11 October 2009

Kleinplaas Dam Trail

Date: 11 October 2009

Location: Red Hill, above Simon's Town

Walkers: Dorothy, Michele & Helen

**** Route plotted here ****

We started this walk from the Red Hill Road above Simon's Town. It was cool and a bit windy, but a beautiful early morning!

As we started up on the plateau it was easy walking on the level, on a sandy path, heading in a north-easterly direction, away from Simon's Town.

Behind us was Simonsberg and the other mountains above Simon's Town surrounding Klawer Valley on the other side of the Red Hill Road.

On our side there was a wonderful sense of openness and space. There was a fire here a while ago (beginning of last year if I remember correctly) and the fynbos is still recovering. So when normally one would be walking through waist-high fynbos, this new growth was only ankle-high. A lot of the old dead burnt vegetation had been cut down and laid flat, to facilitate speedy rehabilitation of the veld I presume.

And there was plenty growing! Reeds and grasses of course...

Pelargonium capitum with its bright pink flowers and scented leaves.

And a lot of yellow and orange daisies.

We also saw the usual suspects. Lots of china flower, Adenandra.

And Trachyandra hirsutiflora (the hairy variety) with its delicate flowers.

And Struthiola ciliata, in full flower.

When the path forked we kept right, and walked through a shallow valley, surrounded by rocky outcrops. Part of the way was boardwalk, and part stone steps - an extremely good, well-maintained path.

Growing in the sheltered wetland of this valley was a carpet of pink Watsonia coccinea. This dwarf variety flowers exclusively for the two years after fire. The whole valley was scented with their sweet freesia-like smell. What a treat for the senses!

I couldn't get enough of their loveliness!

We continued along the path to the dam. From here we got a lovely view all the way across to Devil's Peak and Table Mountain in the distance.

It was rather bleak and miserable near the dam itself. There was no shelter and the wind was blowing fiercely, making strange shadows and patterns on the water. We didn't make it all the way along the dam wall, but instead turned back.

This time, taking the right fork at the split again, we headed into the other little valley. It was nice and sheltered amongst the rocks.

This is Silbe versitita. I love the form.

More flowers! Aristea spirilis, Satyrium coriifolium, Lachnaea grandiflora.

Just look at the colours on these creatures!

We found a spot in the sun, near the stream. Snack time!

Sitting down gave us a chance to get a look at some of the small plants growing in the sandy soil. It is easy to be dazzled by the colourful flowers, but these small plants with modest flowers or not flowering at all, are quite delightful seen up close.

We walked on past Grootkop, deciding it was too windy to climb today. And the clouds were gathering... rain wasn't far away.

We took a wrong turn onto the path towards Scarborough which we followed for a short distance. There was some lovely fynbos along this stretch. Fields of Crassula fascicularis, with their dull red buds.

I think this everlasting, still in bud, is cape snow, Syncarpha vestita.

This pretty Pelargonium is triste or lobatum (I didn't take note of the leaves so I'm not sure which). And the yellow one is Moraea neglecta - there were lots of them flowering.

The rain was starting to spit, so once we got back onto the correct path we walked swiftly back to our cars, just in time!

(Photos by Michele and Helen)


Anonymous said...

Hi does anyone know the history of the broken down cottages in the Klein Plaas area, as well as the workings below the dam wall.

Janine T said...

Read this article on Ground Up News for history of the ruins: http://groundup.org.za/features/redhill/redhill_2043.html