THE HAENERTSBURG GRASSLANDS

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The Haenertsburg Grasslands are very much on my mind after a recent talk I attended on this small, unique and threatened biome, and after discovering the Crossandras I posted about earlier in the week. (Click on colour for links.) This 2007 walk on the Haenertsburg Common is not yet the promised post – I want to do something meatier, if that can be said of a vegen topic – but it does link you to a picture gallery I posted at Mooseyscountrygarden back then. There has been a redesign of the Moosey forums. Hovering over the picture will give the (often descriptive, but often also vague) title of each pic, which one could see in the past. As in the past clicking on the pic at Mooseys will open it to its full size – worthwhile with several of them!

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Here is a photo I took of Crossandra that day – definitely the same species as this week’s discovery; C.zuluensis, I believe it to be. In the first photo Sequoia Gardens lies just to the left off shot behind the rounded green hill, Dap Naude Dam on which I posted recently lies below the peak on the furthest horizon which forms the smaller blob near the left, and Magoebaskloof Pass drops down to the Lowveld  left of the highest point in the centre of the photo. To the left of Magoebaskloof, hidden by the hill, The Forest Drive winds down its own valley, whilst the Appel road, another dirt-road pass, snakes down below the tall trees on the right horizon. Off shot to the right the tarred George’s Valley road makes its way down its own spectacular valley, which can be seen in the photo below. Four passes, each down its own valley, within such close proximity, make our Mountain a dream destination for both mountain bikers and road bikers… and we have seen exotic sportscars and even veterans enjoying an outing on our roads followed by a visit to our local pubs with their friendly atmosphere, sport-screens and excellent food… They can be forgiven for flaunting  rather English names like ‘The Iron Crown’ and ‘The Pot and Plow’ – an eatery pub is not a typical South African institution at all!

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‘The Iron Crown’ is named after Limpopo Province’s highest peak, which you can see looking uphill from the Haenertsburg Common on the photo below. The above photo shows the second highest peak, Serala, just sticking out beyond the George’s Valley mountain near the right of the photo. I guess a post on Serala and the wonderland of the Wolkberg (Cloud Mountain) Wilderness Area is also due… The houses in the centre look down on the Ebenezer Dam where our Rotary Club hosts one of the best open-water swims in the country on the 3rd Sunday of March each year. (Another post? A link to the webpage I am currently designing? www.ebenezermile.co.za – hopefully visible by Monday!) And then – to turn your attention to the next pic – we also host in July each year The Iron Crown Trial Run, a half-marathon which starts and ends on the Village Green and passes through some exquisite examples of the Haenertsburg Grassland biome before turning at the beacon on the top of the Iron Crown!

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Winter fire – especially what is known as a ‘cool fire’ which burns the grass cover but not much more, as noticeable  on the above pic, followed by early rain and plenty of sun is the ideal recipe for a wide variety of flowers. That was the case in late September 2007 when these photos were taken. The white flowers – they go by the ungainly scientific name of Trichodesma physaloides – are of the loveliest on the grasslands and are commonly called Chocolate Bells; the picture below shows why.

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Our Mountain is a unique destination in many ways, and whatever prompts your visit – you are sure to enjoy the beauty of nature. Even if all you see is mist and all you experience is tranquillity… Smile

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6 thoughts on “THE HAENERTSBURG GRASSLANDS

    • Hahaha, Diana. Thought you’d fall for it! I’ve not yet tried, nor do I know of anyone who did, most of the regular appreciators liking their plants distinctly au naturalle… Judging by the quantity in a good year it shouldn’t be difficult. Elsa Pooley simply says “lovely shrublet, grown from seeds, stems annual” its habitat is ‘in grassland, on margins of marshes’ Flower time is given as Jul-Nov, which is longer than I thought. My impression was of a fleeting herb, not a shrublet. Perhaps the rain will determine the time of growth… When I get to harvest/obtain seed I will pass some on to you!

  1. Enjoyed the tour at a leisurely place, taking in the links and the info in my stride. Felt I needed to digest before a meatier post ahead. No need to convince that you live in a beautiful land and just for a moment you had me dreaming of rinning the Iron Crown HM – but age and chocolate woke me.

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