Lily Lion Heart

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Back from Eastern Cape, South Africa

Well I have returned from my trip to South Africa recently and am finally doing a long-awaited post.  What a country of superlatives; resplendent, magnificent, majestic, otherworldly, magical, pristine, splendiferous just to name a few. Words cannot describe my experience except to say that it was very special to me, unlike any other trip I've taken.

The people were warm and down to earth. I felt very much at home. The animal and bird life were fascinating, teeming with many different types of exotic colourful birds some only summer residents, others common residents.

I travelled to the province of the Eastern Cape ( formerly the Transkei) and covered some 2275 KM. The native people that inhabit the Cape are called Xhosa (pronounced Kosa). They live in mud and dung structures ( huts) with a thatched roof as well as rectangular homes made of the same material with a makeshift tinroof holding it down. They paint their dwellings in fantastical colours. They receive money from the government to live and build their homes.  They farm mostly cattle and sheep.

Crinum macowanii (below) is a beautiful bulbous plant from Perseverance. This plant for me was one of the favourites of all the flora I saw on this trip. It is found from the coast to the mountains, in grassland, rocky areas, and near rivers. It is used in traditional medicine to treat urinary infections, itchy rashes and for poultices, bandages and protective charms. It makes a lovely garden plant producing more than three inflorescences in succession.  It is named after Peter Macowan, 1830-1909, botanist, teacher, started the SA Bot. Exchange Society, a large private herbarium.

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