Date: 20 September 2009
Location: Hout Bay
Walkers: Michele & Helen
**** Route plotted here ****
Today we decided to drive to Hout Bay and walk up Kaptein's Peak after reading about the route in Mike Lundy's Best Walks book. This was our first time walking in this particular area. We left our car right at the top of Bay View Road in Hout Bay Heights, above the harbour. This meant we started off quite far up the hill already, and the mountains ahead looked very friendly.
There was a carpet of these pop-poms at the start.
And this. Can you see the little guy here? Pretty good camouflage I'd say!
We could see across the bay to Chapman's Peak Drive, and spotted the path we took on the Blackburn Ravine walk a couple of months ago.
The road up was a steady climb at a comfortable gradient.
The Sentinel was on our left, with Long Beach and Kommetjie visible in the far distance.
Of course we stopped to look at the flowers we saw along the roadside on the way up. This is Scabiosa africana.
Another Polygala... Polygala myrtifolia I think. September bush!
More pink... Pelagonium capitatum, new and in full bloom.
A bulb called Ornithogalum (could be one of several varieties).
Oxalis obtusa. The verges were covered with it - loves the sunshine.
A mystery bulb! Not yet open... possibly Ixia paniculata?
More Lobostemon. I haven't pinpointed which variety this is, but am captivated by the delicate papery feel of the flowers and the subtle pastel shades of blue and pink. As a child my bedroom had taffeta curtains in just these colours (oh so 80s!).
And Cyphia bulbosa again, a beautiful specimen.
This is Muraltia heistria, seen everywhere this time of year.
We saw this exotic flower growing on the rockface, near a trickle of water. It looks like something in the orchid family - Satyrium coriifolium.
Once we got higher up onto the plateau, there many restios and metalasias.
The fynbos on the plateau area was very interesting. We saw a ground protea, Protea acaulos.
This shrub is Staavia radiata.
I'm fairly certain I've identified this unusual plant correctly as a Psoralea, probably Psoralea restoides. It does indeed resemble a willowy restio.
And these are Salvias of course.
Up ahead was Karbonkelberg. We continued towards it, on the road, for a short way. Then we took a path to our right. We were expecting it to be very clear as our guide-book had described two parallel paths on either side of a fire-break. Well, we didn't see much of a fire-break at all, don't think it has been burnt for years! (Time to buy a more up-to-date edition of that book I think). But we found our path nevertheless, and continued to climb. It was very sandy up here on top of the mountain.
And growing in that sand we saw Nemesia affinis.
Also vygies, such as this one Dorotheanthus bellidiformis.
And Hyobanche sanguina, a very peculiar woolly flower spike.
At the top of the hill we made our way to the right, towards Kaptein's Peak. We kept losing the path as it was all rather overgrown. The shrubbery, particularly the restios, have encroached on the path and we had to fight our way through. It was fun! Luckily we knew more-or-less where to go, that is, round the right side of the outcrop and then up a steep gully, to reach the top. I'm no fan of exposed heights or rock scrambling and found it a little scary getting up this little bit.
But up I got! There was a lot of bushy shrubbery on top of the peak also.
And great views in all directions. To the right we now looked down on the Sentinel, and could see our path far below.
On our left, a panorama from the back table across to Vlakkenberg.
On the way down a minor wrong-turn took us to the Karbonkelberg path. Wow, some serious erosion has occurred here! It's in a state of some disrepair and possibly a bit dangerous. Luckily we only had to follow it for a short way before we got back onto our road.
Then we took a detour to the "long drop" lookout point. A side-path led through the restios to the edge of the cliff. From here we could look back at the hillside we'd just come down (not sure how we'd made a wrong turn earlier - the paths look so clear from this vantage point).
The views out were breathtaking. The rocky coast (the base of the Karbonkelberg) looked so far down, and so wild.
And below us the sea was a lovely turquoise blue.
Up top the cliff I was excited to see a Drosera cistiflora. This was the first time I'd spotted this type of sundew. They are carnivorous plants - small insects are attracted to and then caught in the sticky liquid they secrete on their leaves. For more info on these fascinating plants, see here.
After this we headed back. We took the short-cut paths and were down in no time. This was a wonderful walk.
(Photos by Helen and Michele)