This morning Renee and I walked the Cliff Path to the end of Grotto and then up onto the Contour Path. The Spring fynbos is in magnificent shape and there were flowers everywhere, including many Gladiolus debilis (Painted Lady). We managed a total of exactly 13 kilometres, so were pretty tired at the end, but it was well worth it, despite Renee grazing her arm on a rock and needing some first aid.
Yesterday we (Renee and I) walked along the contour path. It was a Hurriers walk, but nobody else arrived! It was a beautiful morning, however some clouds did come over as we returned to the Visitors’ Centre, but we did not get wet and managed to cover about five kilometres. As usual the fynbos was looking very good and we were delighted to see very many Caledon Bluebells (Gladiolus bullatus) shown below, along with a few remaining Gladiolus hirsutus.
There were, of course many other species in bloom and I show a few here. Most notable amongst them were the pretty, pale pink Geissorhiza ovata, which are really starting to show well.
We spent two nights at De Hoop – timed to coincide with the visit of our good friends, Richard and Jeanette – and we had a very enjoyable time. It was sad to note that occupation was at an absolute minimum during our stay, but that, of course, meant that we virtually had the place to ourlseves. We spent a morning walking along the rocky coastline and managed to see many whale pods in the clear sea. The rock pools are always a delight and the erosional shapes of the young sandstones along the shore are quite fantastic!
Needless to say there were many spring flowers blooming and we had good sightings of the large herds of Eland and Bontebok, along with many Ostriches and Zebra. Our bird count for the visit was 60 species, including a Secretarybird and a flock of Cape Vultures
From Wuppertal we continued to the Biedouw Valley. It was beautiful, but nothing like what it was when we visited a year ago. We were quite glad to leave and head north via the Botterkloof pass, after which we started to see more wonderful flowers. We even had a pair of Verreaux’s Eagles fly over! Our previous best bird for the trip had been a Protea Canary, a very special bird that is quite hard to find, but the proteas of the Cederberg provided ther right habitat.
We stayed in the lovely Rondekraal cottage at Papkuilsfontein. What a special and beautiful place surrounded by fields of magnificent flowers.
The bulbs at Papkuilsfontein are probably world famous and the place was abuzz with tourists visiting the special areas set aside for this spectacular show. Of course we visited other areas and were especially impressed with the route known as the Trekpad, as well as the farm, Boereplaas with its orange Bulbinella latifolia (a first for us)
We managed to identify some 83 bird species. An exciting sighting at Papkuilsfontein was not one, but five Common Quail in amongst the flowers. As far as the latter were concerned , our most exciting new species was the beautiful Gladiolus watermayeri
We left Hermanus on Wednesday and drove via Ceres up to our first stop, Mount Ceder. It was a beautiful drive with many remnants of the recent snow falls on the surrounding mountains. The rock formations in the Cederberg are especially fascinating and one is completely overwhelmed by the ruggedness of the terrain. All the streams and rivers were in full spate as a result of the snow melting and there were many Spring flowers.
Mount Ceder was very comfortable and we had a well equipped cottage, however, we would have liked to be overlooking the river, rather than the road. There was no decent reading lamp, so we just had to sit back and enjoy too much wine in front of the fire!
On Thursday we set out for Papkuilsfontein, taking the road less traveled via Wuppertal. This was quite an experience as the going is very slow with lots of rocky portions, but all through spectacular Cederberg scenery. The final steep pass down into the village is particularly hair raising and this was,of course,the only section where we met any traffic. Luckily there are a few passing places and we were able to make use of them.
Here are some of the photographs from the section described above;
A walk along the contour path this morning, revealed a wealth of pink flowers against a pale yellow backdrop of predominantly Struthiola. There were literally hundreds of Gladiolus hirsutus (and a few G. bullatus) along with lots of Metalasia and Ixia, some Sonderothamnus, Drosera and Adenandra, and even a last Disperis capensis or two.
It is always interesting to observe the changing seasons in one’s garden and Spring is the most exciting time. Going round our predominantly indigenous garden today, I was pleased to note what is coming into bloom!
The Postberg Trail lies within the West Coast National Park and it is only open for two months of the year; the two months that coincide with the flowering period for the local Spring flowers. We were lucky to be invited to walk the trail with Gillian and Andrew, and David and Tanja, along with a group of their friends. In all, there were twenty of us who set out on Friday morning in crisp, clear weather – ideal walking conditions and with no cloud cover whatsoever, thereby ensuring that the flowers were open.
Different walking speeds and more or less interest in the flowers meant that we split into groups as we meandered along, but we all met on a rocky promontory for lunch. This was a festive occasion with excellent snacks and enough bubbly to celebrate Tanja’s birthday!
We were very luck to be walking, as the trail passes through areas that motor vehicles cannot access; hence we saw floral displays that were really spectacular and off the regular beaten track. By the time we had finished we had covered exactly 16 kilometres and we were all exhilarated by our experience. A few cold beers at the end rounded off an excellent day and we headed back to Cape Town where we spent the night with Andrew and Gillian.
Our walk yesterday, in perfect, crisp Spring weather, revealed more flowers coming into bloom as the days warm up a little. We were delighted to see many more of the little Orchid, Disperis capensis as well as hundreds of Ixia micranda and Struthiola confusa, covering the lower slopes above Hermanus Heights.
Closer to the Visitors’ Centre, there were so many beautiful Proteas in bloom, with Protea longifolia predominating and putting on a wonderful display.
Following our walk on the western section of the Contour Path, we tackled the section above Hermanus Heights yesterday and were pleased to see the proliferation of new flowers along the mountainside. There were masses of Struthiola (argentia?) and Ixia flexuosa and we also saw many Viola decumbens, Disperis capensis and the first Geissorhiza ovata and Gladiolus bullatus.
There was a troop of baboons above the path and we got quite a fright when we suddenly heard the most frightening animal sounds, but soon realised that it was the loudspeakers that are distributed around and operated by the baboon monitors to keep the animals from entering suburbia. We saw a couple of these boom boxes close to the path. Thank Goodness they did not go off when we were close to them, or we would also have been frightened off the mountain!