Field Trip To Lake St. Lucia
KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
Page 2

By Jacques Gerber - Click images to enlarge


 Rhynchospora swamp
This is the swamp we crossed to get to the swamp forest. A bit of water is visible in the picture, and it was in this community that I first found N. capensis, although I did not collect here. Don't be fooled, the water is a good two feet deep here!

I've noticed in the last year of so that N .capensis seems to prefer shallow, still water, often in areas with lots of emergent vegetation, while N. caerulea seems to prefer deeper water, often lacustrine or riverine banks.

   Cyperus and Phragmites Swamp
This is part of the broad peat swamp. Its all part of the same swamp, but it forms a different community. The Phragmites is short due to it having burned some earlier this year. The trees are part of the swamp forest.
   Ficus Swamp Forest
The peat here is several metres deep, and there are many small streams criss-crossing the forest floor. Several species of ferns including climbing species, as well as a bamboo species occur here. Also a creeper called Smilax anceps, which I've learned to hate with a passion. It's covered in thorns and rips you apart. Cuts take ages to heal as well.
   Ficus Swamp Forest
This is typical of peat substrate swamp forest in the area, The dominant tree species is a Ficus, here the tree in the middle. Many climbing ferns are also present, although not in this picture.
   Ficus Swamp Forest
This is us. From left to right, Ina Venter, the student whose project we were helping out with, Dr. Christine Bredenkamp, my supervisor's taxonomist wife, myself with the soil auger which we used to determine soil composition and water table depth, and Retief Grobler, who has helped out a lot with the departmental pond. He also works on peatlands, but further north of St. Lucia. The picture was taken by Prof. George Bredenkamp, my supervisor.
  Scleria poiformis and Ina
This picture shows the height of a Cyperaceae species, Scleria poiformis. The plastic bag to the left is my collecting bag. Ina is standing in a crocodile slide were I collected a Nymphaea capensis.
This is the Sphagnum moss that forms the peat of this peat swamp. It is the only peat swamp in South Africa that is formed by moss. The rest are mostly formed by Carax and Phragmites.
  Killer Buffalo
A little encounter we had. This is a loner Cape Buffalo for which the area is notorious. It's killed two tourists over the last two years. It was shot the next day.

<Page 1 | Field Trip To Arnot Station
St. Lucia 2003 - Mfabeni Swamp

 Profile - Jacques Gerber

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