Last night’s strong westerly winds certainly whipped the seas up into a frenzy today and it was hard to see any whales in all the white water. No matter, the tourists were still taking many pictures along the Hermanus coast, even if there were only waves to see.
Our walk this morning started with 12 people but three peeled off to do Lemoenkop, so nine of us carried on eastwards along the contour path. It was very warm and we were pleased to be in shade for part of the time. We did not go far, but completed two good hours of walking by the time we returned to the Visitors’ Centre.
After last night’s gale, we were relieved to wake up to a calm and clear day today. We were going to walk to Vogel Pool with Gilly, so were pleased with the change in the weather. It was her first visit to Vogelgat and she obviously enjoyed the outing. By the time we had ascended the zigzag path the wind returned, however, and that wasn’t a bad thing as it kept us cool in what turned out to be a pretty hot day! The temperature was no less than 34 degrees Celsius when we got back to Base Camp! I was certainly quite exhausted!
We managed to get a ‘lifer’ when we spotted the rare Paranomus sceptrum-gustavianus on the way down. It was some distance off the path and down a steep slope, so I did not get a good shot of it. We had no idea what it was, but luckily Giorgio identified it for us.
Debby and Keith always put on such a good show at their beautiful wild flower farm, that a large turn-out is almost guaranteed. Today was no exception. No less than 23 Hurriers availed themselves of the opportunity to enjoy the good weather, beautiful fynbos and great hospitality!
We walked through the Protea plantations and saw the blooms being harvested for export. What a sight! Then we passed through a recently burnt area where the botanists could marvel at the new growth, before traversing through fynbos on the lower mountain slopes. On arrival back at the cottage, we were amazed to find a super spread of goodies to eat and hot coffee. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day!
This morning eight keen botanists and nature geeks ventured up the ZigZag above Voelklip. As we arrived at the start of the Jeep Track, we were met by Frank, who had left before us. A welcome stop for a drink gave us the opportunity to watch a pair of Cape Rockjumpers on the outcrops close by. It was a great sight and they displayed beautifully.
Our stroll along the Jeep Track towards the Vogelgat boundary took us through what Sandy called ‘The Elysian Fields’, an area dominated by Leucadendrons and Restios. Between these were many small and interesting plants that called for many stops and much discussion and fossicking* about! The track back westwards from the boundary took us to the site of a previously visited patch of rare and endangered Mimetes capitulatus, but we failed to find them. This caused some consternation – had they died or had they been removed by some plant thief? Our GPS told us we were at exactly the right spot.
Disappointed, we pressed on, once more spellbound by the many different species on display. One of our objectives was, as usual, to find Orchids, and, whilst we realised that this was a hard ask, given that the last fire was three years ago, we still managed to identify 6 species as well as seeing some which were too small for positive IDs.
Wildlife was also observed, from insects to birds and a lucky sighting of a young Berg Adder and a lone Klipspringer. It was a memorable morning and we had covered no less than 10.5 km by the time we arrived at the Fernkloof Visitors’ Centre at the end of our adventure.
* Fossicking – hunting around – apparently South Africans are not familiar with the term, but Australians certainly are!
Whilst at Vermont Pan this morning, I was lucky to run into Dave De Beer who was showing some tourists around. He showed us a Common Moorhen nest with no less than eight beautiful eggs in it, so I will be watching out to see how they hatch.
Fifteen Hurriers set out this morning for Button Quail Farm in the Elgin Valley. We drove through many farms before eventually reaching the Palmiet river where we parked at the accommodation site. From there we traversed south into the Kogelberg mountains, where we walked around 9 kms along a trail through partially burnt fynbos.
The weather was perfect for walking and we managed to see a fairly good cross-section of interesting flowers along the way. Once again Orchids featured highly on our wish list, but we only saw four species; Satyrium coriifolium, Satyrium bicorne, Satyrium stenopetalum and Disa bracteata.
It was our first walk in the area and we really appreciate Debby having made the effort to arrange this interesting venue.