With no reason to stay in Riversdale, but every reason to get to Swellendam (new tyre) we moved on. After recent Haworthia focussed days, today would be a Mesemb focussed day, with an emphasis on Gibbaeum.
Ironically, the first stop of the day was a Haworthia stop, but then, if your passing, why not? It was right on the outskirts of Riversdale, next to an industrial estate. We had hardly enough time to start digesting the excellent breakfast at McDonald’s and were already kneeling down with our cameras to take these images!
If you have been intrigued by the taxonomic controversies between Messrs Bayer and Breuer, try the website of Jakub Jilemicky at http://haworthia-gasteria.blogspot.co.uk/2008/01/home.html as this seems to report both sides of the discussions.
We headed north on the R323 , crossed the Langeberg mountain range (one of my ‘ripples’) and stopped when again Gasteria flowers were spotted along the road, Gasteria brachyphylla ssp bayeri at S2814, but again grass hid the plants from the camera, so I’ll save my limited space here for another shot later today.
We turned west, passed the 1,730 m high Sleeping Beauty mountain and at another random road stop (S2815) took these pictures:
I believe I was first back in the car as I was really keen to see the next site, S2816, as it promised one of the star names of the trip during the planning stages.
We slowed down to find the exact spot and found it almost immediately, again it was right along the road and it was protected by a larger than life fence, with large padlocks on the gate. We turned back and across the road, drove to the farm house. We asked to see the owner, a man of few words, but after David had pleaded our case he gave us permission and advice on where and how to enter. Very much appreciated!
Having permission to enter a site adds another dimension to seeing and photographing them; I felt a lot more relaxed and it will come as no surprise that by the time we left I had added 216 images to my SD cards (+ another 216 duplicates, but in NEF / RAW format, just in case). Here is just a small sample:
One dimension that is almost impossible to capture by camera is the huge number of plants that cover this hillside, it was almost impossible to walk around here and not stand on and damage a plant or two.
Although Muiria hortenseae had been the main attraction, at this particular stage in their growth cycle I found Gibbaeum album the star of the show here. Something had been ‘having a go’ at the Muiria, birds? insects? tortoises?
S2817 must have been a comfort stop as there were no special images among the pictures that I took. On the other hand, we screeched to an emergency stop as we drove by a field full of clumps of silver leafed Mesembs, Gibbaeum pubescens.
What a shame that the fence was too high to cross, although David somehow managed to find a way in. Time was getting on and we’d be by this spot again on another day, so zoomed images across the fence would have to do for now along this busy road.