21 September 2010

Salmonsdam: Waterfall & Ravine Trail

-Date: 16 September 2010

Location: Salmonsdam Nature Reserve, near Stanford in the Overberg. Map here.

Walkers: Dorothy & Helen

*** Route plotted here ***

This was a first-time visit to Salmonsdam for both Dorothy and me. This nature reserve lies inland from Stanford, nestling in the Perdeberg.

Ours was the only car in the parking area, and we set off along the path signposted to the waterfalls. This took us to and around the small hill ahead. The slopes were bright with light yellow leucadendrons and creamy-white Berzelia lanuginosa.

I adore the little bobbly flowers on the berzelia!

We'd packed our raincoats... the weather looked grey and stormy.

But these flowers (Leucadendron xanthoconus?) were certainly sunny.

Everlastings were in bud... the small white and pinkish flowers just starting to open. They're Syncarpha I think, but I don't know which varieties.

Of course I immediately spotted the serruria, my current obsession. They're hard to identify, but I think this one may be Serruria rubricaulis. These fuzzy flower heads look like something out a sci-fi movie. I love them!

These cuties are Geissorhiza ovata.

There wasn't enough sunshine to encourage the gazanias and other daisy flowers to open. I liked the way this one had caught some water overnight.

As we came over the rise we saw the waterfall kloof ahead.

We followed the sign, taking a right at the fork and heading down the hill, across the steam in the valley and up towards the waterfall. Here we met a family returning from the falls - they were the only people we saw all day.

This hairy caterpillar was munching on some sweet reeds beside the path.

Although the Overberg area seems to have had a dry winter there was water flowing over the falls. A pretty sight.

We saw a path to the right of the waterfall so climbed up. On these rocky slopes succulents and confetti bush were thriving. The path flattened out and continued up the narrow ferny kloof.

We disturbed a couple of little bokkies, Klipspringer I think they were. The doe quickly scampered away up the rocks, but the male buck stared down at us for a little while before also heading off.

Round the bend we came across another waterfall, with a large pond.

An idyllic spot, perfect for a swim and a picnic on a hot summer day.

After heading down the same way we took a right turn up the hill, following the Ravine Trail, the second part of our walk.

We soon got a look up the valley. The route we were on was a circular one, up one side of the valley, and back along the path we could see on the opposite hillside.

There was wonderful fynbos growing on this slope.

Ericas in white and all shades of pink!

We passed the turn-off signposted 'over the top'. This route would have taken us up the hill behind the waterfall and back down to the campsite. Instead we went straight on and soon reached the Elandskrans caves.

These caves seem excellent shelters, almost certainly used by early man. Didn't see any signs of rock art. But we did notice a lot of baboon poo around, although no baboons. Thank goodness.

Lots of lush vegetation growing on these slopes.

We spotted several pink lachenalias, an enormous orange Leonotis leonorus and these unusual small yellow flowers, not yet identified.

Once past the caves we walked out onto the open slopes, and could see our path looping up and across the hill ahead. Good easy walking.

Here we saw a different type of brunia, Brunia laevis perhaps? Also, the pale yellow sugarbush, Protea repens, and the yellow version of Erica coccinea.

Also sundews! These are fascinating plants... they are insectivorous, capturing tiny goggas in their sticky hairy leaves. These ones, Drosera capensis, were about as big as my palm. As you see, flower stalks were unfolding on some of them, but sadly none had flowers yet.

The path went on and on into kloof, until finally it looped around. At the turn-around point fragrant buchus were growing in abundance.

From our path we looked up at the rocky cliffs above us and on the slopes we'd already crossed. Our path had taken us over Arch Rock. The window was easy to spot from this side.

We passed the turn-off that heads up to the radio mast, the Mountain Trail. I'd love to explore up there on my next visit.

Instead our path took us down into Keeromskloof.

It was just a short section through indigenous forest.

And then it was back out onto the open slopes.

We saw stunning fynbos along this section. A feast for the senses.

Blue Aristea africana, white Crassula fascicularis, a lime conebush (maybe Leucadendron coniferum), more pink erica, pink Phaenocoma prolifera and an orange pincushion protea (possibly Leucospermum cordifolium).

As we walked down the valley we kept looking across to the opposite slope, just like we had on the way in. This reserve reminded us of both Kogelberg and Jonkershoek... amazing mountains and fabulous fynbos.

Lower down we saw a lot of mimetes, most like Mimetes cucullatus. And a different serruria (Serruria elongata? damn, these things are hard to identify!)

The waboom protea, Protea nitida, were also in flower. Many sunbirds were flitting from one giant creamy flower to another.

On the final stretches, just after we stopped for a small picnic, the rain finally arrived, and we hurried along to the end. What a wonderful walk!

(Photos by Helen & Dorothy)

1 comment:

Firefly the Travel Guy said...

This looks like a stunning walk although I wouldn't want to do it on a hot day. I am amazed at the huge variety of fynbos and other plants you got to see along with the bit of forest, the ravine and the waterfall. Awesome walk, pity there weren't more people out enjoying it.