Thursday, January 19, 2012

De Hoop Nature Reserve

De Hoop Nature Reserve July 2009.  De Hoop Vlei (wetland) then the Indian Ocean in the distance.

Protea compacta De Hoop Nature Reserve July 2009 

Protea compacta De Hoop Nature Reserve July 2009 

 Papio ursinus (Chacma Baboon) De Hoop Nature Reserve July 2009 

Potberg Mountains De Hoop Nature Reserve July 2009 

Protea neriifolia De Hoop Nature Reserve July 2009

Click here to see more photos from De Hoop 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 mostly rainy days in Cape Town, then 6 mostly sunny days in the beach town of Hermanus, I spent 6 days of variable weather in the small town of Bredasdorp on the Agulhas Plain.  I stayed at the Voorhuis, a private home & guest house built in 1841.  On the 3rd day I visited the De Hoop Nature Reserve.  

From the website: Only three hours from Cape Town lies a special nature reserve situated in the Overberg region, near the southern tip of Africa. De Hoop Nature Reserve is approximately 34 000 ha in size.  It is a favourite destination for hikers, cyclists, bird watchers and during the winter and early summer months, whale watchers.  The adjacent De Hoop Marine Protected Area, which extends three nautical miles (5 km) out to sea, is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa.  De Hoop Nature Reserve forms part of the world's smallest and most threatened plant kingdom, the Cape Floral Kingdom. Fynbos is the dominant vegetation group and is largely confined to nutrient-poor soils in the winter rainfall areas of the Western Cape.  De Hoop is important for the conservation of lowland fynbos for it has the largest conserved area for this rare vegetation type.  The reserve has 86 mammal species. Most notable are the rare bontebok and Cape mountain zebra, as well as eland, grey rhebuck, baboon, yellow mongoose, caracal and the occasional leopard.

From my journal 7-24-09:  It was actually cold that morning.  I could see my breath.  It warmed up quickly as the clouds disappeared.  I drove to De Hoop on endless dirt roads.  There was beautiful fynbos near the gate house, but no trails.  I parked beside the road & walked along the edge.  I saw eland, baboons & bontebok in grassy areas closer to the ocean.  I saw southern right whales from the dunes.  Even with binoculars, I could only see their tails, spouts & a bit of their heads.  It was low tide. Tide pools were filled with anemones & urchins.  I drove to the Potberg Mountains at the other end of the reserve.  I hiked through fynbos along the mountain trail to a cave with alleged paintings by Bushmen. There was no way I could climb the steep rocks into the cave to verify that.  On the drive back through rolling pastures, I saw many sheep.  I was stopped by men with red flags driving sheep up the road toward me.  Cape vultures perched around the edge of a water tank & beautiful blue cranes stood in a field near the road.


Beyond My Garden said...

Not even remotely similar to yesterday's Weather in Washington. That was a nice escape post for all you northwest US people.
ps my verification word is "hagonym" I wonder what some examples of a hagonym are?

Dacey said...
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Alistair said...

Always good to share in your journeys Jordan. This one seemed like the holiday of a lifetime.

Andi Rivarola said...

Amazing. Thanks for posting these great pictures. One day. One day I hope to go to SA.