July hikes at Cape Point and Silvermine Crags

 by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

 in Cape Town, South Africa

 

When we were back in no-group-hikes lockdown and Jurg and I had to match my too-slow with his much-too-fast. We went to Cape Point. At the edge of the world, way down South, next stop Antarctica. His photos, I was keeping up at the back!

 

 

On the edge of the world at Cape Point
On the edge of the world
at Cape Point

The Light House Keepers Trail connects the two lighthouses. Not a walk I would choose on a windy day, but it is a good path, just below the ridge with a railing against the drop down to the sea. (Didn't do the last bit tho)

 

Light House Keepers Trail
Light House Keepers Trail

The old lighthouse at the top was often shrouded in mist, so the new one was built lower down to protect ships from the Cape of Storms. That tall mast is one of 30 GAW Global Atmosphere Watch weather stations monitoring climate change where the air is 'very clean from the South Atlantic Ocean'.

 

Old and new lighthouses at Cape Point
Old and new lighthouses at Cape Point

Basking in the welcome sunshine Cordylus niger - black girdled lizard not moving away for you intruders. Memories of looking out for German submarines during WWII.

 

Cordylus and WWII bunker view
Cordylus and WWII bunker view

The next week was my (second) lockdown birthday and I chose a second new trail. To the Cape of Good Hope. We walked across to that furthest and highest point, more twisty and up and down that it looked from the parking. Again basking in sun a blue-headed male rock Agama atra. Halfway along looking back to the two lighthouses and DOWN to Diaz beach. I brought home my needed piece of Good Hope. Hope is the thing with feathers and green of course!

 

For cold and wet to fit mid-winter we found the Eden Project in Cornwall (2009) where we retreated to the rain forest conservatory to thaw out!

 

Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope

Walk down 75 metres, and up again?? I wimped out and we drove along and down to beach and tourist op sign.

 

At the Cape of Good Hope
At the Cape of Good Hope

We've had some good rain and visited the waterfall in neighbouring Simons Town.

 

Simons Town waterfall
Simons Town waterfall


Hiking among wildflowers

in the mountains

around Cape Town

 

By the end of July my Fynbos Ramblers were allowed again. To Silvermine Crags. Erica hispidula is wind pollinated = flattened stigma. Soft velvet and gentle pink Erica hirtiflora. We were in search of Erica calycina. In fours Erica baccans. In threes ish Erica spumosa.

 

Ericas in July at Silvermine Crags
Ericas in July at Silvermine Crags

Amphithalea ericifolia silky silvery leaves, pea family. Furry Phylica imberbis gone to seed and making fruit. Toothy leaves of Morella diversifolia Peninsula endemic. Cape witch orchid with her white slippers Disperis capensis.

 

Silvermine Crags July flowers
Silvermine Crags July flowers

Cape snow drifts of creamy Anaxeton arborescens echoing the silvery sandstone beyond. Begins as tight cherry pink buds. Protea acaulos intricately patterned overlapping scales on its buds.

 

Anaxeton arborescens Protea acaulos Silvermine Crags in July
Anaxeton arborescens
Protea acaulos
Silvermine Crags in July

Still in middling lockdown. Our numbers have settled to moving sideways. Vaccinations open to over 18s who are turning out with enthusiasm! Despite two of our medical-doctors-peddling-CONspiracy theories.

 

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

of Elephant's Eye on False Bay

 

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Comments

  1. No matter where you hike, the scenery is spectacular. I'm glad you could get back out among the wildflowers, though.

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  2. The nature is amazing! The wildflowers are stunning!

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  3. Lovely to see such stunning scenery. I would love to do those hikes. Always love to see your varied plant life. B x

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  4. Love that lizard with the blue head! Always wonderful to see so many flowers in your winter, and the scenery is amazing.

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  5. Looks like some fabulous hikes! The waterfall is gorgeous, and the wildflowers are beautiful, as always. Thanks for sharing the highlights!

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  6. All those interesting hikes make for fascinating blog posts.

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  7. Your mid-winter seems better than our mid-summer this year.

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    Replies
    1. Still sunny today - but - only 5C this morning with snow on the mountains.

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  8. I looked up these places on a map. Next stop Antarctica, indeed. Amazing, so much ocean out there.

    Our little native Western Fence Lizards will get blue splotches in Springtime--but nothing like your Agama atra.

    Seems like everything is more amazing in your country--the cliffs, the wildlife, and most especially the plants.

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  9. What a beauty this lizard ist with the blue head!

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