21 June, 2013

From the snow-capped Groot Winterhoek

 by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity

Edited in August 2014, when we returned for sunshine and firelight from the Leucadendrons.

Whether it’s our hiking boots following the trail. Or the hooves of the grysbok following its path thru the wilderness. Or the water from the winter rain, and melting snow – in the boggy bits a shallow skin of water, which is, barely perceptibly, moving. We three along the line of least resistance, erode the paths in the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area.

Groot Winterhoek with snow

The trickles gather and a bubbling stream claims the hiking trail. As we approach the river, we can hear the water thundering; water catchment going to the VoelvleiDam for Cape Town.

Groot Winterhoek streams and eroded paths

I always lag behind, for the flowers. Sunshine yellow daisy rises from a rosette of spotted prickly leaves. Berkheya?? Our fynbos Flora Capensis has 4 distinctive layers – proteas, ericas, the restios (reeds) and bulbs.

Yellow daisy in Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area

Erica, Protea
Watsonia, Oxalis

Fynbos flowers at Groot Winterhoek 

When we hike he sees the wildlife, the grysbok spoor, and the southern rock agama, motionless then vanishing in a blur.

Grysbok tracks

Agama lizards are a sister group to chamaeleons. 300 species mostly in the Asian and Australian deserts. Plump, squat lizards with rough scales and triangular head. Feeding mainly on ants and termites, and other insects. Rock-living species have long legs and toes with sharp claws, allowing them to run effortlessly over vertical and overhanging rock faces. Southern rock agama is common on the rock outcrops of the Cape, from coastal cliffs to mountain summits.
From – Bill Branch’s Everyone’s guide to snakes of Southern Africa, includes other reptiles and amphibians

female southern rock agama

And the rock formations. He found this Helen of Troy face that launched a thousand ships.

Groot Winterhoek rocks and snow

Four years ago I began this blog.

Solar panels on farm workers cottages

Passing the Berghoff protea farm blog searchers seek a picture. Solar-powered geysers on farm worker’s cottages were once a new idea, now simply part of our social landscape.

Coming down Dasklip Pass with proteas

Coming down Dasklip Pass we pause to look back to Table Mountain, as we will be looking from Cape Town one day to the snowy mountains, we now call home.

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

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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.

Midnight in Darkest Africa

Midnight in Darkest Africa
For real time, click on the map.