Adventures: October 2017

WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA

Justin Hawthorne

The Table Mountain National Park formed the focus of my October month. Always a mixed bag of weather, which meant plenty last minute plans for outdoor adventures.

I spent a day on the southern Twelve Apostles range walking some of my favourite routes on Table Mountain, with a special emphasis on mammal observations. This I achieved. Another aspect was to look out for a tube of SPF50 sunscreen which had slipped out the side pocket of my rucksack on a previous hike. This I did not achieve.

The beauty about hiking in this part of the mountain is that it is typically very quiet – often you see & hear nobody. For the most part this was true: a dog walker near the Suikerbossie access, as well as a father & son rock climbing in the Eureka Face vicinity. Otherwise…silence.

I’ll intentionally plan to be descending around sunset, where the late afternoon light works its golden magic on the mountainside. The image above tells that story with the view over Llandudno.

Rivers of Table Mountain

With quite a number of wet weather days during the month, I made an effort to go for a few hikes along Table Mountain’s streams. The Liesbeek River is always a good bet for seeing a strong running river. The waterfalls high up in Window Gorge can be seen when driving on the M3, and they’ll tell you just how much water fell on the mountain.

Possibly the most dramatic day of October had to be when the #12ApostlesFire broke out near Bakoven / Camp’s Bay. I was leading a hike on the mountain that afternoon when we realised that there was a fire in the vicinity. We luckily were upwind, and out of harms way so we could proceed as planned. Out destination afforded us a brilliant overview of the fire, and we spent some time observing things before continuing our hike – governed by sunset.

Satyrium carneum

Earlier this year the South Peninsula was affected by a big fire which swept over Red Hill and Black Hill, burning between Ocean View and Simon’s Town. The fire was fanned by a strong westerly wind, and damaged private property. This spring has of course resulted in some beautiful displays of young blooms, orchids such as this Satyrium carneum have sprung up all over the sandy open slopes. Next year this time will look even more spectacular! The walking is easy, on flat and gentle terrain, so it really is a place you can just take a stroll spontaneously – without needing to pack you mountain hiking gear for a long day out. Tip: make an effort to head there now, or next year between August – November!

*A monthly series of four highlights from my work and play, shared via all social platforms. 

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