My experiences living in Cape Town and travelling in Africa

Posts tagged “flowers

Where to find the best West Coast flowers

A field of flowers in the West Coast National Park during flower season

Earlier this week I was invited by SANParks to take a trip out to the West Coast National Park, just an hour and a half away from Cape Town to see the famous flowers that burst out of the ground at this time of year. You could trawl along the various roads heading north out of Cape Town in search of these wild flowers but for a guaranteed sighting why not head straight to the Postberg section of the West Coast National Park, which is open for flower season during the months of August & September.

A field of flowers in the West Coast National Park during flower season

I have been to the West Coast National Park every year for the last five years and I can safely say these are the best flowers I have ever seen both in quantity and variety.

 

And the Postberg section is not just about the flowers, if you follow the road right to the top (more…)

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Hiking a charred Chapman’s Peak

Hiking up Chapman's Peak above Hout Bay

Hiking up Chapman's Peak above Hout Bay

I had wanted to hike on the mountains above Cape Town since the fires last week to see first hand the extent of the damage and seeing as I had never climbed Chapman’s Peak before it seemed like a perfect opportunity to do so. A new friend from China asked if they could join me and I don’t normally like taking people on hikes that I haven’t done myslef before but after checking the route and map in Mike Lundy’s Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula it looked straight forward enough. So after an early rendezvous in Hout Bay, and a despite a cloudy start to the day, we took our first steps along the ash covered path.  It wasn’t long before we saw our first signs of regrow. The hike was very easy, possibly aided by the lack of grow along the path as a result of the fire damage and we made it to the peak in under an hour. The visibility wasn’t the best with cloud hanging over table mountain so we couldn’t see across to Gordon’s Bay but Noordhoek Beach and Kommetjie were bathed in sunlight and the view back towards Hout Bay is much like what you see when driving over Chapman’s Peak Drive, only


Finally hiking Hout Bay Corner

I don’t like doing hikes that I haven’t done before, I prefer to tread paths that I know. Last year I broke with tradition and was reminded of why this is, after following a path that came to a dead-end and retracing our steps several times decided the prudent action would be to go down the way we’d come up. I look up at the Twelfth Apostle mountain every day from the garden and for the last 10 years have wanted to climb up the back to the top and come down the front. And there is a path, I just didn’t know where it was until now.

The Twelfth Apostle above Llandudno Beach

The Twelfth Apostle above Llandudno Beach

My dad saw an advert in our local community newspaper to join The Peninsula Ramblers on a guided walk up Myburgh’s Kloof, known as one of the few spots to see the Red Disa flower, continuing to the top known as Judas Peak and then down Hout Bay corner. This was exactly the hike I had wanted to do before and so I was very keen to go along and finally learn the route. continue reading + 10 more photos


Walk before you run the Table Mountain Challenge

This morning I joined Nicole Biondi for a hike on Table Mountain. In two weeks time she is participating in the Table Mountain Challenge, a 37km trail run around the iconic Table Mountain. She will be part of a relay team, running the second of three legs which is said to be +/- 12kms from the block house above Rhodes Memorial to Constantia Nek. As part of the preparation she wanted to walk the route and have an idea of what was in store and so that’s what we did. After leaving a car at Constantia Nek we drove to Rhodes Memorial and started the uphill climb to the block house at 7:00am just before the sun rose.

Sunrise from just above Rhodes Memorial at 7:10am

The climb up to the block house, on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, is continue reading + 8 more photos


Touring the Bontebok National Park

 Once again I was up early. I opened up the curtains to see clear skies and quickly got ready to explore one of the hiking trails while the others slept late. Although the grass lining the path was wet from the overnight rain and my pant legs were soon soaked it was too nice a morning to turn back early. The path soon opened up and I managed to make it to the viewing deck, on the Bushbuck trail, where I took some time to just sit in the stillness of the morning watching the fish feeding in the shallows while the rising sun bathed the opposite bank in light – a peace that you can’t find in the city.

I would have stayed longer but our tour was due to start at 9am and I still had to get back to the chalets. While it might not have the big five, one of the attractions of the Bontebok National Park is that you can walk freely without having to worry about dangerous wild animals as well as being able to get up close to some of the fynbos. It is also one of the last remaining ‘renosterveld islands’ with several endemic plant species.

Back at the chalet, while I was packing the last of my things, this opportunistic little bird was hovering around on the balcony waiting to be invited in for tea. Quickly reaching for my camera, I caught this interesting shot as he continue reading + 5 more photos


Exploring the greater Swellendam area

I was up early the next morning and while there was still a thick blanket of cloud across the sky it had at least stopped raining. I had a quick cup of tea and ventured out with my camera, eager to get some photos after the terrible weather the day before. Although there was no sunrise to speak of I really enjoy shooting in the soft morning light and had some fun experimenting with depth of field on these thorny specimens. Before long the others started emerging from their chalets and we climbed into the bus to begin our tour.

First stop was Rolandale Restaurant and Farmstall, on the side of the N2 highway, for a full breakfast and you know you’re in farm country when the bacon is twice as thick as the stuff you get in the supermarket. Ready to tackle the day it was back on the bus and through the village of Suurbraak. This village is nestled among streams of running water and sheltered by giant oaks with history dating back to the ancient trade routes of the Quena (Hottentot) people of Southern Africa. From here we made our way up and over the Tradouw Pass. It is hard to capture the scale and beauty of the Tradauw Pass, even more so when the weather isn’t ideal, but it is definitely worth doing if you are in the area.

At the northern end, just over the pass, is the small town of Barrydale and we had the privilege of continue reading + 7 more photos