The Bush Telegraph

News from Tshikwalo Game Lodge and Dinokeng Nature Reserve

Bush Walk | Learning in nature

Learning about the environment and all the different aspects of nature helps us to better understand the beauty that is the bushveld.

Our Field guides in Dinokeng were recently accompanied by the experts for a bush walk, where they where learning and discovering more about the fauna and flora in our beautiful Dinokeng area.

They were exploring all the different type os plants and tree types that you can find not only at Tshikwalo but throughout the Dinokeng nature reserve.

Our field guides are constantly trained and equipped with new and useful knowledge. This ensures that they give our guests the best possible experience and information.

Next time you visit us, come and join us for one of our fun bushwalks, and experience it for yourself. But in the meantime here are some fun facts that might help you on your bushwalk!

 

Top 5 grass species in Dinokeng

 

Finger grass:
Length up to 1.8 m. Has 3 to 15 spikes, in one or two whorls, can be seen at the culms tip. The lower
part of the plant is usually hairy.

Flower- January – April.

Curly leaf:
Length up to 1 m. Curly Leaf is a lasting grass. Dry leaves are open and curled. Lower leaf cover is
papery. It is an important grazing grass in little or no rainy parts.

Flower: October – May

Red grass/ rooi gras:
Healthy condition of field if it’s in the area. Length up to 1,5 m. A tufted perennial with 8 mm leaf
blades. V-shaped spikes. The grass is pleasant to taste in summer, but turns red and brittle in winter.

Flower: October – July

Buffalo grass:
Length up to 1 m. 8 mm leaf blades. This type of grass is pleasant to taste and is popular by grazers

Flower: August – April

Yellow thatching grass:
Tall, tufted long lasting with 12 mm leaf blades and a length up to 3 m. The perennial is purplish-red with yellow and the leaf has prominent structure resembling, with unbanked culms. Popular for thatch houses.

Flower: December – June.

Top 5 trees in Dinokeng

 

Monkey thorn:
Tshikwalo (lodge name meaning)

Trees have a maximum height of 30 m, largest South African acacia. The main woody stem is 2 m in diameter. The bark is whitish-yellow in young trees and darkens with maturity (fully grown)

Thorns are short, dark, sharply hooked and strongly bent. They grow in pairs, far apart below the leaf buds, and are 3–9 mm long. This is a fast growing, large tree with luxuriant, light green foliage and provides invaluable shade for wildlife of all kinds.

Marula:
Grow up to 18 m tall. They grow on various types of woodlands. They can produce flowers from September to November and bear fruit from January to March. The fruits are fit to be eaten and very high in vitamin C. Warthog, elephant, Waterbuck, giraffe and kudu all eat the fruit and leaves of the tree.

Culture uses:
• Oil is used as a skin cosmetic. Their green leaves are eaten to relieve heartburn.

Tamboti:
The bark is characteristically rough and black. Tamboti is medium-sized (about 10 meter) deciduous tree with a straight, clear trunk, occurring in the warmer parts of Southern Africa.

Culture uses:
• Used mostly for carving, luxury furniture. Because of its limited quantities, and the defectiveness of the tree, it is a rare wood and therefore high grade furniture.

• The Tamboti is well known for the milky latex it secretes which is poisonous to humans, but not to animals. It is a very popular food source for many species of antelope, for elephants and monkeys; black rhino are particularly partial to the Tamboti and porcupines enjoy the bark to such a degree that they sometimes ring bark the trees causing them to die.

Sicklebushs: (Sekelbos)
Spiny tree that grows up to 3.5 m in height in hot climates. Grows to a height of between 5 and 6 m and has an untidy, straggly appearance. The bark on young trees is green and on older trees become dark-grey brown. The flowers are unique in appearance, resembling small lanterns on the tree.

Culture uses:

• The dead fallen branches dry naturally in the hot desert sun making this dense hardwood the perfect fuel for braai’s, BBQ’s and fireplaces. This wood is very well known for use with potjies and the natural oil enhances flavours of the meat you are cooking. The Chinese lantern style flowers are characteristically and bicoloured cylindrical.

Buffalo thorn:
This is a tree that grows up to 17m tall. It is a fast growing. The bark is rough and is dark grey to brown in colour. The flowers are silvery green in colour. Flowers can be found between October to April, with fruit being found between February to August. Thorns are found in pairs on the branches, one thorn being straight with one hooked.
Afrikaans common name Blinkblaar.
Culture uses:
• Branches are used for protection of cattle and sometimes on someone’s graves of dead family members. The wood is used for implements and fuel. Certain people believe the tree is safe to use as a shelter against lightning.