Walking Update 16: V is for Vygies

Vygies,  mesembryanthemums , is another plantgroup found in the dry Namaqualand and coastal areas of the Northern Cape South Africa. These  colourful plants feature silky-textured flowers in just about every colour of the rainbow and is part of the succulent family.

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The name Vygie literally means small fig and is based on the fact that the top fruiting capsule  resembles a small fig.

These flowers have names which sound just as colourful as the flowers themselves.

How does ghoena, ghôkum, steekvy, kougoed, vingerkanna, brakslaai, asbos, loogslaai, kirriemoer, haasballetjies to name but a few sound?

Vygies are more abundant in the dry sandy, coastal regions and especially in the coastal area of the Namaqua National Park.


From the town of Garies the park lies about  75 km. towards the coast and offers various camps and camping sites to overnight. To me this seemed a wonderful place to spend a few nights as a base from which to further explore the region.


The town  Garies is a small agricultural centre in South Africa’s Northern Cape province situated about 110 km south of Springbok the chief town of the Namaqualand district.

In 1845, Garies sprang up on land given to the Dutch Reformed Church by the owner of the farm Goedeverwagting.  Originally named after the farm, its present name, a Khoisan word meaning ‘couch-grass’, was given it by former Cape premier John X Merriman.

The village of Garies consists of one long street with a church, a cluster of houses and shops that are built on the banks of the stream Garies.  The Nama people named this area “Th’aries” after the couch grass that grew along the banks of the stream and this was later changed to Garies.

Reality is that at present I am nowhere near these beautiful  and colourful sounding places. No I am back in a very cold Pretoria where the winter is showing us the last of its winterteeth. Every time I make it to the treadmill for an excercise session, I reward myself with a little bit of armchair travel and dreaming.

Now to the walking report.

I am still walking only 15 minutes at a time and my foot tolerates the excercise well. So I will try to lengthen the time to 20 minutes next week.

Slightly Obsessed With Succulents

Ugly, spiky, thorny plants stuck between bare rocks in the rockery where nothing else would grow. This might be the picture that many of us have of succulents.

Recently however, there has been a renewed interest in these interesting and adaptable plants. They are being used in many gardens in new and striking ways, becoming a focus point in our gardens and serving the dual purpose of saving water in a country where water shortages are looming more and more on the horizon.

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Succulents are plants that have adapted to arid climates by developing tissues that store water. Different succulents may accumulate moisture in their leaves, stems, roots, or a combination of the three. Succulents comprise hundreds of plant genera, including many plants we recognize by their common names.

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Aloes are indigenous to South Africa and there are a myriad of species available. Although these plants thrive on little water they do need some water and will flower abundantly if circumstances are favourable. The flowers vary from bight red to orange and yellow.

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Succulents grow well in pots and make a beautiful statement or feature in the garden or on a table on the veranda.

S 4The photos above comprise only a very few of the variety of succulents available. They provide a huge amount of  options in colour, form, texture, foliage and size. Add to these features the bonus of striking flowers and I wonder what is not to love about these plants?

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So let us take our environment into account and plant plants that are water friendly in our country with its growing tendency to droughts and resulting water shortages.