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.
Some of the flowers seen: Ajuga ophrydis,
& Commelina erecta,
& Ipomoea pellita,
Pachycarpus (possibly) concolor,
& Grewia occidentalis.
Many fungi had responded to the rain and damp conditions in shady leaf loam like this puffball
Japanese umbrella Coprinus plicatilis
A Red Toad also blended into this environment.
A delicate Orb Spider sat waiting patiently in a web
and 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
including stunning beetles, a Yellow-spotted Ground Beetle
a wide variety of beautiful hairy caterpillars
and a serene Clubtail Dragonfly balanced delicately on a branch, greeted our view at every turn.
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