11 September, 2014

Sevilla Rock Art Trail

- gardening for biodiversity

We've rushed from Clanwilliam across the Pakhuis Pass on the road to Wuppertal, past the sign for Sevilla Rock Art Trail, when heading to the Biedouw Valley for spring flowers. Not in 2014!

This trail is recommended in spring or autumn if you want flowers AND cave paintings. Easy walking, with a little rock scrambling. Summer would be very hot, across the rock outcrop with little shade, and winter would be tricky if the river was high. Our day was perfect with a few wisps of cloud.

Melianthus comosus at Sevilla Rock Art Trail

As I plan our False Bay garden I collect memories of chosen plants in their natural setting. At Sevilla we walked thru a Melianthus comosus forest, the flowers in burgundy and green. A single Melianthus in our False Bay garden is an echo of that forest.  Tall botterboom with huge luminous green leaves Tylecodon paniculata. Mustard lime flowers on shrubby Euphorbia mauritanica. Lobostemon fruticosus with pink and blue changeant flowers is on my wish list. Crassula umbellata grows in shady crevices with FERNS. 

Garden inspiration at Sevilla
near Clanwilliam in the Cederberg
Crassula, Lobostemon,
Tylecodon, Euphorbia

First an early lunch at the Travellers Rest restaurant conveniently sited where the trail begins beside the Brandewyn River. Cheese toastie, with good bread and a generous side salad. Back for tea and freshly baked cake after our walk.

Lunch at Traveller's Rest near Clanwilliam
with geese, a banana slug, rock pools

We began our walk with a flock of geese, chattering and grazing on the lush spring greens. A yellow banana slug crossed my path. Just a thin skin of water in rock pools. Gazing down at reflected clouds I lose all sense of scale. I could be looking out of an aeroplane window at great lakes and forests.

The trail is clearly marked with white footprints painted on the rock. When I started hooking on the bushes and we realised we were following eland and springbok tracks, we turned back and found the right path again. I'm grateful that we didn't meet the eland, 1.6 metres (5 foot) tall at the shoulder. Living among the rocks are dassies, watchful and wary.

Follow the white footprints on Sevilla Rock Art Trail
Springbok above, eland below
A dassie among the rocks 

Along the trail are nine sites with rock art. 'The paintings may be thousands of years old' - and need to be treated with respect from a personal space distance. The rock art is our heritage from the San (Bushmen). A dinosaur. A zebra foal. Two hunters carrying home dinner.

Sevilla Rock Art Trail

A child's handprint. Two dancing women.

Sevilla Rock Art Trail

The archer.

The archer on Sevilla Rock Art Trail

Ancient wild olive tree is centuries old.

Ancient wild olive tree at Sevilla in the Cederberg

Gladiolus orchidiflorus delicately lime green and purple. Didelta spinosa, perdebos bright green prickly leaves and yellow daisies. Lapeirousia jacquinii violet and cream petals. Dimorphotheca sinuata Namaqua daisy, buttery gold and a deep purple ringed heart. Ornithogallum suaveolens yellow petals with a green central stripe. Aizoon paniculatum with furry grey leaves. Daisies tiny and white. Ursinia cakelifolia yellow daisy with a black heart and filigree leaves. Silverleaf nightshade from the Americas, known as Satan's bush in Afrikaans, ornamental invasive in the Cederberg. Corymbium villosum clusters of white stars. Unexpected ferns tucked in the damp cool shady cracks. Homeria miniata in salmon (also found on the wild edges of Porterville). Pelargonium echinatum deep and deeper purple. Whiteheadia bifolia - what I thought was gone to seed, is the green flower spike!

Spring flowers along the Sevilla Rock Art Trail in August 2014 

The Cape to Namibia Route takes us from (Cape Town and) Porterville to Clanwilliam.

The Cape to Nambia Route goes thru Piketberg

Clanwilliam's flower church (2010) for a landscaped display of named species.
Ramskop wildflower garden 2010 and 2012 , for planted horticulture.
Further North to the Namaqua National Park (2008)

Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer of  Elephant's Eye
(in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa)

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  1. Looks like a great adventure! I'm so glad you had a perfect day. How wonderful to see amazing plants and cave paintings along the same hike!

  2. Dear Diana,
    I still have my mouth open! What a fantastic part of the world. Oh yes, once I've to come!!!!
    Have a happy happy weekend

  3. Again so many beautiful wildflowers. One almost looks like a borage or potato/tomato flower. I am always humbled by cave paintings...I have found them amongst the ruins of ancient tribes in the western US.

    1. the invasive nightshade or the pink and blue Lobostemon? Each beautiful in its own way.

      This trail was good, as the art was accessible AND still well preserved. Except one cave where the rock overhang had collapsed who knows when ...

  4. What a treat to see ancient art and the exotic plants that accompany them.

  5. Diana, it is so interesting to read about your life in South Africa and to have a glimpse of those amazing rock paintings as well as some great flora. Thanks for sharing your trip. Helen

    1. and thanks for introducing me to a wonderful blog from Sissinghurst!

  6. Inspiring walk! The cave paintings make me wonder about the people who made them. The child's handprint is something a child today will do when given the opportunity ... in wet cement maybe. Like the stepping stones in my garden decorated by my grandchildren. I don't think they will last as long though.

  7. Rock art is always very special and these look stunning. Just like the scenery and plants on the way there.

  8. Wow! Those paintings are amazing. I would have stared at them for hours. The zebra foal is particularly charming and lifelike.

  9. Your country is so lovely. How wonderful to live where you have so much beauty to look at.

  10. Fascinating post. The cave paintings are incredible. I wonder about the people who painted them. Did they see dinosaurs? Now that is interesting!

    1. is it a memory handed down as oral history? Or a shaman seeing visions in a trance?

  11. Three things: 1. I counted 4 words I dare not try to pronounce in the first paragraph, 2. I will never complain about our little gray slugs again, and 3. those rock paintings are absolutely incredible. I am in awe. I could just sit down in front of something like that and stare for a long time. But then I suppose the slugs would get me....

    Christine in Alaska, no yellow slugs, nor ancient rock art, but a passel of unpronounceable words

  12. Oh my, oh my my - this post has made my day a happier place, thank you. I adore all the flowers but those cave paintings blow my mind. I simply can't imagine seeing them for myself, what a privilege, I'd been in tears and goodness knows what it would do to my archaeologist hubby.
    Fabulous post Diana!!

    1. years of anticipation ... and we thoroughly enjoyed it!


Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

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