09.02.2017

One-time blossom splendour unfolds in Sandhof at Maltahöhe


When it rains on the Sandhof farm near Maltahöhe and the 700 hectare clay pan is 15 to 20cm under water, thousands of Sandhof lilies, an amaryllis plant, grow.

The more rain and water all the more plants and a white and pink blossom splendour can be seen for a few days in the usually barren landscape.

Just 4cm large proboscises appear together with the so-called lilies. They feed on the plants and their larvae survive the dry season only thanks to these plants. Hardly anything is known about the lifecycle of these beetles.

In the past week is was raining on the farm Sandhof, on Tuesday they had 8mm and on the 700 hectare vegetation-free clay pan, the very first greenery broke through the barren soil. Here, after good rain, thousands of so-called “Sandhof lilies” grow when water fills the pan up to 15 to 20cm. “Unfortunately, the water evaporated very quickly and we, the owners of the farm who live in Lüderitzbucht, and we from the Maltahöhe Hotel, thought that there would be no blossoms this year,” said Marike Rawes. Two days later, however, 19 mm of rain fell and the pan filled with water again.

According to Rawes there are already a lot of flowering lilies but a lot of plants have their leaves but no flowers yet. On the weekend it will probably be an incredible sight when the lilies bloom, so say the owners the Morgan-family, and Marike Rawes.

The Sandhof Lilies belong to the Amaryllis plant species, and are not lilies, and the highest concentration of these flowers can be found here, they do appear in Botswana but not very frequently. This concentration of white-flowering lilies can only be found in Sandhof. As the flowers grow older they discolour and become pink.

This is the first time in four years where these lilies, the Crinum paludosum, can be seen. When the plants appear, there are big, black beetles about 4,5cm in length with red spots, on the plants. It is a proboscis species (Brachycerus ornatus) that feed on this plant type. “There are other lilies that are very similar to the Sandhof lily here in Namibia, especially in the north of the country,” said the renowned botanist Herta Kolberg.

Visitors who would like to see the flowering lilies at Sandhof have to get an entry ticket at Maltahöhe Hotel (adults N$20.00 and pensioners N$10.00) and get directions at the farm. The flowering pleasure lasts only a few days. Last night (Wednesday to Thursday, 8 and 9 February 2017) another 15mm of rain fell on Sandhof.

If you would like to pay the lilies a visit: they are only a 140 km scenic drive away from Kalahari Anib Lodge, situated 30km west of Mariental. 


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