31 January 2010

Sea Point Prom on a Saturday

Date: 30 January 2010

Location: Sea Point

Walkers: Michele & Helen

**** Route plotted here ****

All walks along the Promenade archived here.

The wind was howling in the city bowl so we drove round to the Atlantic coast for a quick walk in Sea Point. The weather was fine here - only a little wind and lots of lovely late afternoon sunshine. We followed our usual route along the Promenade: from Three Anchor Bay to Bantry Bay and back.

The Prom was looking good... the repaving project they were busy with last time has been completed, several new benches have been installed along the route, the public garden plantings were neat and tidy and the beaches clean and litter-free.

Lots of people on the beaches of course, including this group of picnickers almost all dressed in white. They had bunches of balloons, piles of gifts, glasses of bubbly and trays of delicious-looking food. So curious to know what they were celebrating in such style!

We've been watching the construction of a big house near Saunders Rock - almost complete now. Look at that amazing swimming pool on the roof!

We were quite amused to see the starlings totally ignoring the rotating device that is meant to chase away birds. Ha ha - doesn't work for these cheeky little fellows!

These weren't the only birds we noticed along the walk. We watched seagulls in the calm shallows. They were using their feet to rough up the sand on the bottom and then diving down to snatch up whatever foodstuffs they were freeing. Never noticed this behaviour before.

We also had a kiewiet (Blacksmith Plover) shriek at us as we walked past. Got too close I guess.

There were gorgeous skies on the walk back, as the day began to fade.

(Photos by Helen)

28 January 2010

Signal Hill on a Windy Day

Date: 28 January 2010

Location: Signal Hill

Walkers: Helen & Michele

**** Route plotted here ****

Previous walk on this route described here.

We'd gone up Signal Hill Road with the intention of climbing Lion's Head but when we stopped at the parking area the wind was gusting so strongly we decided to drive on to Signal Hill. Here it was much more pleasant - still breezy but at least we didn't feel in danger of being blown off our feet.

From the view site we took the path down the hill, keeping to the right.

We got fabulous views down to Sea Point and across to Lion's Head.

The mid-summer fynbos looked pretty in shades of soft green and grey.

It was not soft though! We took a secondary path that was a bit overgrown and found the vegetation we had to brush past to be very prickly indeed. Ouch, our legs and arms got quite badly scratched.

Once we got back to the main path we passed hordes of joggers, clearly a running group (or two) training. There were also other walkers and cyclists using the path. A busy day on Signal Hill!

We strolled on the kramat where we met the fierce wind again. Clouds were now scudding across the sky as the gale got worse. Time to turn back!

(Photos by Helen)

24 January 2010

Bloubergstrand to Big Bay

Date: 24 January 2010

Location: Bloubergstrand

Walkers: Helen & Michele

**** Route plotted here ****

We parked in Stadler Road in Bloubergstrand and took a wander northwards.

I enjoyed checking out the houses along the way. There's such a mix along here - lots of modern mansions, but some cute thatched cottages and scruffy old holiday houses too, as well as plenty of regular suburban homes.

We made our way down onto to the sand, past the rocks and onto the main beach. There were lots of people out and about, but this is a lovely wide sandy beach and there's plenty of room for everyone.

The new Big Bay development here had sprung up so quickly. A couple of years ago there was just dune beside the beach, but now there are rows of houses and a huge shopping centre. Oh my, it is horrible!

The beach was littered with a variety of colourful seaweeds. I love them!

The fisherman were on the rocks - surrounded by sea - so planning on staying there until the tide turned I presume :)

On the walk back we got fabulous views back to the city, with Devil's Peak, Table Mountain and Lion's Head clearly visible. Perfection.

(Photos by Helen)

The Saddle

Date: 22 January 2010

Location: Devil's Peak, from Tafelberg Rd

Walkers: Michele & Helen

**** Route plotted here ****

We've been wanting to go up the Saddle again ever since our last attempt was rained out. So we took the opportunity one lovely Friday afternoon. As we started up the steps the late afternoon sunshine beamed down - no chance of rain this time round!

I like the walk up... the path zig-zags at a very comfortable pace.

Before long we'd climbed quite far up and the views down were super.

Across the city bowl we could see Lion's Head and Signal Hill (also known as the Lion's Rump) quite clearly. It is rather sphinx-like isn't it?

Alongside the path we saw some familiar flowers in bloom: Erepsia anceps, Erica abietina, yellow Aspalanthus and this little pink flower which must be something in the pea family.

Also pretty Pseudoselago serrata. Hello, old friend! This is one of the first wild flowers I learnt to identify and remains one of my favourites.

The grasses and dried leaves alongside the path are charming too.

It was really good to be up on the mountain again.

At the top of the ascent the path contours to the left, around to the Saddle itself - namely, the plateau between Devil's Peak and Table Mountain.

What a treat awaited us around the corner... the whole hillside was pink!

As we walked through it we saw that it was erica (Erica hirtiflora I reckon). The sweet little flower tubes were slightly fuzzy and in every shade of pink.

The path went right through the pink slope.

Dotted around we also saw this yellow flower which I think is Helichrysum cymosum, common name yellow-tipped strawflower.

And handsome bright red Crassula coccinea.

Behind us the sun was getting close to dropping behind Table Mountain. Everything seemed to glow in the last rays.

We wandered around a bit on the plateau, thinking that as soon as the weather cools a bit we should come back and continue the walk from the Saddle up to the top of Devil's Peak.

Up here we also spotted a pretty dark blue Agapathus. Psoralea pinnata, with small blue flowers, was growing in the steam bed.

There were several Watsonia tabularis blooms to be seen too.

Once the sun had gone we made our way down the same route.

(Photos by Helen & Michele)