My seventeen-year-old daughter Gretchen and I were met at Cape Town Airport by Kobus Venter on Friday evening August 15, 1997. We spent our first weekend in South Africa with the Venters. This was Gretchen’s first trip to Africa and my second. Kobus’ Haworthia collection is as impressive as ever, although arranged and organized differently than when I visited in ’95. Bob Kent also has a very nice collection, possibly more plants than Kobus, but Kobus probably has the best set of documented plants in the world with the greatest number of different populations represented. In fact, in preparation for the new Haworthia book, Bruce Bayer has been using Kobus’ collection as a reference and has grouped and physically rearranged plants by relationship.
On Saturday Kobus took us on a hike to Bainskloof to see Aloe haemanthifolia. I’ve only ever seen pictures of this plant. The plants and the mountains along the trail were a great view and a nice (re)introduction to the South African veldt. Where the haemanthifolia grow is somewhat remote and is located in a protected conservation area. Kobus was able to get a permit and the keys to a gate leading to the trail head. The haemanthifolia grow on the walls of the canyon (the Afrikaaners call these valleys or gorges – kloofs). The trail is north of Wellington near the Bainskloof Pass. One of the branch trails heads to the Bobbejaansrivier Waterval. I was quite exhausted by the several hour trek. The trail wasn’t very difficult so I must have been out of shape, I was hot by the time we got to the head of the kloof. What a magnificent and spectacular waterfall! The air was cool and moist. No wonder the haemanthifolia grew in such abundance!
Aloe haemanthifolia, flower, and Bobbejaansrivier Waterval.
Protea in flower.