Fernkloof Contour Path

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.

A Walk to Vogel Pool

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.

Vredehoek Farm Walk

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!

Walking the Jeep Track Circuit

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!

Walking at Button Quail Farm

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.

Orchids Galore at Gydo Pass

Yesterday we had an absolutely fantastic outing to Gydo Pass to search for Orchids.  Lester, who has been there previously, was our guide and he did an excellent job, showing us no less than 18 species . None of us had ever seen such a profusion of Orchids and we were thrilled to not only see many that we already knew, but a whole swathe of species that were new to us!  Burnt and disturbed areas really do provide a wealth of these interesting plants and it always amazes me that they colonise habitats that appear to us to be so unfavourable.

Apart from Orchids, there were many other beautiful species and I have attempted to show some of our more interesting finds below.


Orchids at De Kelders/Gansbaai

We went to De Kelders and Gansbaai this afternoon to search for orchids and were rewarded with a couple of lifers!  I must admit, however, that it was only due to Lester’s expert knowledge that we found them.  The new ones are Satyrium emarcidum and Pterygodium vermiferum.  We were completely blown away by the vast numbers of Satyrium Carneum that were to be seen throughout the area to the south of Gansbaai and there were also large numbers of Bonatea speciosa.

Of course there were many other species, including beautiful Moraeas and others that we were unable to identify

A strangely interrupted walk in Fernkloof

This morning there was some confusion about our walk, specially regarding the starting time.  After some waiting around, eventually 9 of us set out.  During a rest stop, we were joined by 5 more, but then 3 decided to return.  A short while later 2 opted for a different route and then, on the way down, 5 took a short cut, so that only 4 of us returned at the end!!  We really must try to stick together more!

Anyway, Piet and I were very glad to be walking again after our varied medical problems, even if we were not walking together for most of the time!

The return of the disabled!