Say ‘Dune Strandveld’, or more precisely ‘Overberg Dune Strandveld’, and you get a mental picture of huge mounds of white sand. Well, huge mounds of white sand are seldom far from it, but in reality Overberg Dune Strandveld is dense thicket, populated by low growing trees, among them the well named, species rich ‘taaibos’ (‘tough bush’) of the genus Searsia, dune olive Olea exasperata, sea guarrie Euclea racemosa, Cape coast cabbage trees Cussonia thyrsiflora and a host of others.

But Overberg Dune Strandveld is not only about low growing trees and shrubs. Succulent shrubs of the genera Crassula, Drosanthemum, Osteospermum, Othonna and Tetragonia share this startlingly diverse habitat with semiparasitic shrubs like the elegant, grey-green Osiris compressa (Cape sumach), herbaceous plants including various species of Helichrysum, Senecio, Cineraria and Manulea and geophytes (bulb and corm forming plants), among them Brunsvigia orientalis (candelabra flower) and Chasmanthe aethiopica (cobra lily), which were in full flower.

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Chasmanthe aethiopica Brunsvigia orientalis

The dense thicket of Overberg Dune Strandveld provides wonderful protection for other delights, both floral and faunal. We’re looking forward to the flowering season, in September, of the members of the orchid family, the Satyrium spp, that are presently flourishing under the cover the thicket provides.

It was no wonder we didn’t walk far in the Overberg Dune Strandveld at the foot of Blesberg on the western end of the Silversands area. In fact, you could pick a spot deep in the bush and sit down, pull out your guidebooks to fynbos and trees, pour yourself a mug of coffee from your flask (it was a bracing winter’s morning after all) and spend a happy few hours in one spot and be completely absorbed.

Many thanks to Barbara Jenman for the idea!