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.


Poker variations

Photographs of orange and yellow forms of Kniphofia laxiflora

Yesterday was an exhilarating day except for the lack of pokers: a good long walk, many beautiful flowers and the tension of trying to out run a thunderstorm. It had felt worthwhile because I had come across one poker right at the furthest extreme of the walk. However, that feeling…

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Gambling doesn’t pay

Photograph of thunderstorm approaching Mount Sutherland

When I arrived at Elton Farm, my intention was to use it as a base for exploring Bushman’s Nek, where I hoped to find Kniphofia brachystachya. It had been recorded from a couple of sites in the area, although neither of the localities was very specific. However, one cannot ignore…

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South African flower quiz

I hope you will forgive me if I keep this short after another long drive. I also want to be a bit self-indulgent as my boys wanted to see what sort of car I was driving up all these mountains. So here is a photo of my car on the…

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On top of the Cape

Photograph of Chris Whitehouse at the summit of Ben McDhui

Are you a person who has to climb something “because it’s there”? Despite my focus on plants on this trip, there is still a part of that mentality inside me which is difficult to shake. So when I had found all the Kniphofia I was wanting to find at Rhodes…

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Eastern Cape Wilderness

View of vast expanse of Eastern Cape Highlands

There are not many places in the world where you can drive for 50km and not pass another car but the highlands of the Eastern Cape is one such place. It is hard to understand why this area is so rarely visited, the scenery is beautiful and spectacular in its…

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Hogsback in flower

Photograph of Eucomis autumnalis and Hogsback peaks

If yesterday was a disappointing day, today could hardly have gone better. But it would unlikely to have been so without the helpful assistance of Monique, the manager of the King’s Lodge at Hogsback. I have received a lot of assistance in planning my route from a variety of experts,…

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