With Elsa Pooley
Explore the Drakensberg wild flowers and trees with Elsa Pooley, author of MOUNTAIN FLOWERS, A field guide to the flora of the Drakensberg and Lesotho! These weekends are a great introduction to flower and tree ‘watching’ and also an opportunity for the more knowledgeable to get to know the mountain plants. The Cavern estate is home to many of the Berg endemics with the beautiful Barleria monticola and Anemone fanniniae in bloom in November (rains permitting). The glorious scarlet Berg bottlebrush Greyia sutherlandii, should also be in full flower. A full list of plants observed in flower in November is attached for your interest. Remember, this list changes all the time. The plants seen in early summer will not be seen in January and February which is the high season for orchids.
17h00 Meet in lounge for an introduction to the weekend. Learn to use your wild flower field guide
08h30 – 12h00 Wild flower walk. Meet outside the shop. Refreshments will be provided on the walk.
12h30 – 14h00 Lunch
15h00 – 17h00 As above, take along your own refreshments. This walk is optional.
18h00 Slide show : Drakensberg Wild Flowers in the Conference Room
08h30-11h30 Wild Flower Walk. Return to cream scones at the hotel!
These walks are at a leisurely pace to allow time to observe and identify the plants – sometimes described as ‘wild flower stops’! The destinations will be chosen on the day, according to the best localities for plants at that time. Bring along your Mountain Flowers (and Wild Flowers of KZN) field guides. These books are available at the Cavern shop
Elsa Pooley, author of best-selling field guides to trees and wild flowers, is a self taught botanical artist and amateur botanist. She spent 20 years in the game reserves of Maputaland where she explored the flora of the region before moving to Clansthal on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast in 1984. She pursued her passion for indigenous plants through collecting herbarium specimens, researching, writing, painting and landscape gardening. She currently divides her time between indigenous landscaping, botanical painting and writing and conducting wild flowers tours of KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho.
Elsa has taken part in group exhibitions of botanical art in South Africa since 1969. She has had paintings commissioned for the SANBI series ‘Flowering Plants of Africa’ and her limited edition portfolio ‘Palms of Africa’ (photo litho 1988) has been sold worldwide. Her paintings were commissioned for the new Blue Train (1999).She was awarded a Bronze Medal at the Inaugural Kirstenbosch Exhibition of Botanical Art (2000). Elsa is a founding member of BAASA and former chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal branch. She has illustrated a number of books including trees, flowers, grasses, ferns and fungi for ‘The Wildlife of Southern Africa. A field guide to the animals and plants of the region‘ (1997).
Elsa is well known for the best selling, photographically illustrated books ‘The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand & Transkei ‘ (1993), ‘A Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of KwaZulu-Natal & the Eastern Region’ (1998) and ‘Mountain Flowers, A Field Guide to the Flora of the Drakensberg and Lesotho’ (2003) and ‘Forest Plants, in the forest and in the garden’ (2006), published by the Flora Publications Trust.
Awards: Conservationist of the Year (1996) from the Wildlife & Environment Society (Natal Branch), Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Contribution to Botany (1999) from the South African Association of Botanists, the Marloth Medal (2004) from the Botanical Society of Southern Africa and honorary Doctor of Science awarded by the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2008.