Hiking Three Sisters and Smitswinkel

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

In April he went to Kleinmond (= small mouth of Bot River) to hike the Three Sisters in the Palmietberge. A similar view to ours across the Cape Flats to Table Mountain with False Bay to the right - but this one looks across Botriviervlei to Babylonstoren (ridge) and Onrusberg (peak) with the open Atlantic Ocean.

Three Sisters above Kleinmond
Three Sisters above Kleinmond

We went from Silvermine entrance to the Noordhoek Fire Lookout. Fierce red Disa feruginea. I am fascinated by these sculptural bottle green and silver toothed leaves - at last I can see the tall Hermas villosa flowers (this one already faded). My learning curve on Botanical Rambles includes tipping up daisies to count the bracts below, where I discover a tiny spider on Felicia aethiopica with two rows of bracts. Speckled markings in the throat of Gladiolus brevifolius. Purple feathering on Pelargonium myrrifolium.

Silvermine Noordhoek April flowers
Silvermine Noordhoek April flowers

If the golden crown has eight points on a spike of flowers it's Struthiola ciliata. Four points clustered at the tip is Gnidia tomentosa. Backlit bronze and silver Stoebe cinerea. Yellow pea flower Aspalathus capitata. Embossed silver balls Brunia noduliflora. Crimson and lime green Leucadendron salignum explode across the landscape. Coral curls Tritoniopsis triticea. Salmon Watsonia tabularis (= Table Mountain) Two white teeth on blue Lobelia.

Silvermine Noordhoek April flowers
Silvermine Noordhoek April flowers

Mowbray Ridge with cannon overlooking Table Bay and the container terminal.

Cannon on Mowbray Ridge
Cannon on Mowbray Ridge

As we walked from the Lewis Gay Dam near Brooklands water treatment works to Da Gama Park we saw a baboon monitor on duty to keep the 'problem animals' safely away from problem humans and their tempting garbage and fruit and veg on display. Plenty of juicy new growth and bulbs after the fire for that baboon mother and her underslung baby.

Silvermine baboons near Da Gama Park
Silvermine baboons near Da Gama Park

Golden veil spread across the landscape (similar to the butterfly effect of Gaura) is Othonna quinquedentata some plants with the obligatory five toothed leaves - on my wish list! Sky blue Salvia chamelaeagnea. Pink stars on snow Trichocephalus stipularis. Stone cow resting in the landscape. Softer and deeper pinks of Stoebe fusca. Yellow Bulbine praemorsa. Shimmering lilac spoon fig (fynbos vygie) Erepsia anceps. Silver leaves with lilac and mauve on Indigofera cytisoides. Capturing the dents at the base of Erica mammosa flowers with a busy ant. Peach Tritoniopsis antholyzoa.

Silvermine Lewis Gay dam April flowers
Silvermine Lewis Gay dam April flowers

Up Newlands Ravine. Dark Gorge too dangerous for Cape Mountains for the Curious and Adventurous, they went down Dark Gully.  

Dark Gorge above Newlands
Dark Gorge above Newlands

We walked Silvermine to Steenberg Ridge. Fiery Leucadendron salignum. A fresh lemony Hermas villosa. Fragrant buchu Diosma oppositifolia. Scattered strawberries across the landscape, buds of Anaxeton laeve. Table Mountain. Blue face of Felicia aethiopica. Phylica imberbis dense rounded head of flowers. Honey scented Phylica buxifolia. Almost white curls Tritoniopsis dodii.

Steenberg Ridge April flowers
Steenberg Ridge April flowers

Erica plukenetii dangles brown anthers. Flared out Erica abietina atrorosea. Tiny glossy cherries of Erica multumbellifera. Creamy Erica lutea. Thread leaves of Oxalis polyphylla. Indigofera cytisoides shrub. Clover leaves red below of Oxalis commutata.

Steenberg Ridge April flowers
Steenberg Ridge April flowers

Where our botanical ramble hiked from the road DOWN to Smitswinkel Bay, his group hiked up and down along Smitswinkel Ridge. Grey patch near his hat is the burnt area at Cape Point with Sirkelsvlei where we walked before and after rain!

Steenberg Ridge to Cape Point
Smitswinkel Ridge to Cape Point

The return to Sirkelsvlei was just the two of us, but usually we hike with two groups from U3A.

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. There's no end to the fabulous plants and flowers in your part of the world. It's truly a miraculous ecosystem. If I lived there, I'd take up hiking too! Although I suppose I'd have to have my knee replaced first...

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    1. No worries U3A offers a wide spectrum. Serious mountaineers. Slowly up the hills. Flying tortoises. We each find our fit.

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  2. I echo Kris's comments about your ecosystem and climate being very special. I'm somewhat jealous (and by the way, Kris's location is pretty awesome, too). What a view on your hike! I always enjoy these wildflower/hiking posts.

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    1. Each week reinforces my appreciation for our HUGE diversity.

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  3. I was trying to concentrate on all the amazing flora and views - but the baboons distracted me! Just when I say "sure reminds me of my days in San Diego", I see your wildlife.

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    1. Meeting the baboons was a bucket list moment. We stood quietly on our path watching them. Many playful teenagers in that group.

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  4. How wonderful to see so many plants in their natural habitat. Like Kris, I would walk more if I could see such beauty.

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    1. Even our group leaders who have been hiking for years, or even decades, say Never seen THAT before!

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  5. Stunning pictures Diana. The landscape and the native flora. You do live in such a beautiful part of the world.

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    1. Delighted that my father came from New Zealand, and my mother from London, and chose Cape Town for me.

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  6. The range of flowers on your walks are incredible! You must be getting some rain to help all the flowering plants... But your photos of the landscape show some dry patches!

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    1. Today we had a mystery flower - garden escapee - Geraldton wax flower!

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  7. What a fantastic hike, Diana. The views, the gorgeous flowers, a beautiful part of the world. I hope you get some rain soon.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Yes thank you - we are getting autumn rain!

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  8. Good on you, Diana, for not just enjoying the view, but actually learning more about botany. Although I imagine counting daisy bracts and finding tiny spiders must slow you down. I'm into slow hiking too. Amazing numbers of wildflower species in this region.

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    1. I am usually the last, with the sweeper, checking we are all still together.

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  9. I am so impressed with the botanical wonders in your part of the world. The fantastic scenery is certainly an inspiration for a nature hike. Glad to hear you have had some rain!

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  10. Do the others wait while you photograph all the beautiful flowers? How far away was the baboon family?

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    1. We are usually a few taking it in turn to photograph THAT flower. We walk at a gentle pace, chatting and enjoying being in the mountains and looking for the next What is That Flower?

      Perhaps thirty metres - about two or three houses down the road.

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  11. I'm dizzy with the beauty and your ability to capture these stunning views and detailed shots of so many wondrous flowers! What a hike! I truly have to reel myself in from taking photos of all the different flowers and mosses on our hikes - we'd never get anywhere. Your knowledge astounds me though.
    Happy hiking! I hope you get to do lots more this autumn xx

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