Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

I've had a wonderful day!  I accompanied my husband on a field trip to the Hemel-en-Aarde (translation: Heaven and Earth) Valley.  

We left shortly after 9h00 and arrived back home just after 19h00, having successfully accomplished our objective, namely to visit and log the nine individual sites required of this survey.

My husband takes his camera everywhere.  He needs to do so to keep an accurate record for his consultancy work and, now that I'm blogging, I proudly took mine along, too.  What fun I had!
To begin, herewith a selection of pictures I took.  I'll also include a few taken by my husband to follow on from these.

View from the highest point on the survey agenda.  This lovely pink pelargonium was growing everywhere.
Please click on the read more link below to continue this post...

The day was overcast and drizzly with intermittent, sunny spots.  Perfect for what we had to do!

This rock feature looked so much like a sentinel guarding the valley below.  A fish eagle was calling when I took this picture.  Hauntingly beautiful!

This treehouse was in the bluegum forest of the site we visited first. 

Just look at the colour of these mosses and lichens!

Simply had to capture this leaf swirling past.

We saw two waterfalls on this excursion.  This was the first.  At this stage, we were being serenaded by two amorous Piet-my-vrou birds (known in America as the mocking bird and in the UK as a cuckoo).  Unfortunately, being such furtive birds, we were not able to spot them.

This striking plant is a member of the Asteracea family, but it's been infected by a disease or gall-forming insect and has put out unusual leaves.  It is known as fasciation and is an aberration. (Information provided by a botanist colleague of my husbands!).

My usual fascination with rocks, dripping water, ferns and mosses was in overdrive, today.  I have collected a couple of new treasures for my garden at home - two pieces of driftwood and three nice rocks :) 

Can you see the two frogs?  They obliged me to this point - when I bent lower, they decided it was time to flee :(

More mossy rock, fern and water...I can never have too much!

This is the second of the two waterfalls we saw. 

Falling water!  How glorious the sound...true music to my ears!

Ferns and grasses damp with dew and spray from the waterfall.

Glistening sticks and twigs washed over the waterfall and nestling prettily here for me.

 The following pictures are a tiny selection of those taken by my husband.

Fallen log.  What a lovely place to lie...

Just look at my husband's sentinel! 

My husband's favourite subject to photograph - falling water.

The second waterfall.  No access to the general public as it's on private land. 

This is the male form of the Aulax Umbellata, a member of the protea family.

"Hey, I'm the resident crab around here...what you doing, trespassing on my turf?!"

On our way back to the car from viewing the second waterfall.  I wish I could convey the smells and sounds in addition to the sights. 

Bluegum forest - those Aussies will be jumping for joy.  It's just like home to them ;)

This is strictly private property - being able to see it is one of the perks of the type of work my husband does.  How lucky we are!

This little chap looked startled to see us, but he remained long enough for my husband to snap his picture :)  He's a rock rabbit (hyrax) or dassie, as known in SA lingo.

Even in death, this tree trunk (stripped bare of its protective bark) is captivating.

A Malachite sunbird my sharp-eyed husband spotted - it was quite a distance away, so required nifty zoom action.  I love the irridescent colouring.  Wish I could entice one of these to visit my garden!


  1. Again ????...soo so beautiful valley !!!...thanks for your comment ! are more than welcome as a new follower !!....please more how happier i am.....hahahahhaha!! love Ria.....

  2. So happy you enjoyed that little excursion into the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Ria.

    I'm popping over to join up as a follower of your blog right now ;)

    Have a lovely day!

  3. STUNNING photos!!! I am so homesick world is white...pretty, but freezing and have been snowed in for a week!

  4. What a beautiful location and what gorgeous photos. I too love ferns and running water. Unfortunately, at the moment, my ferns are covered in snow and the water is solidified :)

    Likewise, the frogs are deep buried in the thick mud at the bottom of my pond, not to be seen til about March.

    My photos reminded me of Christmas cards too. I'm curious. What is braais please?

  5. So pleased you enjoyed the photos, Sharon. So, I'm guessing you're originally from SA? No wonder the weather is getting you under ;) I would definitely not be able to cope with those temperatures!

  6. To answer your query, H:

    A braai is SA terminology for barbeque (USA) or barbie (Oz). Basically, cooking ones meat over open coals. A very popular SA past- time ;)

  7. I just loooved seeing all of these pictures. I know so little about where you live and what it looks like that I really enjoyed seeing more. It was fun seeing some of your wildlife too.

  8. I, too, know very little about where you live - that's what makes blogging so much fun. We can share so much!

  9. Ahhhhh! Barbie, I understand :) Got one of those.


I would love to hear from you!