Martin Rautenbach – 30 January 2014

Hi Gail,

We are back from Nsikeni and sorry we did not book for an extra day, but will definitely be back. It was awesome, just a pity about the road, this place has enormous potential, and I would like to promote it to my friends overseas who will be coming to South Africa for the big “World Orchid Conference and Show� in September at Santon Convention Centre this year.( see www.woc21.org) Orchid tourism is a big thing overseas and a lot of people are prepared to pay a lot of money to do what we did this last two days, but as usual South Africa is always “sucking the hind tit� when it comes to things like this!

Here is just a quick list of just some of the orchids we encountered in the two days; Some of the biggest Disa cornuta I ever seen (one we found was 920mm tall, see photos.) Disa scullyi, Disa cooperi, Disa oreophila, Disa chrysostachya, Disa stachyoides (some of the nicest examples I ever seen, nice full flower heads!) Disa patula, Disa versicolor,- by the hundreds, Eulophia zeyheriana ( also first time we found a very large colony in flower in the open veld of about <100+), Eulophia hians ‘aestivalis’, Eulophia foliosa, Disperis wealei, Disperis cardiophera, Pterigodium magnum, Habenaria laevigata,and lots of Satyrium longicauda.

tn_Disa rhodantha

Those are just the ones in flower now. There are several flower spikes still in development stages which will be a later flowering species of orchids. October to beginning of January ought to be exiting flowering times too, if you can get in when the weather allows it. I do not know when the breeding season for the Watteled cranes are and it is best that birders and orchidists do not step on each other’s toes during that time, although most orchids are in the open veld and on that mountain side! And not so much in the Wetlands in the early stages of the spring and summer time. Any ideas or suggestions? Still, it would be a big difference if that road can be made to look like a road and used like one too.

Kind Regards,
Martin Rautenbach