Verloren Valei is a magnet for those with specialist interests such as orchids, wildflowers, birds (especially cranes), insects and wetlands in general. More important, though, is the opportunity to understand how these and other areas of interest exist as part of a wider ecological context. Our expert-led field trips are a way to come to grips with specific aspects of the Reserve within the context of the whole—and an opportunity to experience a place of outstanding natural beauty more intimately.
Essential to enjoying your field trip. Copies may be purchased at the Reserve office or at the Heritage Centre in Dullstroom (next door to Mrs Simpson’s) – or by e-mailing email@example.com.
Field trips are R200 per person per day, which includes the entrance fee to the reserve. Friends of Verloren Valei receive a discounted price of R150. Mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on events, or to book.
LepSoc Africa Butterfly Field Trip: 12 December 2020
Verloren Valei is famous as an internationally important wetland, an orchid hotspot—and 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.
Booking is essential: mail us at email@example.com to reserve a place.
Understand the “great grass sea”: Field trip to Verloren Valei Nature Reserve, 8 February 2020 with Mike Zingel
Fans of Game of Thrones will know that the steppes ruled by the Dothraki tribe are called “the great grass sea”—and grasses indeed form a critical part of many ecosystems. That is particularly true of Verloren Valei’s sub-alpine environment, which is too cold for many trees to grow. A wide variety of grasses are present, adapted to the extreme weather conditions and providing the food and shelter for a surprisingly wide range of fauna, flora and insects. There is also increasing evidence that grasslands may actually be better absorbers of carbon than forests, yet another reason to protect and understand these unique highland wetlands.
Mike Zingel obtained a BSc Agriculture and went on to build a successful career in the seed industry, culminating in a stint as managing director of Mayfords Seeds. Thereafter, he embarked on a second career in wildlife management, obtaining an M Phil and an MSc in Wildlife Management.
He founded Zingela Consulting (Pty) Ltd in 2003. Mike is currently involved in research into veld assessment for wildlife management using satellite imagery and analysis of vegetation. Using the software that he has recently developed, qualitative and quantitative aspects of a property can be objectively and repeatably mapped. The outcomes facilitate the management and monitoring of wildlife areas.
This research and its application in the veld was done simultaneously with investigations into the rehabilitation of disturbed areas. This lead to his devising the Biomosome® range of seed products, based on biome and plant succession principles. A recent development is the application of these seed products and plant succession principles in the rehabilitation of mine properties and environmental civil engineering. This concept was introduced in a poster presentation at the Land Rehabilitation Society of Southern Africa (LaRSSA) Congress in 2014.
The software that he has developed for satellite image classification and for vegetation analysis is available for use under licence and is continuously updated and supported. With adaptation, it is applicable to vegetation assessment generally and not specifically to wildlife.
Mike is Chairman of the Friends of Verloren Valei and an honorary member of LaRSSA.
Booking is essential: mail us to reserve a place.
Birds and flowers of Verloren Valei: 28 & 29 December 2019
Geoff Lockwood and Susan Abell led this field trip over two days, with one day focusing on birds and the other on flowers and orchids. The two-day format seemed to work well and hopefully we will repeat it in the future–although probably with an early start for the birds to catch the first-flush calling and displaying activity.
Guided butterfly field trip to Verloren Valei Nature Reserve: 7 December 2019
Verloren Valei is famous as an internationally important wetland, an orchid hotspot—and 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 field trip calendar. This year’s trip will again be led by Jeremy Dobson, President LepSoc, and other members of the Society.
26 January 2019: Enjoy “A Botanical Ramble in Verloren Valei with a Plant Enthusiast”. The plant enthusiast in question is John Burrows. John is the managing trustee of Buffelskloof Private Nature Reserve near Mashishing, and has authored several papers on botanical subjects, as well as books and chapters in books. You can read about John here.
South African Field Trial Club: Annual game bird survey and associated events: These events offer a great opportunity to get to know Verloren Valei better while gathering useful data about our game bird populations—and witness how pointers and their handlers work together. The next events will be Game bird surveys on Saturday 27th April and Saturday 31st August 2019.
All are welcome, please contact Mike Zingel 0832521834 for further info and to book a place.