It was 38° Celsius forecasted for Mpophomeni yesterday, I (Penz Malinga) wondered how many people would come to the monthly walk on the hills. Walking into the library, which is our meeting place, I was greeted by young lads from the Mpophomeni Enviro Club: Sihle, Philani, Asanda and Sandile. We were also joined by Ayanda a first year Nature Conservation student, and Lindiwe who is a local Environmental Activist.
The beginning of our hike began with crossing the Mthinzima stream and judging by the patches of overgrown vegetation there must be a high nutient load from some source.
The floodplain was mildly waterlogged from the heavy rain on Sunday but we already started seeing signs of real indigenous life – like funnel web spiders.
I am a superfan of wildflowers I must say, so today was about noting as many species as possible. However my interest in the flowers today was overridden by the little pockets of indigenous forest patch with Pom Pom trees (Dais cotinifolia), Ouhout (Leucosidia sericea), Nana berry (Rhus dentata) and many Buffalo thorn (Ziziphus mucronata) trees. It was a wonder indeed surely we should do what we can to ensure that these little pockets develop into a forest one day.
When we got to the top of the hill we each chose a favourite flower and identified them in the Elsa Pooley Wildflowers of KwaZulu Natal book. There were plenty of the Common Soap Aloe –
Among the flowers were Ipomoea pellita, Helychrisium hebaceum (iMpepho), Wahlenbergia Cuspidata, Cotyledon orbiculata, Cyanotis speciosa (below) and many more.
We have probably just missed all the Brunsvegia flowering.
We came across a guy on his motorbike – hope he didn’t destroy too much of our precious fauna and flora. Thank goodness he mostly stayed on the track.
What we gathered on this day was that the Mpophomeni hills have a quite a bit of biodiversity to offer, a nice view of Midmar, the rolling hills in the distance, marshes with loads of bird life. It makes me feel proud to be a resident of this township.
Next Mpophomeni walk takes place of Tuesday 12 February. Contact Penz to book 073 948 3209
The Mpophomeni Conservation Group is screening movies this month:
10 January: 11th Hour contact Penz Malinga for details 073 948 3209
26 January: Home contact Ntombenhle Mtambo for details 071 916 2550