Friday, June 20, 2008

Atlantis Dunes Nature Reserve

Atlantis Dunes Nature Reserve


Just about 30min north of Cape Town, this is a preserve partially developed for recreational use (shooting range, off-road driving!), and groundwater is drawn there for the nearby town of Atlantis. 

Seems like Atlantis did not sink after all, but driving through it one might think it maybe should have…(just kidding!)

The vegetation of these extensive white-sanded dunes is fynbos mixed with some more seashore and pond plants, and quite a few Aliens (a.k.a invasives).

Colyledon sp. Crassulaceae dried up inflroresence

There was quite a lot of the Metalina muricata that I described before, and lots more that I cannot identify yet. The weather was overcast, and eventually it started to rain again (I start to sympathize with the people in Seattle without ever having been there…)

An hour of bird watching at two adjacent ponds yielded an impressive variety, which I will list starting with:


·      African Fish Eagle (a pair), beautiful! dark brown, black and white

·      African Spoonbill, almost being undetected between two

·      Great White Egrets

·      Egyptian Geese, with colorful plumage in earth colors

·      Black-winged Stilts, black and white on elegant tall red legs

·      Cape Shoveler

·      Yellow-billed Duck

·      Red-billed Teal

·      Dabchick (=Little Grebe), all swimming out on the pond

·      Red Knobbed Coots, a large flock of ~ 65, this bird I know from Bavaria!

·      Common Moorhen

·      Blacksmith Lapwing, another black & white, in large numbers all over

·      White-breasted Cormorants, quite a bit larger then

·      Reed Cormorants

·      Grey Heron

·      Black-headed Heron, again in a stunning black/white combination

·      Cattle Egrets

·      Hadeda Ibis, one lonely one.


Well, and this was just what we i.d. on the fly, not even bothering with the smaller birds, and various things flying over (gulls e.t.c).

Tomorrow I am off buying a bird guide to SA! What am I thinking - as a bird lover in this amazing place…!

There is Thumeka, in the green sweater, with her volunteers on our bird-count.


I got some really encouraging feedback from you guys about my blog – thanks! and I have to say I need it, considering what I do here could be considered hard-core blogging. Me, with my laptop, huddling outside the closed main offices, under the eves, in the cold rain, not able to see the keys properly in the dark…

I know - you still don’t feel sorry for me, and I guess you guys are right!


I was also asked why Botany Geek and not Horticulture Geek…

Well, I think of Horticulture as something more practical, less geeky. And my favorite tool lately has been my Lupe and not my secateurs, a.k.a. pruners. (people do speak English here, but use words rather differently or different words altogether)


By the way, my new favorite travel-gadget: my neoprene computer casing!

I keep discovering new unbelievable practical uses for it when it is without the laptop: it makes a excellent insulating seating pad for hard rocks and wet wooden benches, and I used it filled with a few T-shirts as a pillow for several nights until a got a proper one at the store (which is not a place where you pay for things…this is storage space!).

And last night I stuck a glass bottle filled with hot water in it, such creating an almost perfect hot-water-bottle! Where will this lead me? Will I be cooking chicken in the microwave in it next week? Could it hold my ashes after I leave this beautiful world? Should I patent this...?

Something I read yesterday thet really spoke to me:

‘Ndiwelimilambo enamagama’, ‘I have crossed famous rivers’, a saying in the language of the Thembe people of the Transkei.

It means that one has traveled a great distance, that one has had wide experience and gained some wisdom from it. ( from ‘Nelson Mandela, the Illustrate Long Walk to Freedom’)


Barbara said...

You just made me feel better about falling in love with the neoprene case I just got for my mini-notebook. Hmmm... maybe there should be a warning label that possible side effects of being a SOPH student may include inordinate fondness for neoprene (not so far off what I've heard on some of those pharmaceutical commercials!)

raul said...

I got this post because I was reading the Generic Viagra Blog and there one of the links redirecting me , so I have been in Atlantis Dunes Nature Reserve and I can say that this is one of the most beautiful places in the world!! we have to conserve it!