Friday, February 17, 2012

Marloth Nature Reserve

Protea aurea Marloth Nature Reserve July 2009

Metalasia Marloth Nature Reserve July 2009 

Elegia Marloth Nature Reserve July 2009 

Fynbos on the Langeberg Mountains at Marloth Nature Reserve July 2009 

Fynbos on the Langeberg Mountains at Marloth Nature Reserve July 2009

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, 6 mostly sunny days in the beach town of Hermanus, 6 days of variable weather in the small town of Bredasdorp on the Agulhas Plain, I spent 6 warm & sunny days in Swellendam. On my 3rd day in Swellendam I went to the Marloth Nature Reserve.

From the website: Marloth Nature Reserve lies in the majestic Swellendam mountains, between the towns of Swellendam, Ashton, Barrydale and Suurbraak. The reserve is 14,123 hectares (34,900 acres) in extent and adjacent to the Swellendam State Forest. Swellendam is the third oldest town in South Africa and has many interesting cultural-historic features. Marloth Nature Reserve is named after the pioneer botanist who, together with a deputation of Swellendam residents in 1928 petitioned the Minister of Lands and Forestry to set aside a part of the mountain as a nature reserve. During 1981 the reserve was enlarged to include the rest of the State Forest land. The vegetation in the nature reserve is predominantly mountain fynbos with patches of afro-montane forest. The fynbos includes several species of protea and more than 25 species of erica. The original forests covered a much larger area but over the years exploitation for timber for the local furniture and wagon industries, and fires, reduced them to isolated patches in the damper kloofs (ravines).

From my journal, 7-29-09:  I drove to the Marloth Nature Reserve, which was very near Swellendam on the slopes of the Langeberg Mountains.  I walked through fynbos on the lower slope, then through forest beside a creek in a ravine.  There were tree ferns (Cyathea dregei) near the water.  2 juvenile baboons screeched, thrashed branches & stared at me from a tree across the creek.  I remembered a friend's story about being attacked by baboons in Hong Kong.  I picked up a big stick & carried it with me until I left the forest.

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