Date: 14 November 2010
Location: Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus
Walkers: Michele & Helen
Map of the reserve here.
After our walk along Cliff Path we drove across Hermanus to visit the small nature reserve called Fernkloof on the edge of town. As we arrived at the visitor's centre we saw half a dozen folks in uniform and I wondered if there had been a mugging. I remember being shocked to hear about the series of horrible and violent attacks that happened in the reserve at the end of last year (walkers stabbed and beaten etc.). The friendly park ranger explained to us that no, there hadn't been an incident and in fact the personnel in uniform were the security team employed to watch out for the safety of visitors. Their system works as follows: when you arrive at the visitor's centre you tell the ranger which route you're walking and he sms's the details to the various other rangers up on the mountain and they watch your progress the whole way. Since they've started doing this not only have they caught and put away the people responsible for last year's attacks, there have been no other muggings. I think this is excellent - I commend the way they take the safety of their visitors so seriously. The bad news for us on this visit was that the team of rangers were knocking off for the day (it was quite late, after 4pm). Because of this, and the fact that we'd done quite a lot of walking already, we decided not to venture out onto the mountain slopes. (BTW during peak season the hours of ranger surveillance are extended til 7pm when the park closes).
Instead we decided to explore the lower section of the reserve, following a path signposted to the gardens. This was a pleasant stroll downhill to the area near the gate to the reserve.
Here we found a map showing the various planted areas making up the botanical garden. It was all clearly signposted too.
The garden was quite small but there was lots to see.
The sundial was a focal point.
Here is a selection of the plants we saw...
On the walk back to the visitor's centre we stopped to look at the tall trees with blue flowers. I think was blue pea, Psoralea pinnata.
We also got great views of the surrounding peaks. There is an extensive network of paths in the reserve and I definitely want to visit again and explore some more soon.