Last week, the weather was just perfect for a little exploring. Often we forget that places close by are really interesting and drive miles and miles for adventures. Nikki Brighton and friends headed to the eMashingini area of Mpophomeni and discovered lots of pleasant surprises and small adventures.
The cliffs looked like a particularly interesting spot to explore.
We were delighted to discover a waterfall hidden in the trees, Arums growing in the crevices and Begonia sutherlandii clinging to the rocks
and Pavetta was just one of the forest shrubs creating a cool glade.
The areas around the stream were invaded by lantana, but treasures were still to be found, like Sandersonia aurantiaca
this net winged beetle,
lots of Hypoxis, Thunbergia atriplicifolia
scarlet Freesia laxa,
and Polygala hotentotta.
Further along the valley we wandered along the uMthinzima stream, flowing strongly after all the rain.
The water was really clean and tasted delicious.
Thunbergia natalensis was flowering profusely on the forest margins.
Rhus, and Rhamnus prinoides were full of berries (but we’d had our fill on the invasive ijikijolo beside the path)
we found Impatiens hochstetteri and Streptocarpus in the deep shade
We crossed some grassland to get to a Cabbage Tree (umsenge) we could see on the edge of a forest patch.
There lots of Senecio was in flower, and just over,
and the delicate little indigenous hypericum – Hypericum lalandii
Plenty of bulbs with big spotted leaves – assume Ledebouria sp?
It was a real scramble to get to the base of the tree through all the thick forest edge, it was worth it though as the Cussonia was enormous!
plenty of Scadoxus puniceus in the understory and dense creepers.
On the walk back, we stopped to admire the views, determined to spend more time exploring places close by. What wonders have you overlooked in your neighbourhood?
Penz Malinga hosts regular walks in parts of Mpophomeni on the second Tuesday of each month (next one 14 January). Contact her to book: 084 226 5227. Donation R20 to Mpophomeni Conservation Group. facebook/MpopConserve
Photos by Asanda Ngubane, Sihle Ngcobo, Philani Ngcobo and Nikki Brighton