The main reason for our drive out of town yesterday was to admire some of the many aloes that are still blooming in the veld at this time of the year.
The most dominant of these are the beautiful Aloe ferox (also known as Bitter Aloe), some of which can grow up to five meters. In the picture below you can see younger plants in the foreground with older ones behind – easily recognised not only by their height, but by the dry leaves that remain on the stem as the aloe grows.
This one has the beginning of a potentially large termite mound developing at its base.
Although their spiky leaves are usually a dullish green, they can turn a reddish colour during drought conditions.
Seen close up, one can appreciate how beautiful their flowers are.
Aloe ferox are widely distributed throughout the drier parts of South Africa and provide an abundant source of food for insects and birds during the colder months of the year. We saw Black-eyed Bulbuls and Streaky-headed Seedeaters feeding on them next to the road, as well as these bees.