Walking in Vogelgat

Renee and I walked in Vogelgat this morning.  The temperature was 19 degrees when we started at 6:30 am but by the time we had completed our 4 hour hike, it had risen to 30 degrees!  Luckily there was a stiff breeze blowing and it kept us cool most of the time.

The fynbos was looking magnificent.  It is hard to believe, when one is on the mountain, that we are in the midst of a drought.  The only real evidence is the lack of water in the streams – some were completely dry!

We climbed around 450 metres to the Mossel Nook hut.  On the way we saw Cape Rockjumper and Ground Woodpecker, so were well pleased with the effort!  Then the track leveled off as we walked to Quark, seeing some wonderful flowers, including Disa tripetaloides. From Quark, there were many sunbirds and we also got a few Neddickys, but sadly, no Victorin’s Warblers, or Verreaux’s Eagles.

It was great to be in the mountains and we met up with quite a few other hikers by the time we had done our 10 km.  What a way to start 2018!

Baboons

A birding walk on Lemoenkop, in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, this morning turned up a few good birds, as well as a meeting with a small troop of baboons.  The latter were in our path and were not inclined to move on when approached.  John walked to within a metre or two of the Alpha male, but he would not budge, until John made to throw something at him.  Only then did he trundle away.  Austrian visitors with us were quite disconcerted by the whole thing and were very glad when the path eventually cleared!

Kleinmond coastal Walk

The warm breezy weather this morning made for easy walking along the Kleinmond coastal path. It is falling into disrepair in places, so we were glad to see signs of upgrading.  The sea looked inviting near the mouth of the Palmiet river, but we picnicked without venturing in!

A tumble by one of our special friends had us worried, but hopefully all is well!  We unfortunately missed the peak flowering period for the Pelargonium cucullatum, but there were still quite a number of flowers along the way.

Fernkloof after the Rain

A short walk in Fernkloof this morning was a pleasure after the good rains of the past two days.  Everything was clean and wet and the waterfall was flowing well; just a pity about the ugly boardwalk that leads up to it.  It was sad, however, to see the deterioration and overgrowth on the contour path heading west above Hermanus Heights.  The municipality really should do something about clearing and maintaining the paths in the Reserve, instead of wasting time and money on plans to destroy part of our heritage!

At one time we were rained upon, but for the rest, it was a beautiful day and a beautiful walk – pity there were only 4 us us doing it!

Walking the Oystercatcher Trail

Ten good friends set out on Monday morning to hike the Oystercatcher Trail.  We had spent the night in Mossel Bay and started our walk full of enthusiasm and excitement at what lay ahead.  Our route took us south to the St Blaize Trail which hugs the cliff top to the west of the town.  It was a good day for walking and Alicia, our guide, was a mine of information, stopping frequently to point out interesting features of the landscape.

IMG_0636
Ready to set off!

We were soon within the Pinnacle Point estate and were somewhat bemused by the opulence of the housing there.  Each new builder seems to strive to make something bigger and better than any other and it all appeared to be an exercise in bragging. Luckily we had to go past the clubhouse, and made the most of the opportunity to down a cold beer as we were pretty tired by this stage.  A few kilometres further on we arrived at Dana Bay, our destination, having completed 14 kms and feeling every bit of it as the route had taken us over some rough ground, which was hard on the aging legs and feet!!

Map

We returned to Mossel Bay for the night, having been let down by our original Dana Bay accommodation, but returned the next morning for our hike to Boggomsbaai.  This entailed 14 km of beach – a doddle some might say, but the tide was coming in and this made for soft sand underfoot and we were once again a bit bushed by the end of the day, especially as it was a hot one and we had to climb up to our accommodation at the comfortable Sandpiper cottages.  There we were very well looked after and had great food! Alicia had been joined by Chris, and between the two of them, we were kept apprised of our surroundings.

We were scheduled to walk 21 km on the last day, but sore feet dictated that we reduce that distance by 10 km, so we started from Fransmanshoek and completed the last 12 km to our pick-up point on the bank of the Gouritz River, whence we were ferried across to the right bank before returning to Boggomsbaai for our last night. There we had another excellent meal preceded by fresh oysters and champagne – what a pleasure!!  Well done to the team and well done to the Trail staff.  We enjoyed it all!

Look before you Sit

A walk in Fernkloof this morning was another opportunity to enjoy this beautiful reserve before the local authorities start to try and turn it into something else.  As usual, the veld was full of interesting birds, flowers and insects, not least of which was this scorpion which was casually basking in the sun on a spot where one might well choose to sit.  Just goes to show that one should always examine any area where one decides to park oneself before doing so, or the consequences could be painful!

DSCF0898

Orchid hunting near Pringle Bay

An outing to Pringle Bay this morning in search of orchids was not very productive.  We found a few Disa bracteatus and some Satyrium Carneum as well as one Pterogodium catholicum.  It was not a wasted day, however, as we saw many other beautiful flowers, including lots of Moraea neglecta, and had a pleasant walk and lunch in the Harold Porter Reserve at Betty’s Bay.