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Wild honey bee surprise

The valley had an amazing sub tropical feeling to it, not at all expected in the Little Karoo.

I was chatting to the land owner about the flowers, the old houses and the absolute tranquility. He described the veld as a crossover rhenoster to tropical rhenoster bush.

Before long we were on the topic of honey bees. He mentioned that there were feral colonies in the valley and one in particular that he would be willing to show me.

We left the next morning, following a winding trail through the coppies, towards the mountain. After a sweaty 30min walk, we reached an overhanging rock face with a hole in it, full of honey bees and dark comb.

The honey bees seemed to be in good spirits, darting in and out of the hole on a mission to gather as much of the surrounding nectar and pollen.

We carefully made our way through some thorny bush to the base of the rock face. A pathway made of fine sand tracked all along the bottom towards an upward reaching ladder. I was staring at the ladder, wondering how high up the honey bees were when the land owner caught my attention, gesturing towards the rock face. There was a bushman painting depicting two human figures.

While admiring the faded art work, I couldn’t help wondering how long the honey bees had been here. Did the bushman painter mark the rock walls as a special place that he frequented for sweet honey?

The ladder was crude and practical, erected by the locals with plundering in mind.

It was about 2.5 meter high with cross rungs made out of fencing wire, reaching to the bottom of the wild hive.

Dean Lennox



Does the flower make the honeybee or the honeybee the flower?