06 April 2011

Melville Koppies Nature Reserve

Since reading an article by Wendy Carstens on Melville Koppies in the December issue of Veld & Flora (from where this photo of Sharon Dlamini admiring a Wild Pear tree by Wendy Carstens is taken) I have been keen to visit this fascinating place. Melville Koppies is a Nature Reserve and a Johannesburg City Heritage Site. It is the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg’s ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886 and its geology goes back three billion years. Stone tools show evidence that humans in the Early Stone Age camped here 500 000 years ago, as well as evidence of Late Stone Age and Iron Age activities. The vegetation of the Koppies is entirely indigenous and is a remarkable example of the richness of Highveld grasses, flowers and trees so close to a city centre. They have fantastic organized walks and an impressive education programme - especially so because everything is funded entirely by donations.

If you live in Jozi - pay them a visit. And if you don't, pay their impressive website a visit instead.

Books and cds you can order Peter R. Johnson compiled a booklet Flowering Times on the Melville Koppies. This is a guide to what one can expect to find in flower in any month of the year on Melville Koppies. The flowers of each month are colour-coded with page references to Field guide to the Wild Flowers of the Highveld by Braam van Wyk and Sasa Malan. Wendy Carstens has put together PowerPoint presentations on CD of The Flowers of Melville Koppies (which has nearly 200 photos, many of them taken by Maria Cabaco who spent hours exploring the Koppies with her camera), as well as of Trees and Shrubs, Geology, and An Overview of Melville Koppies. Funds from sales (CDs at R50 each, booklet at R30, plus R20 postage) are used for the maintenance of Melville Koppies by the Friend's volunteer Management Committee. Contact fomk@km.org.za for orders.

Read their article in Veld & Flora.

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