Conference on

19 to 21 June 2012

Forever Resorts Blyde Canyon
Mpumalanga, South Africa

The event will be organized by the Inhlaba Indaba organising committee with the cooperation of the Succulent Society of South Africa (SSSA), the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), The Plant Specialist Group and Gariep Plants succulent nursery. The title of the conference is derived from 'inhlaba', isiZulu for 'aloe' and indaba' which means 'meeting" or 'gathering' in isiZulu. 'Indaba' can also refer to 'story'; this is very appropriate as this gathering will look at the Story of Aloes

Table of contents


The African/Madagascan region is host to more than half of the world's succulent plant species. There is general consensus that aloes are the flagship of these succulents. Mankind has been fascinated by them for millennia, at first for their medicinal uses and the colour they bring in an often dry winter landscape. In the last few centuries the interest has moved on to the scientific level. Cosmetic uses have become as important as the medicinal. Aloes have also become the serious interest of collectors and they are playing an important role in horticulture and landscaping.

The conference programme will be looking at all of these aspects. Presentations will include talks giving a photographic picture of the wealth and variety of species from areas covering Madagascar, the Arabian peninsula, north east Africa, central Africa, south west Africa as well as southern Africa. Unique habitats in these areas will be discussed. Other presentations will look at recent discoveries and the latest research as far as relationships between species are concerned. The use of aloes in traditional and modern medicine, cosmetic uses, the horticultural importance of the plants, their roll in landscaping and the exciting breeding of aloe cultivars will be discussed as well. Although a number of these will be based on serious scientific research, presentations will presented in such a way that it will be accessible to amateur botanists and gardeners.

The conference programme

MONDAY 18 June

Bus trip to venue
18:00 Registration
18:30 Welcoming function


09:00 - 09:25: Welcoming word: Prof Gideon Smith
On behalf of SANBI and the SSSA
09:25 - 10:15: Opening lecture: Prof Braam van Wyk: Taxonomy and natural history of Aloe: current knowledge and future prospects
10:15 – 11:00: Ronell Klopper: An introduction to the aloes of the world
11:30 - 12:15: Ernst van Jaarsveld: Aloes from south western Africa: Namibia and Angola
13:15 – 14:00: Tom McCoy: Aloes from Saudi Arabia
14:00 – 14:45: Giuseppe Orlando: Socotra: Aloes and other marvels
15:15 – 16:00: Prof. Len Newton: An Aloe miscellany: East and West Tropical Africa


09:00 - 09:45: Ernst van Jaarsveld: Aloes on the edge: cremnophytes
09:45 - 10:30: Dr. Olwen Grace: Unlocking the secrets of DNA in the classification of aloes
11:00 - 11:45: Prof. Ben-Erik van Wyk: The uses of aloe in traditional and modern medicine
13:00 – 14:45
Leo Thamm: Breeding of cultivars
Andy de Wet: Aloes in Landscaping
Quinton Bean: Cultivation and maintenance of Aloes
15:15 – 16:00: Pharmaceutical and cosmetic products developed from aloes
18:30 for 19:00: Conference Banquet


09:00 - 09:45: Giuseppe Orlando: Aloes in Madagascar
09:45 - 10:30: Tom McCoy: Aloes of Somalia
11:00 - 11:45: Dr. Neil Crouch: The discovery and popularisation of aloes in southern Africa: where, when and why

Afternoon free

Visits to the nearby attractions like the famous Bourke’s Luck Pot Holes. Spectacular hiking trails are available at the resort

Ample time will be available during tea breaks, lunches and in the evenings for informal discussions. This will be a special opportunity to meet and interact with speakers and participants from all over the world.

The venue

The resort overlooks the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world. It is situated in Mpumalanga Province, close to the border with Limpopo Province. These two provinces host one of the richest concentrations of aloes in the world, not only in the range of species found, but also in the sheer number of plants.


The following options will be available:

Bookings would normally be for four nights (from Monday night to Friday morning). Participants who would like to return home on Thursday afternoon, may book for three nights.


Lunches as well as coffee/tea form part of the conference.

Breakfast and dinner will be available at the Kadishi restaurant which overlooks the gorge and the famous Three Rondavels.


Local participants will be able to travel in their own vehicles; travelling time from Gauteng is about 4 hours. Luxury bus transport will be available to take participants to the resort on Monday 18 June. Various stops at localities where aloes will be in flower will be made en route. The bus will return to Pretoria on Friday 22 June. Participants from Gauteng will be welcome to make use of this transport facility as well.

Pre-conference accommodation and garden visits

Accommodation in top class guest houses in Pretoria will be available on 16 and 17 June. Participants who are able to arrive on Saturday 16 June (or early on Sunday 17 June) will have the opportunity to visit aloe gardens in the Gauteng area.

Guest house accommodation can also be arranged before 16 June as well as after the conference.

Airport transfers will be arranged at the participants' cost


For costs, please see the registration form, which is available in MSWord format on this website.

Congress cost will include the full three day programme, including coffee/tee and lunch. Included as well is the opening function on Monday evening and the banquet on Wednesday evening.

Transport cost will include transport to the venue and back as well as the afternoon outing on the Thursday afternoon.

Click here for a registration form


A number of exhibitions are planned during the conference, they will include an exhibition of botanical art with aloes as theme, a book exhibition, a display of aloe products, and obviously, an aloe plant expo. Artwork as well as books (new and antiquarian) will be for sale.

Facilities at the Resort

Blyde Convenience Store
Sun - Thu: 08:00 - 18:00 and Fri & Sat: 08:00 - 20:00
This well stocked convenience store offers a variety of consumer products including fresh produce and fresh meat. Wood and charcoal is available from the security gate at the main entrance after hours

Filling Station
Sun – Thu: 06:00 – 18:00 and Fri & Sat: 06:00 – 20:00
The filling station is situated at the entrance of the resort.

Kadisi Bar
A cocktail bar is situated in the Kadisi Restaurant.
Sundowners are also served on the Restaurant patio.

Liquor Store
Mon – Thu: 09:00 - 18:00 and Fri & Sat: 09:00 – 20:00
The liquor store is situated next to the Filling Station. It offers a wide range of estate wines at reasonable prices. Closed between 13:00 - 14:00

Cell phone reception: Vodacom, Cell C and MTN coverage is available at the resort.

Attractions in the vicinity of the Resort

Attractions include the famous Potholes, Eco Caves and various waterfalls. Participants could visit these attractions on Thursday afternoon or on the days before and after the conference. Additional accommodation could be arranged on request.

A range of hiking trails are available at the resort.

For more information about the resort you can visit the resort website:

Tour to Aloe localities

In the programme below the proposed route for each day, a few of the aloes which will be on the route (there will be more aloes and other succulents, of course) and the overnight stop are given.

Friday 22 June

Graskop, Sabie, Whiteriver, Nelspruit
A. alooides, A. petricola, A. barbertoniae
Overnight: Barberton

Saturday 23 June

Badplaas, Amsterdam, Piet Retief, Wakkerstroom
A. chortiliroides, A. thorncroftii, A. vryheidensis, A. parvibracteata, A. maculata, A. dewetii
Overnight: Wakkerstroom or Utrecht

Sunday 24 June

Utrecht, Vryheid, Louwsburg, Pongola, Mkuze Game Reserve, Muzi Pan
A.marlothii (orange and red flowers), A.umfoloziensis
Overnight: Sodwana Bay

Monday 25 June

Makhathini Flats, Ubombo Mountains, Border Caves, Ndumo
A.chabaudii, A. umfoloziensis, A. marlothii, A. vanbalenii, A. suprafoliata, A. spicata
Overnight: Sodwana Bay

Tuesday 26 June

False Bay, Eshowe
A. barberae, A. rupestris
Overnight: Melmoth

Wednesday 27 June

Melmoth / Greytown area
A. gerstneri
Overnight: Greytown

Thursday 28 June

Muden, Weenen, Colenso, Howick
A. mudenensis, A. spectabilis, A. prinslooi
Overnight: Howick

Friday 29 June

Bulwer, Himeville, Underberg, Kokstad , Umtamvuna valley
A. ferox
Overnight: Port Edward

Saturday 30 June

Port Edward area
A. thraskii
Depart from King Shaka airport (Durban) to OR Tambo airport (Johannesburg)

How to contact us

If you would like to obtain more information or if you have any questions, or if you would like to be kept informed about the conference, please write to