The average student needs some time off every now and again. After a week of studying for a chemistry test, we thought it’s time to treat ourselves. Consequently we let ourselves loose on the Kogelberg 24km trail!
As seen in the video it was a clear and hot day. By the time we arrived at the beach our feet were aching and we were in desperate need of some refreshment before the last push home. Jumping into the cool mountain water after the long hike was a feeling I’ll never forget.
Another special sighting we made was of the Red Cluster Disa (Disa ferruginea) hidden between the fynbos adjacent to the trail. Being a big fan of orchids, I considered myself very lucky to see this scarce and special flower.
I hope you enjoy the video and the photos. Feel free to comment, like and subscribe.
Young, searching for identity and enjoying the world. That’s what we did. Behold the three teenagers’ big night out:
Not so many years ago two good friend and I went on a night out in the wild. We gained permission from a farmer to go camp on his uncultivated lands.
Treading our own path, picking our own campsite and spending the night under the starry sky by firelight was an experience to remember. The next morning we hiked towards the nearest road and caught a lift back home.
I hope you also enjoy watching our memorable experience!
Racing on a single track bike trail with wind streaming through your hair and shrubs blurring past. This is freedom.
SUDDENLY a bright pink mouth with fangs deadly strikes from underneath causing a surge of adrenaline. The dreaded, yet intricately beautiful puff adder.
^Check out our morning ride on the 2 min video.^
In the video you’ll notice many shrubs, succulents and thorn trees. The floral region is known as the Robertson Karoo.
The climate is semi-arid due to the region lying in the rainshadow of large mountain ranges. Summers are dry with temperatures reaching maximum of 40 ‘C ( 104 F) while winters are cool and moist with minimum of -1’C (30 F). It has a average monthly precipitation of 7,7 mm in winter months (Apr – Oct).
Consequently the biome is a succulent shrubland. The plants are adapted to prevent water loss in the dry season.
Small-leaved guarri with wrinkled leaves so that the leaf is rarely fully exposed to sunlight.
Aloe microstigma has thick and fleshy leaves, which are enlarged to accommodate aqueous tissue inside. The leaves are also covered by a thin wax layer preventing water loss.
Interesting fact about puff adders:Puff adders hunt by ambushing their prey, and can lie motionless for weeks at a single location waiting for prey to pass. This behavior makes them vulnerable to predation.
A recent study at University of Witwatersrand found that (except for its visual camouflage) it has a chemical camouflage. They observed that dogs and the tame mongooses used in the study walked directly over motionless puff adders with both predators appearing to be completely unaware of the motionless snakes.
Happy 2016 to all readers! May it be filled with lots of wonderful experiences!
Grandpa, my sister and I went on our annual expedition up Leopard’s Kloof to view the Red Disas in flower. See my previous post on Leopard’s Kloof to find out more about this stimulating route.
The Red Disas grow in the moist moss which covers the rocks surrounding the Leopard’s Kloof waterfall. We spotted one in bloom close to the base of the fall. This is considered lucky because in the past there were many more Disas at lower levels of the fall which have now gone because of environmentally harmful activities like the picking or total removal of these flowers.
Orchids (like this one) are some of the most beautiful creations on Earth. Seeing the Red Disas again was an amazing experience. A good kick off to 2016!
Behold the African Helmeted Turtle (Pelomedusa subrufa), a.k.a. Crocodile Turtle, Marsh Terrapin or African Side-necked Turtle:
I found this turtle in out garden and was intrigued by its sideways retracting neck and golden, reptilian stare. It was had a flat body, flipper-like claws and a highly situated nose. I assumed it was adapted to water and decided to take it to a nearby dam.
Afterwords, I did some research: It’s a fairly common freshwater turtle which prefers stagnant habitats like marshes, pools and lakes. They occur throughout Africa and has a conservation status of “least concern”. Man made dams and reservoirs helped them expand their roam and increase in numbers. They are also omnivorous eating from plant, tadpoles, small fish up to small birds coming to drink water.
These semi-aquatic turtles can easily be identified by their flat bodies, sharp claws, sideways retracting necks and the two tentacles underneath their chin.
Apparently these turtles leave their homes in search of new habitats, especially after rain. We have our sprinklers on in the summer – which was probably what had attracted this fellow.
I went berserk with fascination upon seeing this turtle and had a royal time photographing it! What a pleasant surprise!
I took this photograph along the coast near Kogel Bay, South Africa. I originally saw a similar photograph taken my a professional and decided to have a go at it myself. It took many attempts to get the right spot at the right time.
Later this year, I entered my photo in a regional eisteddfod and to my delight received a gold award!
I admire photographs which captures a certain experience of nature.
I kicked off my summer holiday with my grandfather and a dear friend. We hiked along the coast near the southern most tip of Africa and spent a night along the beach. It was such a relief to get in the outdoors, breathe the ocean breeze and not have to go to school!
Spescial things I encountered was an out-wash of sea urchins, seeing Jupiter and Venus (we only realized that afterwards) and watching the full moon set in the ocean at 04:00 in the morning.
We also walked past the house (seen in the background of the featured image) where the late British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan wrote his speech: “The Wind of Change” which he represented to the South African Parliament in the time of Apartheid.
Walking gently in a wide ravine, flowers all around you, birds singing and a big blackwater pool to cool down. A Rejuvenating experience!
Boesmanskloof is a one-way hike. Either from Die Galg or from Greyton, depends on which side of the mountain you call home. We hiked to Greyton and back. Boesmanskloof literally means “bush man’s ravine”. The trail is 14km long. I’d grade it as a moderate hike.
Approximately half way through a unique waterfall with a circular plunge pool arises, Oakes Falls. This is where I photographed the pink disa in Desember. Lots of other fynbos plants can be spotted including the little turkey. We also found several southern rock agamas with their blue scaled heads and tendency to do “push ups” when you stare to long!
Trees and boulders passing by like wraiths in the mist. A baboon barking somewhere in the distance. Surrounded by a white abyss.
Genadendal is a small town on the Southern side of the Riviersonderend mountain range. It’s home to the first mission station in southern Africa. Genadendal Moravian Mission Station
The hike starts at the old church and takes you 12km over the mountains to the Agterkliphoogte valley. After a night in the luxurious DeHoek Cottage you start with a tough ascent then a descent to Genadendal. Day two’s distance is 9km.
Spectacular views – on a cloudless day. Beautiful rocks and refreshing streams. We stumbled across old leopard dung, a reassuring taught, and some beatiful fynbos like the green heath.
Money matters. Permits cost R40 per adult per day (CapeNature) and the Cottage cost R150 per person per night (DeHoek farm owner).
Hope you enjoy!
Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife and Hiking in South Africa