It’s no secret how proud we are at Saragossa Game Reserve of our gorgeous surroundings. The tranquil beauty of the Elands River Valley is something you have to experience to truly understand. Spectacular both in summer and winter, there’s floral treasures waiting for you to uncover them wherever you turn, and we’re sure your heart will be stolen by nature’s masterpieces as our own. With spring in the air, but winter’s chill grip still noticeable, here’s just a little of the floral fantasies that will lift your spirits on the reserve and in our neighbouring areas
Why is Mpumalanga so beautiful and diverse?
Mpumalanga’s secret is that her weather is defined by her face. There’s the highveld escarpment and its high-lying grasslands, a rise of the tropics where the temperature doesn’t compromise. It’s drier, hotter and alternately colder than the rest of the province. Then there’s the subtropical, sheltered lowveld and it’s gentler approach to life. Here the humid conditions and high rainfall make a gorgeous vista of lush green, packed with forests and waterfalls like at Elands River. Winter is gentler, and everything remains green and vibrant.
What flowers are common during the depths of winter?
This gentler winter means nights rarely pass zero. Winter is dry, however, and its native African plants that don’t mind the water scarcity that dominate the environment. Warm days provide a welcome break to the cool weather, with bright sun still filtering through. You’ll see many trees are a little bare, but this allows you to enjoy their natural shapes and appreciate the glorious colours of the bark, as well as the classic yellow and red leaf-falls that happen early in the season. The ‘Transvaal teak’, or Pterocarpus angolensis, looks particularly glorious in winter, with crazy zig-zag branches and distinctive bark drawing the eye. Watch out for patches of lavender trees and their gorgeous bark, too.
The Black Monkey Orange (Strychnos madagascariensis) will still show signs of it’s thick, woody blue-shelled fruit. The vibrant orange flesh is a favourite for Baboons in the area! But the local’s hearts belong to the vibrant flame-tinged glory of the aloes. Orange, yellow and red blazes across the landscape as these winter-blooming succulents flourish. Local birdlife loves feasting on the display, giving you a superlative chance to catch rare sightings.
And what happens as the weather turns?
With spring in the air, the buzz of hope and life returns too, enhancing the floral displays that will meet your eyes. The aloes continue to dominate the landscape with their vibrant blooms, but other plants rush to join the fun. The trees begin to put on their first new leaves, tender and green, and you’ll first see the Wild Pear (Dombeya rotundifolia) burst into flower. Creepers like Clivia miniata and the flame creeper soon follow, bringing a startling scarlet ambience to tempt photographers. The famous local sausage trees, members of the Begonia family, will also thrust out huge wine-red trumpet flowers to bring birds and bees surging back to life. Watch out for riotous displays from the ‘weeping boerbean’ beloved of sunbirds and the bright red berries and ‘paintbrush-like’ orange flowers of Scadoxus puniceus too!
Winter at Saragossa Game Reserve is far from a drab affair!
Unlike most of water-strapped Africa, the local lowveld is a riot of colour, texture and beauty that will lift your winter spirits and delight your heart.