Kwandwe Private Game Reserve – a botanist's paradise
I recently had an opportunity to visit Kwandwe Private Game Reserve for a couple of days and was overwhelmed by the rich variety of plants in the veld. The reserve is situated between Grahamstown and Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape, where the climate is semi-Karoid; very hot and dry in summer and very cold and dry during winter.
The reserve is of course a haven for the 'Big Five' and a host of herbivores, carnivores, birds, reptiles and insects. Good rain during the previous weeks had left the animals in prime condition and the veld ablaze with bright spots of colour everywhere.
I was fortunate enough to go on a botanical walking tour with Ranger Mike and his co-worker, Sibo. Mike enthusiastically shared his knowledge of plants, while Sibo, having grown up in the area, was a mine of information about the medicinal uses of the plants. We didn't get very far on our walk as I kept stopping to look at new and, to me anyway, unusual plant species.
With only two days at this acclaimed reserve, I have not in any way done justice to the burgeoning plant life to be seen in this sometimes harsh and arid climate. I have not yet identified a few of the plants below - please feel free to make suggestions.