We spent 4 nights at Verbe Farm in September 2015, using it as a base for explorations of the surrounding region. This was at a good time for wildflowers – a bit past the peak from what locals said, but by our standards it was still excellent. We explored parts of the farm on foot (the farm is large!) and found many interesting plants on the granitic terrain.
The sign you see when you arrive at Verbe Farm.
Our restored 200 year old cottage at Verbe farm. The cottage was fully equipped and very private. We enjoyed nice views from almost every part of the cottage.
Our hosts were very friendly and hospitable. They gave us recommendations as well as a list and map of places nearby that were worth checking out. They provided information about good places to see the flowers. There is no 220 volt electricity at the cottage (there is limited solar), but you can charge your cell phone or camera batteries at the main house where the owners live. They also recommended places to eat.
Another view of the main house (on the right). To the left of the main house are cottages where workers live. One cottage (not the one we stayed at) are beyond the main house next to the large Eucalyptus.
Verbe Farm, with our cottage in the lower-center of the picture.
The farm has hosted a number of researchers and students who come and do their field research at the farm. Verbe Farm is primarily a sheep farm, but they only have a relatively small amount of sheep. They have at least 3 cottages for rent and one is large enough for a group.
The cute sheep grazing.
The cottage had everything we needed, including a nice electric heat pad for the bed as nights can be cold in the winter and spring.
Mike in front of the cottage
Views from the kitchen of our cottage.
This Aloe was flowering in front of the kitchen. Sunbirds were frequent visitors to the flowers.
The large fireplace.
There are many granitic exposures on the farm and within walking distance of our cottage. These had a variety of succulents and other interesting plants. We appreciated being able to walk and explore the large farm at leisure. Often we walked from our cottage.
Below we show some of the landscapes we explored at Verbe Farm and we highlight some of the succulents we encountered.
The hills and the shrubby vegetation.
Rocky hillside landscape. Note Mike for scale.
Small succulents required the small tripod to get close.
In the granitic habitats we found interesting succulent and non-succulent plants. Many plants were flowering.
Babiana gregii, an Iris.
Babiana gregii was flowering. Note how the plants grow in the rock cracks. This genus is in the Iridaceae family.
There were different kinds of lichens on the rocks.
Note the beautiful gneiss (metamorphosed granite).
The rocks were good habitat for lizards and insects.
Southern Rock Agama (Agama atra)
Closer view of an Agama atra.
Yet another Rock Agama – looks different but they can change colors rapidly.
Probably a Western Rock Skink (Trachylepis sulcata).
These beetles were abundant on the rocks.
The rocky slopes were easy to explore and there were many flowers to be enjoyed.
Beautiful rocky hillsides. Flowers and succulents rewarded our searches.
The rock crevices provide a moist environment for succulents and non-succulent plants. Note the variety of flowers in the picture. Most of these are annuals.
Mike with the colorful annuals that were very abundant on this particular rocky hillside.
There were many different types of flowers at this time. Most of these were annuals.
Many annuals were flowering at the time.
Beautiful blue flower – a composite of some sort.
These look like some type of bulb.
Flowering shrubby mesembs were common as were other succulents.
A “shrubby mesemb” flowering.
Some of the succulents were very small requiring a careful survey of the terrain.
A view of Conophytum pelucidum. They were not very conspicuous. A small size 6 ring, 16 mm in diameter (inside) shown for scale.
Rock crevices were also good places to look for succulents. More Conophytum pelucidum.
Small depressions are favorable environments for these Conophytum. Moisture probably remains here a bit longer. Note the colorful lichens covering the granite.
Closer view of Conophytum pelucidum.
Note the size of the Conophytum. The ring is 16 mm in diameter (inside).
Anacampseros filimentosa (or arachnoides?). Note the size 6 right (about 16 mm in diameter).
Anacampseros filimentosa (or arachnoides?) with flower buds.
An interesting succulent, perhaps an Adromischus sp?
A coser view of the plant above.
A species of Trachyandra. These plants are in the family Asphodelaceae and of the 60 or so species there are about 20 that are found in Namaqualand.
Closer view of Tylecodon wallichii.
Although not very common we found this group of Aloe dichotoma growing in the hills close to the cottage.
One one of the days we went over towards the main house direction and hiked the hills above the main house. We wanted to get close to large Tylecodon paniculatum we had seen with binoculars. They were abundant on this hillside.
The watchful but friendly farm dog followed us for a bit as we climbed the hill to get closer to the Tylecodon paniculatum.
Rosario next to Tylecodon paniculatum.
Closer view of Tylecodon paniculatum.
Tylecodon paniculatum with Rosario in the foreground and the main farm buildings in the background. Our cottage is to the right, not visible in this picture.
On the sandier, less rocky habitats near our cottage we found many examples of Conicosia pugioniformis, a succulent with beautiful yellow flowers.
Conicosia pugioniformis flowering. The plants resemble sea anemonae. These plants are colonizers of disturbed patches of soil.
Closer view of Conicosia pugioniformis flowers.
Insects were abundant in the numerous flowers we saw at the farm.
Some bulbs were also present. These ones were possibly grazed by small antelope or by the sheep.
A species of Stapelia. Very hard to see unless you look carefully under the bushes.
We saw evidence of rodent activity.
Mole mounds. We were told that a group had come to the farm to study the moles.
From the farm we explored some areas nearby. One such area was Namaqualand National park and we also drove on some dirt road that went to the mountains in areas outside the farm.
Although we were there near the end of the flowering season we were able to enjoy some very impressive floral displays at Namaqualand National Park. The flowers were primarily annual composites or sunflowers, but there were some succulents flowering there as well.
The carpets of flowers that have made Namaqualand in bloom a tourist attraction
Note the Conicosia pugioniformis surrounded by flowers.
There were country roads leading into the mountains near Verbe farm. We took one of those roads on one of our day trips.
Road signs on the dirt country road we took on one of our day trips from Verbe farm.
This country road near Verbe farm was scenic.
A nice tea house was on this country road.
A nice place for a break and a light lunch.
Interesting pots for the beautiful flowers at the tea house.
Closer view of the flowers that decorated the outdoor area of the cafe.
On the morning of our last day at the farm we discovered by accident that a partial solar eclipse was taking place. Mike grabbed a camera and took some pictures of the event. This was just after sunrise. A nice ending to our stay at Verbe farm.
Partial solar eclipse with Aloe dichotoma on the right. These photos were taken right outside our cottage in the early morning.
An underexposed view of the partially-eclipsed sun.