WordPress has just informed me that with my previous post (on walking in Fernkloof) I had posted 500 articles on this blog. Quite a lot of history and a good reference to the events of the past 8 years!
Fifteen walkers turned up this morning for a quick two hour hike in Fernkloof. The weather was good with some cloud, but no rain (much needed in these parts). There was not a lot to see on the flower front, however, we met up with the BotSoc flower group, who seemed pretty enthralled with what they were looking at!
As far as birds were concerned, there were the usual Orange-breasted Sunbirds and many calls from Cape Grassbids, but the highlight of the day was a trio of Ground Woodpeckers, whose loud calls drew our attention to their presence on a rock above us.
This morning we were lucky to spot a Red-backed Shrike whilst out birding along the Swartrivier road. This species is quite rare in the area, so we were well pleased with our find. We had just seen a Denham’s Bustard, a pair of Secretarybirds and a dozen White Storks, as well as many smaller species. It was a good outing!
Today’s walk from Gansbaai to De Kelders and back took place under the most incredible weather conditions. The sea was like a mirror, with barely a ripple to be seen. It was low tide and we were all feeling good about last night’s good thunderstorm and it looked as if JZ was finally about to vacate his office. A great day for all of South Africa!!
We walked a total of 8 kilometres and it got pretty warm and very humid as the morning progressed. It was good to note that the path is being upgraded with some new and much needed boardwalks in some of the rougher areas.
Almost exactly ten years ago we walked Dot’s Dash – it was Jessica’s birthday, so she brought along some cake. As we descended from Spook Nek that day, Christine fell and broke her ankle. I did not write a blog at the time so, apart from the drama of the day and Christine’s unfortunate part in it, the event went unrecorded. A helicopter came to our aid and lifted her off the mountain – it was a memorable occasion!
In those days Dot’s Dash was always really spectacular with endless Erica pillansii and we all took hundreds of photographs every April when they were at their best. The area has been ravaged by a big fire or two and there have been many years when we have only seen the odd red bloom. Now there is good recovery and we look forward to a splendid show when we walk there in April this year.
It will be an opportunity to remember our old friends and the good times we had together.
A walk along the Perdeberg Trail provides views and vistas that are hard to beat. The fragments of resistant Table Mountain Sandstone stand on the mountain tops as an army, offering endless sheltered spots for flora and fauna to thrive in an often cold and windy environment. Between the high ridges are views down valleys towards Grabouw and the coastal towns of Kleinmond and Betty’s Bay. When everyday problems start to get you down, this is the place to be!
I think this is my favourite member of the Proteaceae. The Diastellas, bearing their tiny (15mm) flowers, occur only in the south-western portion of the Western Cape and this particular species, Diastella divaricata subspecies montana, is only known in the Kogelberg to Franschhoek region. We saw this one whilst walking on the Perdeberg Trail in the Kogelberg.