28 February 2012

A Stroll along the Pipe Track

Date: 25 September 2011

Location: from Kloof Nek

Walkers: Helen and Dorothy

Previous walks on the Pipe Track here, here and here.

Although the path follows the contour there are enough ups and downs on this route to get the heart rate going a bit. Especially on a hot afternoon! We were grateful for the shade from the trees along the way.

Table Mountain, seen from the side.

Eye-catching bark on this tree.

And an usual 'dead thing'. I wonder what the plant looked like before.

We walked out for half an hour and then turned around and walked back. Fresh air and a bit of exercise, just what the doctor ordered :-)


Newlands Forest with the Kids

Date: 24 February 2012

Location: Newlands Forest

Walkers: Dorothy, Helen, Dayne, Kate and Kean

See the Newlands Forest archive here.

Dorothy's daughters have taken up walking! They are trying to get out at least once a week, and this time I joined them all for a stroll in Newlands Forest after work. It was not very strenuous, but as always good to get out.


Kirstenbosch: Pops of Orange

Date: 19 February 2012

Location: Kirstenbosch

Walker: Helen

The Kirstenbosch archive is here.

A took a slow stroll through the central garden, before parking myself on a bench in the shade and reading my book.

I also sniffed a few flowers...

... and greeted a skink.

These oranges caught my eye: an aloe, a crassula and a lily.


Swellendam Dog Walk on the Hill

Date: 13 February 2012


Walkers: Helen, John and Ian, with the dogs

For this evening's dog walk we took a short drive and strolled out onto a hillside overlooking the Marloth nature reserve. Such lovely mountains!

Towards the end of the walk the sun peaked out from behind the clouds and washed the hills in golden light.


Swellendam: Dog Walk on Farm Road

Date: 12 February 2012


Walkers: John, Ian and Helen, with the dogs

My brother lives on the edge of town in Swellendam. It is very nice to be able to take a stroll from the house along the various country roads in the area. This evening we turned towards the farm and said hello to the cows.


27 February 2012

YUM! Banana Chips

These are banana chips: slices of dried banana dipped in honey. A very moreish nibble enjoyed after our swim in the river on the Tradouw Pass.

Tradouw Pass for a Swim

Date: 12 February 2012

Location: on the Tradouw Pass, not far from Swellendam

Walkers/Swimmers: Helen, Ian & John

It was a warm and sunny afternoon and we took a drive from Swellendam, through the little village of Suurbraak and along the Tradouw Pass direction Barrydale. The plan was to find a suitable spot to have a little picnic and a swim in the river.

This route is a very pleasant scenic drive and we stopped a couple of times to admire the view. The road was built by Thomas Bain in the 1870s.

After Stone Haven (a private nature reserve) we found a place where the road passed quite close to the river, and we decided it would be a good spot to do some exploring. It was just a short stroll to the water. We looked up and down river to find the best swimming hole.

Gorgeous mountains all around us!

The rocks were very pretty too - smooth and shiny, with pastel streaks.

There was a lot of this wild flower around. A type of statis perhaps?

It wasn't long 'til we located a perfect place for a dip.

Easy access into a deep pool. Hugely refreshing!

Afterwards we sat on the rocks, nibbling our snacks, watching the clouds pass by and enjoying being outside on such a perfect afternoon.


Swellendam Dams: After the Fire

11 February 2012

Location: outside Swellendam

Walkers: Helen and Ian, with the little dogs

Previous walk in this location here and here.

In Swellendam for a long weekend, visiting family. We went up to the dams for a short walk, around the top dam, to give the dogs some exercise and for me to get a closer look at the damage done by the fire that tore through here two weeks previously. I'm not sure how or where the fire started but the area that burnt is huge: from the top of the tallest peaks right down to the valleys and all around dams, through indigenous forest and plantation, and alarmingly close to my brother's home on the edge of the town.

Last time I was here the foresters were clearing some the pines, and it was interesting to see how the stumps and roots had burnt away entirely leaving 'burrows' in the earth. It looked very unstable. We stuck to the road for safely.

I know fires are meant to be part of the cycle of life and that these hillsides will recover in time, but I found this landscape made me feel so sad. It was deadly quiet and still, no birds or wildlife around, and the burnt smell lingering. It was all very depressingly grey, and it didn't help that it was a very gloomy day.

However there were already signs that the recovery process had begun. The palmiet along the edges of the dam was shooting.

Some grass was growing in the damper areas.

One or two trees had shoots.

Bracken was unfurling.

And reeds were emerging.

I was excited to see one spot of colour! A Haemanthus bud. Paintbrush lily.