Field Trip To St. Lucia
KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
2003 - Mfabeni Swamp

By Jacques Gerber
Click images to enlarge - Photo credits with large images

Jacques Gerber is a wetland ecologist, currently studying for his PhD in Botany at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and a water gardening enthusiast. The St. Lucia estuary is the largest estuarine system in Africa. The mouth of the estuary is located about 150 miles north of Durban along the east coast of South Africa. A narrow, seven-mile long channel connects the main body of St. Lucia with the western Indian Ocean. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park was declared a World Heritage Site in late 1999.

Disa Orchid
No idea of the species. We found these growing on slightly raised and therefore drier islands in the swamp. Some of these islands are barely a metre across.

Emptying a boot
Prof. George decided to wear Wellingtons in the swamp. The water was a lot deeper than the last time we were here, and we had to stop to empty boots occasionally. This picture was taken roughly in the middle of the swamp. The shore in the background is about a kilometre away.

Ferns, Cladium and Cyperus prolifera
Cyperus prolifera
looks like miniature papyrus. Cladium is vicious. The edges of the leaves are sharp, as is the ridge on the back of the leaf.

Hippo trail with young
N. capensis, Eleocharis and Ludwigia adscandens
This is in a small isolated section of the swamp next to a logging road. Some of the hippo trails are four feet or more deep.

Jacques in the swamp

Ina taking water conductivity measurements
This is on the eastern shore of the swamp. The stumps are pine trees.

Retief looking odd
Retief is standing on a sand berm used to seal off part of the road. We were having a late lunch after coming out of the swamp in a very footsore state.

Nymphaea capensis seedlings
Seedlings growing in a hippo trail. Feathery plant is a Utricularia species, while reddish leaved one in the top right hand corner is Ludwigia adscandens.

 Ina on a Strelitzia nicolai
We were taking a rest after an extremely hard slog, and had just exited the Mfabeni Swamp. On the extreme left of the picture is a small stream flowing through the swamp. The ridge is for the road that separates Mfabeni Swamp from Lake Bangasi.

2003 - Mfabeni Swamp - Page 2 >

2002 - St. Lucia Swamp Forest
Profile - Jacques Gerber
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