Mid-Congress Tours

The Mid-Congress Tours will be held on Wednesday 23 July 2014 from 11h00 until 18h00, except for the pastures tour which will depart immediately after breakfast.

Mid-Congress Tours

The Mid-Congress Tours will be held on Wednesday 23 July 2014 from 11h00 until 18h00, except for the pastures tour which will depart immediately after breakfast.

Cultivate Pastures Tour to Umpukane, Clocolan

IMPORTANT NOTE: This tour will depart directly after breakfast at 08h00 and return before 18h00.
 

Umpukane is situated in the Eastern Free State just outside Clocolan. The current cultivated pastures consists mainly of Digitaria smutsii, while on-farm trials are currently conducted to identify a suitable legume to be planted in combination with Digitaria. Such legumes might include Crownvetch, Sainfoin and Mellilotus alba. Currently the soil carbon content (1.35%) of cultivated pastures is higher than that of other cultivated (crop production) fields. While the soil carbon content of natural veld ranges between 2 and 3%. The main objective is to make use of a no=till system on the cultivated pastures and to gradually increase the soil carbon content over time.

Pricky Pear (Opuntia) Trials at Waterkloof

IMPORTANT NOTE: This tour will depart directly after the parallel session at 11h00 and return before 18h00.

 

Waterkloof is a commercial farm about 20 km west of Bloemfontein. About 15 ha of cactus pear were established 10 years ago which includes a trial with 42 cultivars. It is utilized as fresh and dry fodder for cattle and gemsbok, while silage is also made of excess fruit. Cactus seed oil is also extracted. Productivity in terms of cladode and fruit production is monitored as well as adaptability. The orchard will be visited; various feed and food products will be displayed, while cutting and seed extraction machines will also be seen.

Amanzi Private Game Reserve

IMPORTANT NOTE: This tour will depart directly after the parallel session at 11h00 and return before 18h00.
 

Amanzi is located close to Brandfort, 40 minutes from Bloemfontein. It consists of about 4 000 ha of woodland/thicket, including koppies (rocky outcrops) – you would never say it is located in the Grassland Biome! There are over 30 game species present, including Lion, Cape Buffalo, Kudu, Eland, Lechwe, Sable, Roan, Giraffe, Zebra, Bontebok, Blesbok, Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, and many more. Vivian Butler (knowledgeable field guide) will take you on an interesting game drive and also show you the high standard bomas used for Amanzi’s game auctions. He will inform you about their extensive game ranching practices, as well as the intensive breeding of sable and buffalo. He is also busy with his Masters degree (supervisors: Beanélri Janecke and Nico Smit) on the feeding ecology of kudu and will share with you some of the exciting finds of his research.

Free State National Botanical Garden

IMPORTANT NOTE: This tour will depart directly after the parallel session at 11h00 and return before 18h00.

 

The Botanical Garden covers 70 ha and is nestled in a valley between picturesque dolerite koppies. It has a fine collection of indigenous trees and, in the developed area, it houses 300 plant species from the Free State, Northern Cape and Lesotho. Small gardens following a theme are scattered throughout the Garden, like medicinal plants, succulents, fragrance garden, garden of hope, etc. A series of vistas leads one naturally through the Garden, to the wooded koppies, up on to the rocky outcrops (which overlook the Garden) and back down to the dam, to the bird hide and the lush green lawns. There is also natural vegetation, such as grassland, wetland and woodland areas. A fossil tree trunk, estimated to be 150 – 300 million years old is on display in the Garden, along with a living Wild Olive tree thought to be 200 years old. Remains of pottery from Iron Age seSotho dwellers inhabiting the site are on display in the education centre. Some historical sites from when British soldiers were stationed in the vicinity during the South African War (1899-1902) are also present. The Italian Prisoners of War built the curators house during World War II, that was probably used as hospital for these prisoners. Ziets Zietsman (Botanist of the National Museum) will entertain you with interesting snippets on the plants, while Beanélri Janecke will give a presentation on birds and animals of the grassland. After the presentations and mini tour, you can relax by sitting on a bench under a shady tree, or in the restaurant, or by exploring the Garden on your own time, or you can follow the two short walking trials (40 minutes and 70 minutes at a leisurely pace, about 2 km each) over the koppies. The Garden is a wonderful place for nature lovers to just stroll and unwind in the scenic setting.

Kwaggafontein: ecology of the endangered Bloemfontein Dry Grassland, Central Free State

IMPORTANT NOTE: This tour will depart directly after the parallel session at 11h00 and return before 18h00.

 

Kwaggafontein is situated 15km west of Bloemfontein and belongs to the Bloemfontein Zoo. It is one of the only places where pristine areas of this endangered vegetation type still exists. We will look at the grass species which characterize this vegetation type as well as at its total biodiversity. Will also look at the threats and why it is listed as endangered.

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