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The Lithops Research & Conservation Foundation visited several of the Lithops colonies in northern Namibia in May 2019. The main aim was to visit the Lithops ruschiorum var. lineata colony but on the way to Purros, the last settlement before getting to the var. lineata colony, we passed another unique colony of the north, the Lithops gracilidelineata colony south of Fransfontein. These plants grow in an area of quartzite among large trees and the characteristic Pachypodium lealii plants. This colony of L. gracilidelineata are all pale grey plants with very smooth face surface areas. A short stop in this habitat revealed a few lovely plants. After a cup of coffee here in the shade of a thorn tree we set off to tackle the road northwards to Sesfontein via Palmwag for our overnight stop. The sight of the Desert Adapted Elephants along the way and several other not-often-seen succulents made the journey enjoyable. We braced ourselves the next day for the notoriously bad road to Purros but to our surprise the road was much improved and an estimated three-hour journey to Purros took less than two hours and that included many stops along the way to photograph animals such as giraffe and many succulents.

The accommodation at Purros was in chalets close to the riverbed and the fresh elephant tracks past the chalets indicated that we might see more of these animals here. A morning drive 50 km north of Purros and down the Khumib River brought us to the edge of the Skeleton Coast National Park where entry without a special permit is prohibited. Luckily the Lithops ruschiorum var. lineata colony occurs on the gneiss and quartzite hill just outside the park where we could climb up the rocks to look at these plants for hours on end. There are hundreds of plants on just this one rocky mountain.

Our return to Purros to the chalets for a cold drink and a BBQ was interrupted by the elephants close to the chalets and a photo session with these big animals.

The habitat of Lithops gracilidelineata in the presence of Pachypodium lealii on a bed of quartzite.

Lithops gracilidelineata growing with Pachypodium lealii.

The No Entry sign at the Skeleton Coast Park.

A large, very old Lithops ruschiorum var. lineata plant stuck in a crevasse on the rock.

A ‘young’ Lithops ruschiorum var. lineata plant with only two heads sporting at least 15 old leaves indicating that the plant is at least 15 years old.

A six headed Lithops ruschiorum var. lineata plant with wads of old retained leaves and mostly empty seed capsules blending into the background of similar coloured rock.

A Day Gecko sharing the rocks with Lithops ruschiorum var. lineata.

An orange pink Lithops ruschiorum var. lineata plant growing in the shade.

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