Forest Poison Rope

Strophanthus speciosus For years, when I walked in mist-belt forest almost daily, I was puzzled by the identity of saplings with shiny, elliptic leaves, that were growing on the forest floor. Eventually, I discovered they were Stophanthus specious – a climber, not actually a tree.   Usually the interesting spidery flowers are spotted fallen in the…

Alson Zuma

Leopards live in Fort Nottingham. Alson Zuma has never actually seen one. He has spotted the spoor, heard unusual growls and observed the remains of a fresh predator kill.  He knows they are there.  While some might avoid wandering through the forest and exploring the cliffs, Alson is undeterred. Much of the inspiration for his…

Coral Tree

Erythrina lysistemon, Zulu name: umSinsi Have you seen the orange blaze at the bottom of the Umngeni Valley Nature Reserve that is a group of Erythrina lysistemon in flower?  This variety is not usually found in this area and certainly not in the misty midlands.  There are some splendid specimens to be found planted in…

Denver Jardine is the Bee’s Knees

As a youngster growing up on the coast, Denver would join his Zulu pals to go fruit and honey hunting in the bush. “We’d grab our buckets, rob wild hives, feast on whatever we found and come home dirty, sticky and stung,” he recalls.  Denver was always fascinated by insects and snakes and learned a…

Spectacular Pollution Solutions

Crisp packets litter the landscape of many Midlands villages, tetrapak is often burnt and plastic bottles bob in wetlands.  Gutters are clogged with take-away tubs.  There is one ton of plastic for every person on Earth, much of it packaging materials that have been used just once, but that will last for hundreds of years….

Shereen Duncan

Shereen grew up in the suburbs of Johannesburg, where raw green leaves were never on the menu. “Luckily there were Portuguese Greengrocers in the area, so we ate lots of fruit and fresh veg – but everything was well cooked.”   Nowadays, she cannot imagine life without plenty of green food, “I wouldn’t survive!” she laughs….

Qaphela Dlamini

How do you choose between a career as a professional basketball player and a teacher? You do as Qaphela Dlamini has done – become an excellent teacher and a brilliant sports coach! When Qaphela was four years old, he lost the use of his legs. Undeterred, he crawled around the mealie fields helping his mother…

Bramleigh Farm

What happens when a teacher/graphic designer/ceramicist and a sound engineer/internet technician/solar expert move to an out of the way property to run a guesthouse and farm?  Magic, obviously!  Kait and Andre Kauerauf of Bramleigh Farm brought a variety of skills to their forest-side property (owned by Andre’s family) and created something much bigger than the…

Love Bread

Not many people get to wander along moonlit country roads on their way to work in the morning.  Thembi and Lungi Hadebe set off from their Lidgetton home in the quiet hours after midnight to get to the bakery, so that Midlanders can enjoy fresh, wood-fired loaves with their lunch.  Before there is even a…

Orange Desmodium

Desmodium repandum Forget the Big Five or the Tallest Tree, it’s the little things in the forest that are really fascinating. Desmodium repandum is found all over Africa and is flowering in the Midlands at the moment. Although the flowers are tiny – less than 15mm – it is hard to miss the bright orange-red…