilliana, were laden with fruit and we managed to collect about four kgs. This was dispatched to Mandy Fick at New Plant nursery at Victoria Bay and the seedlings are doing very well. Hopefully we will see a lot more of them in people’s coastal gardens in the future. There were also plenty of Dune olives, Olea exasperata. We had lunch and a bottle of wine overlooking the longest sandy beach in South Africa!

Baviaans Kloof, Ys Rivier

This river, as well as Kruger’s Kloof which right next door, are regular haunts of the tree society. For anyone that has not been to the Baviaans Kloof these two rivers are a must. There are stunning rock pools along the river where one can swim, shaded on each side by a huge diversity of trees. It is not uncommon to find up to 80 species on a single days walk. Other rare trees include the Cape star chestnut, Sturculia alexandri, The Bend-me-not, Smelophyllum capense and the Cape Krantz-ash, Atalaya capensis after which our branch is named. All three are endemics.

Tsitsikamma, Eerste Rivier

This is a great section of the Tsitsikamma coast situated behind the “boerewors curtain”! Luckily one of our members knows someone who has a beach cottage on a cliff overlooking the raging waves. Besides coastal forest there is plenty of coastal Fynbos. We hope to do another outing here in the near future.

Tsitsikamma, De Vasselot Reserve and Kalander Kloof

This reserve has some budget accommodation in the form of forest huts each situated in their very own patch of forest. We were lucky enough to even have a Cape genet visit us in the evening. There are two nice hikes from here. One leads up Kalander kloof adjacent to the old Blaaukrantz pass and is home to the most stunning yellowwoods in the area. The other goes down the river to the sea and the start of the Otter trail.