Monthly Archives: September 2011

Posberg Private Nature Reserve – Flower Walk

Posberg Private Nature Reserve 16 Sept 2011

Hearing that the flowers on the West Coast were wonderful this year we decided to take advantage of the perfect weather on Friday to head of to Posberg. There have been good rains in the area this year, as well as further up in the Clanwilliam and Namaqualand, but this is the closest toCape Townone can go to get the real wild flower experience.

Posberg is a private nature reserve within the boundaries of theWest CoastNational Parkand managed by SANParks. It is only open to visitors in the flower season of August and September each year. It has an extensive network of roads for drivers, but you only get the true benefit of the beauty of the flower by walking. They only allow 20 hikers on the day route, so it is advisable to get there early, particularly if you are going on weekends. 

The nature reserve is set on a peninsula that sometimes can leave one a bit disorientated, with the sea on one side and the Langebaan Lagoon, that links with the sea, on the other. It almost feels like being on an island and leaves you wondering how you got there. There is really has a bit of everything from crashing waves and beaches on the one side to still calm waters on the other, animals, rock formations and of course – flower. The walks are easy, with only one short climb on the day route (14km) that we were doing. There is also an overnight route that is booked up well in advance. For this you would need to carry your own tent. There is a small variety of game, with Zebra, Eland, Bontebok and Kudu being the most prominent.

The flowers did not dissappoint, with carpets of white and blue stretching across the flat areas, punctuated by patches of orange. This is the macro view however and there are many more beautiful flowers would simply miss if you don’t get out on the walking paths. The bright orange and white of the daisies is the most dominant, but there are the pinks of the Oxalis, the reds and blues of the Gladioli, the very prominent blue irises and the yellow, orange and blue of the vygies. There are of course many others and it is very rewarding to spend a day of easy walking through this magnificent Park.

At this time of the year one needs to keep a good look out for snakes – we came pretty close to stepping on a puff adder and were lucky enough to be able to get a photograph before it slithered fairly slowly away. There are also masses of tortoises and if you look at the photographs you will see a sequence of a fight between two males, with the one tipping the other over on to his back and then biting his legs every time he tried to right himself. Needless to say, he was rescued by the interfering humans.

The day hike finishes with a short walk along the beach and back along the road to the car park. All in all a very satisfying days outing, but I did feel sorry for those who can only do it from a vehicle.

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The Tortoise Fight – Posberg

The Tortoise Fight

We came across these two adversaries having a fight for domination, while hiking in the Posberg Private Nature Reserve. The dominant tortoise turned the loser on to his back and then bit at his feet every time he put them out of his shell to try to right himself. We watched them for about ten minutes while the winner watched over the one on it’s back. Eventually we did intervene and helped to poor guy, who scurried away quickly in to the undergrowth.

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Robberg Peninsula – Plettenberg Bay

Robberg Peninsula Sept 2011

It is quite a long time since I have walked around the Robberg Peninsula in Plettenberg Bay. When I last did it, probably ten years ago or more, I think I only did the shorter walk to the island. Prompted by the probability of doing a walk with a client in a month or two, I took the opportunity to do the full peninsula walk on my way back from aGarden RouteandAddoElephantParktour. I had forgotten what a spectacular place it was and what a great hike.

The management at the backpacker establishment where I was staying, assured me that it should take about two hours to hike the full route, unless I was very slow. Well, discovered I was very slow. Allow four hours, if you want to enjoy the environment, take photographs and not rush the experience. Two hours would be ok for a trail run.

It is not a difficult route and the path is well marked all the way. The path does run close to a steep drops into the sea for a considerable distance on the eastern side, so be aware if you don’t have a reasonable head for heights. On the western side, it is mostly at sea level and you would need to be careful at a spring high tide or in rough seas. In most places there are alternative routes that take you higher up if necessary.

One of the highlights of the walk was, first hearing and then seeing the hundreds of seals, after which the peninsula is named, swimming far below. Take binoculars, otherwise they look like little black dots. The barking is very clear and you can hear them, long before you see them.

There are three alternatives: the short route to the Gap (2,1km), Witsand (5,5km), which can be extended slightly to include the island and the Point (9,2km) around the whole peninsula. The scenery is on a par with anything in this beautiful country of ours and one of the many walks that a South African hiking enthusiast must experience. One of the features is the information boards that have been placed at strategic points, to explain the geology, the marine life, the bird life and the sea shore. A real gem, just inside the entrance to the park, is the archaeological cave site. This is really worth a visit if you have any interest in the past and the development of the people of the region.

Wonderful, wonderful walk and looking forward to doing it again with clients.

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