13 April 2011

South Africa Thrills Nebraska Botany Professor

A unique opportunity to visit South Africa allowed Dr. David M. Sutherland a chance to experience and enjoy new sorts of flora and fauna.

Ibis at Capetown

Protea at the Kirstenbosch Gardens

All photographs courtesy of David M. Sutherland, and used with permission

During his two week vacation to the Cape Town vicinity of South Africa - with its distinctive "Fynbos" type of vegetation - he enjoyed the endemic flora and African fauna of the area.

The Kerstenbosch Botanical Gardens were "simply gorgeous," Dr. Sutherland said, "and were a jewel of the city." Especially appreciated were examples of plants such as the representatives of the families Proteceae and Aizoaceae, which are seldom seen in North America.

Two days were spent at the Garden Route Game Lodge, a private facility where a variety of large animals roam the property. There were white rhinos, antelopes, zebras, giraffes and others which could be enjoyed up close. Since the group stayed overnight, there were able to get among the animals during different parts of the day.

Giraffes at the Garden Route Game Lodge

Penguins at Boulder Beach

During a visit to two coastal colonies of African penguins, the visitors were able to get quite close to the birds, which were actively breeding.

At the West Coast National Park, there were the showy flamingos to enjoy.

Black oystercatchers at West Coast Park

Flamingos at West Coast Park

"The idea of going to this area really appealed to me," Sutherland said. The flora, animals and birds in this area are extremely interesting," noting his visit was the "thrill" of a lifetime.

As a retired botany professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Dr. Sutherland is well acquainted with the plants and vegetation of the Great Plains. His only other previous trips overseas were to England.

Dr. David M. Sutherland in Africa.