Summer hikes in the mountains around Cape Town

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Hiking among wildflowers

Looking back to before. To our summer hikes. Wide open spaces. We have the blue sky and sunshine today too.

Our Fynbos Rambles take a break during mid-summer. We began December at Kanonkop in Cape Point (in Table Mountain National Park) Daisies defy with endless variations. Along the stream tall shrubs with masses of small yellow flowers Senecio halimifolius. So spectacular in flower Syncarpha gnaphaloides  buds and flowers, then going to seed in full glory! Strawflowers from a tiny Helichrysum pandurifolium, to a stately Edmondia sesamoides with its leaves wrapped neatly around the stem. One blush pink Gerbera crocea.

December daisies at Kanonkop
December daisies at Kanonkop

He hiked every week. Here looking up at the cablecar from 'India'  (add to the long list - cablecar is closed till after)

The cablecar looking up from 'India'
The cablecar looking up from 'India'

Daisies again. Corymbium africanum can have leaves like reeds, or flat blades like iris. Both the same species. And despite looks can deceive, in the daisy family!

Corymbium africanum in December
Corymbium africanum in December

An oystercatcher egg. The nest a simple scrape in the sand. So vulnerable on public beaches, but safer in Cape Point reserve. Where Buffel has chosen to moult in peace away from the 'crowds' this year.

Oystercatcher egg
Oystercatcher egg (December)

I was enchanted by Schizaea pectinata the toothbrush fern! Furry red Erica cerinthoides. Morella quercifolia leathery oak leaves (waxberry is in Fagales with oak and beech!) A haze of fine white buchu flowers with delicious anise scented leaves Agathosma ciliaris. Blown off our feet, we sat ourselves in the shelter of the bushes for tea. Olea capensis covered in white flowers. Carrot and parsley family Notobubon ferulaceum. Silver felted female cone of Leucadendron coniferum.

December flowers at Kanonkop in Cape Point
December flowers at Kanonkop in Cape Point

Himself can sleep anywhere, even on the rocks tumbled down Agatha's Gully. Which attracts photo ops for his hiking companions.

Sleeping in Agatha's Gully
Sleeping in Agatha's Gully

Two blue pea flowers Psoralea and Otholobium bracteolatum. Unusual coral sand Pelargonium psammophilum. Four winged fruit make this shimmering succculent Tetragonia fruticosus. Lampranthus bicolor has large yellow flowers emerging from bright orange buds. Tiny heads of creamy  flowers Phylica ericoides. Azure Aristea capitata. Mauvy pink Chironia linoides. Selago luxurians (since the flowers are densely packed - I am, underwhelmed)

More December flowers at Kanonkop
More December flowers at Kanonkop

His Pride of Table Mountain. Disa uniflora. On wet cliffs in Myburgh Ravine. Beyond my enthusiasm for extreme fitness.

Disa uniflora at Myburgh Kloof in February
Disa uniflora at Myburgh Kloof in February

Our last short Fynbos Ramble in Silvermine. Yellow buttons Athanasia crithmifolia or unfurled umbrellas Hymenolepis crithmifolia, both with 'leaves like samphire'. Roella ciliata large flowers with dramatic stripes (and a monkey beetle waving his legs). Yellow flowers with a green heart in orange buds Ixia dubia. Salmon Watsonia coccinea. Little cherries Erica multumbellifera. Leucadendron xanthoconus silvery russet new leaves, and a russet and silver female cone. Brunia abrotanoides in pink and cream balls.

Silvermine flowers in December
Silvermine flowers in December

Dedicated to the Locked Down. UPDATE from midnight today Thursday 26 March we will be on lockdown for 21 days.

The view from Woody Ravine back to Camps Bay (where Lion's Head was recently circled by another fire - defeated by our firefighters and buckets on helicopters)

From Woody Ravine looking back to Lion's Head
From Woody Ravine looking back to Lion's Head

hike with U3A (listed as False Bay)
His hike with U3A each week (listed as Cape Town)


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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. What an utterly amazing beautiful exciting life you and your husband live. I feel so lucky to have found you!

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  2. Thank you for taking us with you on these hikes, it is wonderful to see what flowers you discover and the oyster catcher egg. How does your husband manage to sleep so easily ! Hope you both are staying safe and healthy. Sarah x

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  3. As always, your plant pics manage to enchant me, Diana. I was particularly enamored with the toothbrush fern in this post. I hope you and himself are doing well in this most unusual of times. Best wishes!

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  4. Lucky person to be able to sleep anywhere! I enjoyed all your photos and your description of your adventures. What a beautiful part of the world!

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  5. What a wonderful post dear Diana! Your pictures are eyecandies and heart warming. We all here in Austria and more then less the rest of Europe have to stay at home - so hiking with you was a pleasure.
    Happy days and all my best. Take care
    Elisabeth

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  6. Ditto to what everyone else said, and they said it better than I can. Enchanting!

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  7. Fabulous flowers and what a variety all the same area and time of the year. Thank you for sharing this with us. Buttercups, dandelions, and a few others with lots of lush green grass, almost not worth photographing except for clumps of primroses and violets of course.

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  8. It is hard to believe that Corymbium Africanum is in the daisy family. I am reminded of some flower I encountered last year (I no longer remember what or where) that was a composite, but had mostly ray flowers with few or no disk flowers.
    I'm glad to know your hikes were winding down for the season anyway when they had to be stopped because of the pandemic.

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    Replies
    1. We did catch a last cautious few in March, which will be my next post.

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