Expedition to find Kniphofia

Photograph of sky and clouds across Free State

This page is a summary of my expedition to find Kniphofia, red hot pokers, in 2012. A copy of the full report from the trip can be found here: http://issuu.com/christopherwhitehouse/docs/kniphofia_report. It is also a chance to thank all those who have helped me along the way, whether giving advice, either beforehand or on the trip itself, showing me around, or making my stay at the various B&Bs/cottages so pleasant. I won’t name people explicitly here for fear of missing someone out but hopefully the links through to relevant places is a small way of showing my appreciation.

Introduction – Poking around in South Africa
Field Guides of South Africa
Jan 24 – Road work botany – Johannesburg airport to Colesberg, Kuilfontein Farm
Jan 25 – Mr Tuck’s poker – Kuilfontein Farm, Colesberg
Jan 26 – Journey over the edge – Colesberg to Joubertina
Jan 27 – The original red hot poker – Joubertina to Hogsback, King’s Lodge
Jan 28 – Hogsback in flower – Gaika’s Kop & Tor Doone, Hogsback
Jan 29 – Eastern Cape wilderness – Hogsback to Rhodes, Walkerbouts Inn
Jan 30 – On top of the Cape – Tiffindell & Ben McDhui
Jan 31 – South African flower quiz – Rhodes to Bushman’s Nek, Elton Farm
Feb 1 – Gambling doesn’t pay – Mount Sutherland
Feb 2 – Poker variations – Bushman’s Nek to Durban
Feb 3 – A day with the experts – Durban & the Botanic Gardens
Feb 4 – An unexpected hike – Durban to Highmoor, Heronmoor Retreat
Feb 5 – A mix of pokers – Highmoor
Feb 6 – Pokers in the mist – Highmoor to Cathedral Peak, Didima Camp
Feb 7 – Tantalising glimpses – Cathedral Peak
Feb 8 – Third pass lucky – Cathedral Peak to Oliviershoek, Dumbe
Feb 9 – Dumb and Dumbe – Dumbe
Feb 10 – A British summertime drive – Oliviershoek to Buffelskloof Private Nature Reserve
Feb 11 – Good day, bad day – Lydenburg area
Feb 12 – Pokerhunters – Piet Retief area
Feb 13 – The last poker – Buffelskloof Private Nature Reserve to Johannesburg airport
Index to Kniphofia – A medley of pokers

And if you are interested in trying to grow any of the beautiful plants mentioned in my blog, then why not check to see if the seeds are available from Silverhill Seeds or African Bulbs.


Third Pass Lucky

Lightning bolt from Dumbe Cottage

Today had quite a simple brief to it, travel about 80km to the next stop at Dumbe, on the way the road goes up Oliviershoek Pass where I would find K. breviflora. Syd had assured me that it was easy to find, saying that friends of his who were not…

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Tantalising glimpses

Glimpse of Drakensberg at Cathedral Peak

This was to be my last day in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg and it started off much as yesterday had. The cloud was low and to add to my problems I also found out that the pass to take cars up to the Little Berg was closed. This meant that I…

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Pokers in the mist

Kniphofia albomontana in the mist, Asphodelaceae

If I thought the cloud was low yesterday, it was nothing compared with today. Not even the wetlands in front of the cottage were visible. My plan to do a hike on the way to my next stop were abandoned and I just hoped that as I headed north the…

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A mix of pokers

Highmoor cloud and lake

On any trip there are days where regardless of planning things go wrong and there is nothing you can do about it. The target today was a good long walk on Highmoor towards the Giant’s Castle. I woke to find the clouds so low that one would not even know…

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An unexpected hike

Photograph of Highmoor in the Drakensberg

It was time to move on from the heat and humidity of Durban. Syd kindly accompanied me out to the Natal Midlands, where we hoped we might find Kniphofia ichopensis and Kniphofia buchananii, but we only managed to find more populations, albeit good ones, of Kniphofia laxiflora as well as…

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A day with the experts

Photograph of Kniphofia gracilis

Today I was privileged to be shown around Durban by two of the experts in Kniphofia, Dr Syd Ramdhani and Prof. Himansu Baijnath. Although not the most floriferous day on the trip, it was one of the more enlightening ones because apart from seeing the pokers in the field, I…

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