For ages I have wanted to explore the flowers on Sani Pass and every year feel sad when the Annual Walk comes around in January and I miss it because I don’t have a passport. So last year, I made the effort to head into central ‘Maritzburg and get one. I was determined this year, but blow me down, I couldn’t make it. Afterwards, I heard from a friend who had gone that there were hundreds of people and it was really dissappointing, so I didn’t feel too sad after all. Then last week an opportunity to explore landed in my lap and I leapt at the chance! No crowds! How lucky can a girl get?
There are plans afoot to tar the road. Yes – that windy bit of eroded rock you can see in the distance. Seems completely crazy with fossil fuels on the wane. It should really be a fabulous donkey path. Which it is, but cars can go up and down too. I guess those who live just at the top think it will be great to be able to zip down to South Africa in a jiffy, but I believe their tranquil lives will be ruined forever. Roads bring crime, disease, litter and extra tourists.
After all the rain there were waterfalls everywhere – and cascades down the sides of the mountains. Sometimes four or five waterfalls one after the other all the way down.
So the flowers: there were lots of this little Hebenstretia comosa
On the lower slopes things were pretty Midlands like, but as we got higher the flora changed. Especially when we crossed the Mkomazana river, it was like a fairyland of dainty flowers.
Isn’t this little blue forget me not – Mysotis semiamplexicaulis just lovely?
Most obviously in flower were the yellow Euryops – vivid splashes up the mountainsides and pink Geranium pulchrum – carpets and carpets of them. Amazing.
The dominant colour scheme for this week was yellow and mauve (next week I am certain it would be completely different). This Berkheya purpurea was lovely.
Plenty of plants I had never seen before which was nice. Like this Jamesbrettenia pristisepala
and this very small Eucomis montana clinging to the rocks
Lots of clumps of white daisies with needle like leaves – a mystery to me.
a Scabious with very deeply lobed leaves close to the gound, or maybe it is Cephalaria galpiniana? I’ve never seen it before.
The roadsides are literally lined with flowers. As the pace is slow, we just stopped where we could and got out to explore – moving on if a truck came along.
We passed hikers, motorcyclists and tourists, trucks laden with bales of wool and a mini-bus taxi and three Basotho fellows in gumboots and blankets. They completely blended into the landscape and looked at us makhoa in a bemused way – perhaps wondering why on earth we we driving, when walking was the most obvious way to get up the mountain. This Glumicalyx goseloides had almost finished flowering.
Interesting how it gets less and less important to me to actually know the name of the plant. I’d been hoping that the orchids would be splendid, but hardly saw any besides this one, which I haven’t identified.
Right at the top (2865 m) we picnicked with sheep and angora goats and an incredible view. In Sotho the Drakensberg is called “The Cliffs of Natal”. We spotted a shepard sitting right on the edge looking out forever and wondered what he was thinking about. Shopping in Underberg perhaps?
What a lovely day out – perfect weather, pleasant company and pretty flowers. Doesn’t get much better than this. ke a leboha.