Gaika's Kop is a isolated dolerite outcrop in the Amatola mountain range in the Eastern Cape. With an altitude of 1960 m, it is the highest peak in this range. It is situated above the well known mountain resort of Hogsback. It is named after a famous African chief who was head of the Xhosa nation in the late 1700s. The northern and eastern slopes are privately owned by local farmers, and are well managed and well conserved and used primarily for grazing livestock. The steep cooler and moister southern and western slope fall within the Department of Forestry Reserve and are managed by the the local Forest Company who keeps the peak clear of aliens and undertake periodic fire management, essential for the maintenance of the mountain grassland ecosystem. These slopes are dominated by Protea subvestita (pictured below) thickets and patches of mountain Bamboo (Thamnocalamus tesselatus). Having been well preserved, they are exceedingly rich in biodiversity with a wide range of interesting and rare mountain species, some of which are endemic. The steep cliffs near the summit are home to many cliff species like Cyrtanthus huttonii and other cliff dwelling plants.
The summit is in the form of a shallow basin about 3 hectares in extent with a stream draining to the north. The vegetation on the summit is dominated by Protea subvestita and Watsonia pillansii with many ericas, geophytes and beautiful orchids, notably populations of beautiful Disa crassicornis, Disa chrysostachya and Disa pulchra.
Gaika's Kop is favourite destination for hikers, botanists and other naturalists. Text furnished by Cameron McMaster. Photos were mostly taken January 17 2010 when a number of friends led by Cameron McMaster spent the morning exploring. The area had burned the year before. One group went to the summit and the other group explored the lower areas of the mountain. To see the photos click on the links to the pages or to a species listed in the table.
To see photos of the plants found in this region look at the plants arranged alphabetically on the pages listed below.
Information about the specific plant can be found by clicking on the name in the table. That will take you to the wiki page that has information and photos of that species. By holding the shift or control key down and clicking on the thumbnail that image in the table can be enlarged and then if you hold your mouse over the top left or right side of the photo an arrow will appear that will allow you to view the photos in the table in sequence.
|Gaika's Kop species|