Cape Point Nature Reserve

The second day of a brief adjourn in Cape Town for a few days in December 2018. We chose to drive down to Cape Point Nature Reserve via Simonstown and what a beautiful day it turned out to be.

“Jobs fill your pocket but adventures fill your soul.”~ Janie Lyn Beatty

A drive from Simonstown along the main road past Boulders and Murdock Valley onto Smitswinkel and then to Cape Point Nature Reserve. A small inlet just past Boulders on our way to Cape Point.

A moody sky as background with a calm False Bay sea lapping the sandstone boulders. The floating kelp was rhythmically moving with the waves which were lapping the boulders at the water’s edge.

Looking south just beyond Partridge point into Smitswinkel Bay in the Cape Point Nature Reserve.

“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.” ~ Lovelle Drachman

A view as you travel down in Cape Point Nature Reserve to the Cape of Good Hope with a view towards Antarctica.

The Cape Peninsula offers a compact floral kingdom comprising Proteas, bushes and grasses which cover the sandstone formations of the peninsula,. Fynos is considered one of the world’s six floral kingdoms.

“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

A view looking west from Olifantsbos beach across the stony section at low tide with debris of kelp scattered across the rocks and beach. There were many terns, oystercatchers, plovers and ibis foraging in the kelp debris scattered on the beach.

A swift tern identified by its yellow beak, back cap and white underparts.

Sandwich terns gather in large flocks along the Cape Point coastline diving into the shallow coastal waters for small fish. This is a slender tern which has grey upperparts, white underparts, a yellow-tipped black bill and a shaggy black crest when breeding which becomes a white crown outside the breeding season.

A group of African black oystercatchers identified by the black plumage and red-orange beaks and red eye rings and pinkish legs.

Males and females have the same plumage. The female is bigger than the male and the former has a longer more pointed beak.

“Collect moments not things.”– unknown

These oystercatchers feed on mussel, worms and other crustaceans which they forage in the low tide in the inter-tidal zones.

These birds are monogamous slow breeders; breeding exclusively along the coast of southern Africa. They remind me a lot of skimmers. According to SANBI, the global population of the African Black Oystercatcher has increased by about 33% since 1980 (5 000) to early 2000 (6 670). Due to the small population size of less than 10 000 individuals, the IUCN and South Africa regard the African Black Oystercatcher as ‘Near Threatened’.

A swift tern flying back to its group resting on the rocks in Olifantsbos bay.

On our way back from Olifantsbos beach I was surprised to see this family of ostriches foraging between the road and the coast line. This was a successful family judging from the age and number of chicks which had survived. There is a low predator density in this reserve so their chances were good.

A very young Bontebok calf with its mother not too far away.

An adult Bontebok. Both sexes have horns and similar colouring with a distinctive white blaze on their face. They are dark brown with a white belly, rump and hocks. They are plains antelope preferring the short grass areas.

The common sunshine conebush with flame red young shoots (probably full of tannin). The is plant thrives in a variety of soils and is able to survive fires by regrowing from underground rootstock.

“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” ~ Chief Seattle

Looking directly east across False Bay to Pringle Point and the Hottentots Holland on its left hand side.

A view from Two Ocean’s restaurant looking up the Cape Point coast line towards Simonstown.

A view looking north from Buffels beach in the Cape Point Nature Reserve. This area offers tidal pools to swim in and extensive views across False bay towards the Hottentots Holland mountain range behind Somerset West.

A sugarbush which usually occurs in large thickets. There are around 112 species of protea in South Africa and this family is estimated to date back around 300 million years and so are among the oldest families of flowering plants in the world.

The quartz sandstone boulders offer wonderful landscape photographic opportunities with abundant clusters of Cape Snow (Syncarpha vestita).

“The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to” ~ Alain de Botton

A fynbos landscape punctuated by quartz sandstone boulders with a dead pin cushion protea lying over one of the foreground boulders possibly blown over and broken by the high south eastern winds which can howl through this area.

Quartz sandstone boulders with a yellow pin cushion protea to add character and colour.

“Live your life by a compass not a clock.” ~ Stephen Covey

Late afternoon facing west with the bright afternoon light toned down with the quartz sandstone boulders in the left hand side foreground.

Clusters of Cape Snow on the slope of a quartz sandstone ridge with a rich diversity of fynbos in the foreground which includes Elegia Filacea. My knowledge of fynbos flora is sketchy so any corrections would be welcome.

The geology of the peninsula formation comprises hard, light grey course pebbly quartz sandstone. A Cape zebra stallion standing in the foreground in the fading light of the late afternoon.

The Cape Peninsula which has an area of about 470 square kilometres has a floral kingdom consisting of 2,285 flowering plant species. A field of orange Elegia Filacea with cluster of Cape Snow.

The Cape has many photographic dimensions. One of the intriguing revelations about this trip has been that the more you look the more you see and the more you realise that you have still to learn. It is like opening the first few pages of a thick book.

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” ~ Randy Komisar

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.

Have fun, Mike

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