They had the baboon monitors in the hills that day to drive them back into the hills.  Baboons are a huge problem that is carefully controlled.  They also had a police presence as a hiker had been mugged by someone ‘unsavory’ the previous day.  They try very hard to protect their tourists.  It is their lifeblood.  According to their website, Fernkloof is along the Kleinrivier Mountain Range.  It comprises over 2,000 hectares of mountain “and coastal fynbos, and as such is an integral part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the six recognized Floral Kingdoms of the world. There is no other place on earth where so many different species can be seen growing in such close proximity.

To date about l,600 species have been identified and are now housed in the Hermanus Herbarium at Fernkloof – more than in the entire United Kingdom.”  I joined the Hermanus Botanical Society while there. What a worthy cause they are undertaking.  I could retire there! 

Geraldine took us to the nursery attached to them, and I obtained my prized ‘Gengold’ (seized later).  The owner, Cathy, was a great sport about it.  Geraldine kindly took Elizabth and myself to her home for  homemade lemonade. 

We next headed to Port Elizabeth where we would fly to Johannesburg.  From there we would drive to Kruger National Park.  We spent the next night in Knysna.  This is a town located along a salt water lagoon.  It is the largest one in Africa.  We stayed at a bed and breakfast.  It was excellent as were all the places we found.  The estuary in their backyard was a national protected park. 

We moved on to Storm River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park.  This park boasts the longest suspension bridge in Africa and some very violent surf.

The roads were lined with tall blooming ericas.  I believe they were Erica formosa.

I cannot even begin to convey the wonders of the Cape and Garden Route I saw in this article. 

We went on to Kruger National Park.  There are no erica here that I could find.  We had an awesome lodge with five bedrooms, five bathrooms and our own pool.  We were perched over the Crocodile River.  Yes, there were crocs in the river and hippos.  We looked at Kruger across the river. 

 

I know this is supposed to be about ericas, but I thought you might enjoy just a snippet of the animals at Kruger.  It amazes one to think all these animals subsist on dry grass, sparse trees and the rivers.  It looks inhospitable at first glance.      

Elephants were everywhere and eating from dawn to dusk.  They consume 550 lbs of vegetation per day.  They are walking wrecking balls.  There were broken trees everywhere they went.  There were piles of elephant dung everywhere.  What a wonderful fertilizer!

One of the most beautiful animals in the park was the impala.  There are over 130,000 of them here.  They are dinner for many predators.

While were there, poaching of rhinos was taking place on the private reserves in the Cape Town area.  Kruger has moved in the army to protect their population.  The Asian market for rhino horns is driving them to extinction.  When you see one in the wild, your heart breaks for them. They just quietly exist hurting no one.

Page 3

Summer issue

THE LAND OF ERICAs (continued)

Erica perspicua

The suspension bridge.

A young elephant eating

Impalas in the morning light

A rhino peacefully grazing.