South Africa – August 1997

On Sunday we stopped at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden for lunch and then drove around the cape and stopped to see several other Aloe sites. Proving that American culture (or marketing) has penetrated all corners of the world – we had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, Cape Town! On Monday Kobus dropped us at the airport where we picked up the rental car and a cell phone and off we went into Cape Town. Driving on the left was a great thrill! The rush of oncoming traffic was almost worth the price of admission! In Cape Town we went to see a couple of the museums and the new aquarium. The kelp tank at the aquarium was very healthy and natural looking, the wave action almost lead me to feel as if I were really underwater. Then after lunch we drove east along the coast to Hermanus to see the southern right whales. The seabed must drop off quickly as the whales were literally right next to the rocks and beaches. From the park bench right at the waters edge we could see several whales spouting, flippers and tails. I was amazed. In New England one usually travels an hour or more off shore to see whales, if you can find them at all. Here, right next to the beach were more than a few whales as well as countless seal and porpoise. We also saw a penguin colony near by, little butlers waddling around their rookery.

Aloe Jackass Penguins

On Tuesday we drove inland toward Riversdale and made a number of Haworthia collections along the way. We found H. turgida, H. mirabilis, and H. venosa near Swellendam. In Heidelberg we found H. heidelbergensis, of course, and various shades in-between. Near Riversdale on a series of hills, maybe a mile or less long, serpentine in contour, we found several interrelated Haworthia varieties. On one hill are H. retusa fa. foucheri. On the next are H. retusa fa. geraldii. On the third in the series are H. magnifica and H. minima.

Haworthia retusa fa. fouchei Haworthia retusa fa. geraldii clump Haworthia retusa fa. geraldii
Hills of Riversdale

Haworthia retusa fa. fouchei, H. retusa fa. geraldii clump, single head, and hills around Riversdale.

At the Gouritz River Bridge we found Aloe and Haworthia turgida growing on the steep banks of the river. Further east at Cooper Station we found H. pygmaea but couldn’t find H. floribunda. I couldn’t find H. parksiana at either of the sites near Great Brak River. On Wednesday we went to Mossel Bay and Knynsa (where I had a great big plate of oysters), again stopping here and there looking for Haworthia. On Thursday morning we met Kobus and Bruce Bayer near Ladismith and then spent the next four days in the Oudtshoorn area. In Sewenweekspoort we found H. habdomadis var. habdomadis. In my experience this variety is not often found in cultivation. In 1995 I had seen var. inconfluens near Ladismith. We also found H. marumiana and H. arachnoidea. We later stopped at Van Wykskraal to see the gardens and the famous H. truncata.

Gouritz River Gorge
Haworthia habdomadis v. habdomadis Haworthia arachnoidea
Haworthia bayeri
Haworthia helmiae
Haworthia truncata

Gouritz River Gorge, Haworthia bayeri, H. habdomadis var. habdomadis, H. arachnoidea, H. unicolor var. helmiae, H. truncata.

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