08 October 2011
Silvermine Circle over Steenberg Peak
Date: 25 September 2011
Location: Silvermine (from Gate 2 - Silvermine East)
Walkers: Dorothy, Ian & Helen
*** Route plotted here ***
Previous walk up Steenberg Peak here.
We set off on a bright morning for a meander through the east side of Silvermine Nature Reserve. We stuck to the main road in, passing the waterfall and keeping left at the fork. Our plan was to complete a counter-clockwise circular route by heading up and onto the plateau and then round and back past Steenberg Peak.
This route took us slowly and steadily uphill, through a wide but sheltered valley with lush vegetation being fed by a stream that tricked down the slope to the right of the road.
The common buttonbush, Berzelia languginosa, was growing happily here... plenty of cheerful white pompoms!
We also saw majestic Mimetes on these sunny slopes, and, in the damper areas, what I think is the spring-flowering Keurboom (if not, something else in the pea family?).
Two tall willowy specimens growing on the side of the road caught my eye.
This is a sundew: Drosera cistiflora I think. The stem was tall, with the pure white flower about 5cm across. Such a beauty!
And this green one is an orchid, Satyrium odorum.
Gnidia pinifolia, with its sprays of white tubular flowers, was everywhere, and then a new one for me. Hmm, round white flower heads... a variety of Metalasia, or a Selago perhaps?
More white! China flower, Adenandra, is at its best this time of year.
Also lovely Struthiola striata, with its delicate creamy flowers.
This ones appears to be silky puff, Diastella divaricata. Cute!
As always, there were a lot of different grasses too.
We continued walking along the road for quite some time. Looking back we could see across to Silvermine west.
We still had rocky peaks around us though...
... so we continued on up the slope...
... passing the intersection with the path coming in from the Kalk Bay side of the hill, near Junction Pool (looking less than idyllic at the moment)...
.... until - at last - we got up on the plateau!
Up here we saw this lanky erica with sticky yellow-green flowers. I think it is Erica urna-viridis.
Also, sour fig, Carpobrutus edulis, enjoying the sunshine.
Pink pelargonium, with fragrant leaves.
A glorious mix of scents, colours and textures all around us.
As we approached the radio mast we got our first glimpse of False Bay.
We passed the wetlands - as the sign says: frog breeding happens here. At the route marker we turned left, towards Steenberg Peak.
The path began to climb up the slope...
... while, behind us, the view expanded.
The day was really warming up now, and we were getting hot as we climbed up the sunny slopes of Steenberg Peak.
Here we saw several Gladiolus carneus. I just love them!
Near the top we reached a rocky outcrop creating a patch of shade. We stopped here for a few moments, had a snack...
... and admired the view.
It was a particularly clear day and we could see all the way across False Bay to Hangklip and the mountains of the Kogelberg and Helderberg. Pretty spectacular, don't you agree?!
After our break we made our way across Steenberg Peak.
I spotted this Serruria, almost over. Not sure which one it is.
The plaque was missing from this signboard, but luckily we knew which way to go.
Through the gap in the rocks, and down the other side.
On the other side: stunning view across to Constantiaberg and beyond.
The path was clear and easy to follow, as we continued down....
... past fragrant confetti bush, Coleonema album, and bright Gazanias.
The downhill continued, quite steep at times, with views across to Silvermine West.
Numerous flowers spotted on the way down: yellow Morea neglecta and pincushion protea; purple Pseudoselago spuria and Polygala (bracteolata?); reddish Crassula fascicularis and Erica plunkenetii; and white Trachyandra hirsutiflora and Geissorhiza juncea (?).
Once we reached the contour we took a left and headed round Wolfkop.
The Blackbeareded protea - Protea lepidocarpodendron - grows abundantly on these slopes. We saw several of the bushes tagged, and wire cages and cloth bags over the flowers. Obviously some sort of study happening here.
It was an easy stroll back to the car. The end of fabulous walk!