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.

Another Wednesday, Another Walk

But not just any Wednesday!  Today we walked up the Palmiet river in the Kogelberg Reserve and we were once again blown away by the wonderful display of Spring flowers along the valley.  Twelve of us covered 9 km and had the privilege of enjoying perfect weather, so much so that three of the ladies even had a skinny dip at the beach pool!

Not only were the flowers great, but we identified quite a few birds as well, including a cryptic Victorin’s Warbler, which we heard but did not see.

The Mimetes cucullatus was amazing and at times we found ourselves walking in tall floral avenues of these plants, which were mixed up with various Leucadendrons and Brunias. It was also good to see the river flowing strongly and we wished for rubber tubes with which to shoot the rapids!

Kogelberg to Harold Porter Walk

Our walk this morning from Kogelberg offices to Harold Porter was attended by 11 members.  We had very good walking weather and, as usual, the Kogelberg did not disappoint!  The fynbos was absolutely splendid with an endless carpet of flowers along the entire route, except in the forests where the streams were flowing and we had some welcome shade.

The Mimetes were abundant as were the Leacadendrons and Leucospermums, and there were endless Ericas and Brunias. At times we waded through Gnidias, which towered above us, all the while hearing the calls of the local birds, especially the Sombre Greenbuls and Grassbirds.

Our walk took just over 4 hours to complete the 8.2 km, but we were feeling the pain on the steep parts and proceeded fairly slowly.  I attach the map and stats from my hiking app.


Please Prevent Fernkloof being turned into a Theme Park!

Many readers are no doubt aware of the current proposals for the so-called upgrades to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve (FNR).  These can be viewed at the following website:  https://www.overstrand.gov.za/en/documents/strategic-documents/management-plans/4727-integrated-management-plan-for-the-fernkloof-nature-reserve-hermanus

The public is urged to lodge objections, as this development is likely to cause huge damage to the FNR.  These can be sent to ldevilliers@overstrand.gov.za

My own response (which has been registered) was;

As a member of the Hermanus Botanical Society and a keen walker, amateur botanist, photographer and birder, I wish to state my strong objection to the plans presented for the further development of Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

This reserve is world-renowned for its dedication to preserving the integrity of our natural heritage and serves as a window into the fascinating flora and fauna of the region.  All it requires in terms of future development is the retention and upkeep of its wonderful network of paths, which allow the public to wander freely and enjoy and discover nature at its best.  Trying to convert it to some form of theme park is abhorrent to all nature lovers and the idea of cableways and cafes reflects a mindset which is completely at odds with the original Fernkloof ideals.

I cannot stress strongly enough the antipathy which your proposals generate within the community of Hermanus nature lovers, be they birders, botanists, zoologists or whatever, and I urge you and your colleagues who are responsible for this new plan to think again and withdraw your proposals, in favour of retaining the present state of FNR, but with better attention to the maintenance of the paths so that more people are able to enjoy our wonderful heritage in safety and comfort.

Kanonkop after the Rain

What weather!  Monday was a real summer day and hot as could be.  Today, however, loomed cold and windy, as we had a cold front passing through last night and it brought some very welcome rain.  This made for great walking conditions, but once again I was saddened by the poor turn out – only 6 walkers!

We set off up Klipspringer path, up to the Jeep Track and then on up to the summit of Kanonkop.  The views were excellent, but the wind was icy!  From there we headed along the track and descended via Adder’s Ladder, seeing wonderful displays of Cyclopia genistoides along the zig-zags.

Fernkloof really is a wonderful place and we are so lucky to have it on our doorstep.  Flower identification was aided by the new Fernkloof Book

Walking in Fernkloof

Only five members of the Hurriers turned up this morning at Fernkloof for our weekly walk.  We had intended to climb Hangklip, but there was trouble in Kleinmond, so we decided to not take a chance on the road.

The weather was perfect for walking and it was good to see that the fynbos is really starting to show its Spring flowers.  The slopes of Kanonkop were covered in Aspalathus caledonensis and Geissorhiza ovata, whilst there were many Gladiolus hirsutus and G. debilis.  We also saw Liparia splendens and a single Protea scabra.

It was good to hear the Red-chested Cuckoo calling again and we also got Victorin’s Warbler, Cape Grassbird, Red-winged Starling, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Southern Boubou and Karoo Prinia on the mountain slopes.

The Onrus/Vermont Coastal Path

This morning we enjoyed a brisk 7.5 km walk along the Onrus/Vermont coastal path. The weather played ball and there were many other walkers also out taking in the sea and the spring flowers.

We were pleased to see a group of dedicated nature-lovers cleaning up the beach, as well as a group of Abalone poachers being apprehended.