Book now for December field trips

Take advantage of these opportunities to visit the beautiful Verloren Valei Nature Reserve near Dullstroom in the company of experts.

Verloren Valei is a pristine wetland reserve northeast of Dullstroom, and is renowned as a biodiversity hotspot. Rare indigenous orchids and other flora, as well as Lepidoptera, make this a magnet for environmentalists. Verloren Valei’s intricate network of wetlands generate huge amounts of clear, fresh water – up to 600 million litres every day in the rainy season are fed into the Olifants and Komatie catchment basins – another reason why this small reserve is so important.

Because of its importance and fragility, Verloren Valei is a closed reserve. The Freinds of Verloren Valei organise several field trips over the summer season to allow members of the public to explore aspects of the reserve under the guidance of experts in various fields.

Booking for the following field trips is now open:

4 December: A botanical ramble with Dr Kevin Balkwill. Kevin is a plant taxonomist and a professor in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences at Wits. He was Curator of the C.E. Moss Herbarium at Wits for 32 years. His current research interests are Acanthaceae and Labiatae (= Lamiaceae) amongst other groups.

18 December: Guided butterfly trip with LepSoc Africa. Verloren Valei is famous as the habitat of two butterfly species that occur nowhere else: Warren’s Blue and Clark’s Lost Widow (Verloren Valei Bergweduwee). The field trip led by the Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa (LepSoc) is an annual highlight of the Verloren Valei year. This year’s trip will again be led by Jeremy Dobson, President LepSoc, and Justin Bode.  

Other possible sightings might include the Transvaal Copper, Tite’s Copper, Bush Scarlet, Lydenburg Opal, Common Meadow Blue, Henning’s Black-Eye, Basuto Skolly, Table Mountain Beauty, Blue Pansy, Gaudy Commodore, Mountain Sylph and Restless Blue, to name just a few.

18-19 December: Flowers and birds with Susan Abell and Geoff Lockwood. We are delighted to offer this popular two-day exploration of the floral and avian treasures of Verloren Valei—a unique opportunity to spend time out in the veld with ornithologist Geoff Lockwood and botanist Susan Abell in the Verloren Valei Reserve near Dullstroom, an internationally important wetland and recognized biodiversity hotspot.

Many specials will be flowering including several orchid species. We will look out for species such as Disa rhodantha, Disa patula var. transvaalensis, Disperis wealei, Disperis tysonii, Habenaria clavata, Habenaria dives, Satyrium hallackii ssp. ocellatum and Satyrium trinerve.

Field trips cost R200 (R250 for the two-day Flowers and Birds excursion) with reduced rates for members of Friends of Verloren Valei, LepSoc, SAFTC, WOSA and Millstream. Booking is essential – please mail for a booking form.

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