Words and images by Pieter Oosthuizen
On day four of a long overdue commemorative journey, our luck finally ran out: farm gate number 62 was locked… knocking us completely off our stride. But, compared to the misfortunes of the guys we were trying to follow, this was clearly nothing to cry about.
Page back a couple of years before this mishap, to a sweltering Northern Cape afternoon near Goodhouse on the banks of the Orange River. This was when a big gun at the National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) had said, with a knowing smile, that if a South African aspires to become a botanist, then he or she has hit the jackpot.
“Because,” said Dr Anthony Magee, Senior Scientist at Kirstenbosch’s Compton Herbarium, “there is no better place on the planet to study flora. Our country makes up only 2.5 percent of the earth’s surface, but close to 10 percent of the world’s species are found here.”