Summer Walk in Umgeni Valley

Christeen Grant spent time exploring Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve recently and compiled this collection of gorgeous photos.

Verdant green growth of grasses and foliage, dim leafy loam beneath forest trees, between rocks, along tracks and streams; a summer abundance of flowers, insects, fungi, amphibians, mammals and birds revealed themselves. A magical treasure trove of nature, so accessible, on the outskirts of Howick. A  wonderful day’s outing for the whole family.

Fungi Psilocybe coprophila

Some of the flowers seen: Ajuga ophrydis,

Flower Ajuga ophrydis

Albuca fastigiata,

Flower Albuca fastigiata

Alephidea natalensis,

Flower Alepidea natalensis

Becuim obovatum,

Flower Becium obovatum

Brunsvigia radulosa,

Flower Brunsvigia radulosa

Commelina Africana

Flower Commelina africana

& Commelina erecta,

Flower Commelina erecta

Corchorus asplenifolius,

Flower Corchorus asplenifolius

Cyanotis speciosa,

Flower Cyanotis speciosa with bee

Dianthus zeyheri,

Flower Dianthus zeyheri

Eulophia stretopetala,

Flower Eulophia streptopetala

Freesia laxa,

Flower Freesia laxa

Hibiscus calyphyllus

Flower Hibiscus calyphyllus

& trionum,

Flower Hibiscus trionum

Hypoxis rigidula,

Flower Hypoxis rigidula

Ipomoea crassipes

Flower Ipomoea crassipes

& Ipomoea pellita,

Flower Ipomoea pellita

Monopsis decipiens,

Flower Monopsis decipiens

Moraea stricta,

Flower Moraea stricta

Pachycarpus  (possibly) concolor,

Flower Pachycarpus pos concolor

Ruellia cordata,

Flower Ruellia cordata

Senecio serratuloides,

Flower Senecio pos serratuloides

Streptocarpus polyanthus,

Flower Streptocarpus polyanthus

Tephrosia elongata,

Flower Tephrosia elongata

Thunbergia dregeana,

Flower Thunbergia dregeana

Grewia hispida

Flower Tree Shrub Grewia hispida

& Grewia occidentalis.

Flower Tree Grewia occidentalis

Many fungi had responded to the rain and damp conditions in shady leaf loam like this puffball

Fungi PuffballJapanese umbrella Coprinus plicatilis

Fungi Japanese umbrella Coprinus plicatilisFungi 08 Fungi 07 Fungi 06 Fungi 05 Fungi 04 Fungi 03 Fungi 02 Fungi 01

A Red Toad also blended into this environment.

Amphibian Red Toad

A delicate Orb Spider sat waiting patiently in a web

Spider Orb Web Spiderand a tick precariously perched at the end of a needle thin asparagus leaf, legs outstretched to catch onto an unwary potential host.


An explosion of insect life

Insect Moth pos one of the Emerald Moths fam Geometridae

including stunning beetles, a Yellow-spotted Ground Beetle

Insect Yellow-spotted Ground Beetle

Pill Millipede

Pill MillipedeYellow-belted Fruit Chafer

Insect Yellow-belted Fruit Chafer

Net-winged Beetle

Insect Net-winged Beetle sp

Leaf Beetle

Insect Leaf Beetle sp

Fruit Chafer

Insect Fruit Chafer sp

a wide variety of beautiful hairy caterpillars

Insect Moth caterpillar pos fam Lasiocampidae 02 Insect Moth caterpillar pos fam Lasiocampidae 01 Insect Moth caterpillar 02 Insect Moth caterpillar 01

and a serene Clubtail Dragonfly balanced delicately on a branch, greeted our view at every turn.

Insect Dragonfly pos Gomphidae Clubtail

Umgeni Valley is open everyday.  Office Hours are 8am to 4.30pm. Gates close at 7pm in Summer.  Entrance fee is R24 for adults and R12 for children.  033 330 3931

5 thoughts on “Summer Walk in Umgeni Valley

  1. David Clulow

    I am quite bowled over by these beautiful photos and that is putting it mildly. These wildflowers and life-forms are all on our doorstep and it took Christeen to bring them so superbly to our attention. My appreciation is difficult to put into words, but this record is one I shall want to keep and look at often. Many thanks.


  2. Meriel mitchell

    Amazing photos and each and every one is amazingly beautiful….in the words of Julie Andrews ….these are a few of my favorite things ….and as previous comment says … They are all in our gardens!


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  4. Peter. R. Warren

    This is the most amazing collection of photographs on our doorstep. Expert photographer and naturalist. We are just truly fortunate to have this material available to us.


  5. Peter Warren

    Hi Christeen

    I am having problems in identifying the plant you classify as Senecio serratuloides. This species flowers in March May while the camera date is 12 December 2013. It also has yellow flowers while yours are white. Lastly “Most extraordinary are the imparpinate leaves where the terminal leaflet is huge compared with the other pairs.” which is not visible in your or my photos of the same plant. Consequently I am having difficulties in reconciling my sources (Pooley:KZN and Compton’s Flora of Swaziland and my own iSpot observation of S.serratuloides). My success rate in challenging the experts is very low but I would still like to know what gives.



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