Friday, December 23, 2011

Fernkloof Nature Reserve

Lobostemon montanus July 2009

Leucadendron salignum July 2009

Pelargonium July 2009

 Phaenocoma prolifera July 2009

Protea longifolia July 2009

Protea longifolia July 2009

Saltera sarcocolla July 2009

 Fernkloof Nature Reserve, Hermanus, Walker Bay July 2009

Click here for more photos from Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

In July of 2009 I spent 24 days in the Western Cape Province of the Republic of South Africa (RSA).  As you probably know, July is a winter month in the Southern Hemisphere, corresponding to January in the Northern Hemisphere.  But it is January as you might experience it in southern California.  The Western Cape Province has a Mediterranean climate.  It is dry in summer & rains in winter.  After 6 days in Cape Town, I spent 6 mostly sunny days in the beach town of Hermanus.  I chose to stay there mainly because I wanted to see Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

From the website: Fernkloof Nature Reserve covers 1800 ha in the Kleinrivier Mountains above Hermanus and ranges in altitude from sea level to 842 m. In late 1957, the Reserve was proclaimed by the Provincial Council of the Cape. It protects coastal and fynbos and a small patch of evergreen forest. There is no other place on earth where so many different species can be seen growing in such close proximity. In Fernkloof 1474 species have thus far been collected and identified.The name of the principal vegetation type of this region is derived from the Dutch word 'fijn bosch' which is the collective name for a myriad of evergreen shrub-like plants with small firm leaves, often rolled - but also includes woody plants with hard leathery leaves, usually broad, often rolled.

From my journal, 7-16-09:  At the Potting Shed Guest House, I had a breakfast of fruit salad, porridge (oatmeal) toast with plum jam, yogurt & rooibos tea.  I walked the cliff path to the centre of Hermanus.  Men were repairing thatch on the roofs of several houses.  Later in the day I drove to Fernkloof Nature Reserve.  It was amazing, hallucinatory.  Almost all of the plants & flowers were strange & unusual.  So many plants had yellow flowers & foliage that the landscape gave off a golden glow.  It was far more dense & diverse than the Harold Porter Botanical Garden.  There were many Protea & Leucadendron flowers, plus ferns & trees by the stream in the kloof (ravine).  I saw colorful birds with long, curved beaks (Malachite Sunbirds) feeding in the Protea flowers.  Birds with 16-inch tail-feathers like scissors (Cape Sugarbirds) were bathing in a small pool beside the path on the mountainside.  In flight, they looked like airplanes trailing banners.  Frogs were singing in the seeps.  On a recently burned slope, there were many seedlings.  I hiked for 3 hours.  In retrospect, it was the most amazing place I visited in South Africa.  7-18-09: I returned to Fernkloof Nature Reserve.  I took a different path than I had before, this 1 around Lemoenkop (Lemon Hill).  There were spectacular views of Walker Bay.  The day was cooler than the previous few.  I wrote down plant names from many flowers in labeled bottles in the visitors’ centre.

1 comment:

Larry said...

A wonderful post and beautiful photos... thank you for sharing this... Larry