Twelve Apostles Fire – 3 Month Update

In mid-October 2017 the Twelve Apostles range of Table Mountain burnt over the course of 5 days in dense alien vegetation on the privately owned lower slopes and in old stands of fynbos within the Table Mountain National Park.  It was a somewhat unusual fire in that it occurred in spring, before the typical Cape fire season. No human life was lost, and no notable damage to infrastructure was suffered. At the end of the day what we know as the #12ApostlesFire was a good ecological burn. I have been monitoring the fynbos regeneration and wildlife activity within the fire affected region and regularly visit the Twelve Apostles to observe changes to the landscape.

Scroll down for the details and images contained in the next update.

Cape Town – 8 January 2018

“Last week I returned to the burnt region of the Twelve Apostles in order to observe vegetation regeneration and signs of animal movements 12 weeks after the fire. It’s looking really good and already there is excitement for how beautiful it shall be in 8 months time!

For this update I spent the day hiking in the southern region of the fire affected range, as far north as Grootkop which I’ve touched on previously in these updates.

We ascended steeply in the beautifully forested Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine, river gushing after recent mid-summer rain, and saw our first Disa unflora of this season. The fist-sized splash of red caught my eye from a distance, and after admiring the orchid we proceeded up the wet ravine to exit the forest and enter the burn zone. An excellent example of how a mature patch of dense Afromontane forest typically survives a fire.

In the burnt area the stream was lined with resprouting Palmiet, Bracken fern coming up en masse and Todea barbara ferns lining the wet slope. Bergpalmiet is littered across the mountain in among various respouting restios.

Watsonia tabularis is in flower and it is an absolutely spectacular display up on the Apostles spine. These geophytes (of the Iris family) thrive after fire. Bobartia indica, Agapanthus africanus & Capelio tabularis are budding and/or in bloom.

There are many patches of unburnt vegetation and there you may see Disa harveiana & Crassula coccinea in flower.

Fresh Klipspringer spoor on the footpath had our eyes scanning the rocky terrain and later in the day a sighting of these beautiful antelope confirmed their presence. Caracal scat in multiple areas shows they have, as expected, been present and hunting soon after the fire.”

Original post HERE

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 00

Watsonia tabularis adds amazing colour to the regenerating landscape. The green in shot is largely the Watsonia leaves, restios & bergpalmiet.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 01

Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine gushing down after rain the previous day.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 02

Disa uniflora (Red Disa) in bloom at the deep shaded, south-facing wet rock face.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 03

A wet Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine after recent January rain.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 04

After exiting the forested ravine, one enters the burnt Fynbos zone.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 05

Scents of citrus in the air with young Buchu emerging from the soil.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 06

Bobartia indica, of the Iris family.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 07

I just love the details of Bobartia indica.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 08

Hiking along the feint path towards the Apostles spine. Bergpalmiet can be seen with new growth.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 09

Capelio tabularis is flowering across the mountain. It flowers significantly after a burn.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 10

Klipspringer tracks.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 11

Protea speciosa.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 12

The beautiful scene from Grootkop, looking south towards Vlakkenberg & Chapman’s Peak in the distance.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 13

Agapanthus africanus in flower.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 14

Setting off on the exposed traverse.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 15

Protea cynariodes resprouting from the base (green) with the beautiful burnt flower adding gorgeous detail & copper colour.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 16

Passing behind a burnt Yellowwood tree.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 17

Lion’s Head coming back into picture.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 18

The Twelve Apostles Hotel seen on the far right hand side.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 19

The unburnt slopes of Grootkop with Oudekraal Ravine clearly burnt out.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 20

Micranthus alopecuroides in bloom along the footpath.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 21

Separation Buttress (far right) and the burnt slopes of the southern Twelve Apostles range near the vicinity of Judas Peak and The Pimple.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 22

The rocky mountainside near Llandudno Corner with Little Lion’s Head in the distance.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 23

Llandudno Ravine – burnt on the upper reaches.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 3 Month Update 24

On the lower slopes one can see the fire burnt into the Gum Trees at the Apostles Battery and dissipated here, along the thicket line of Llandudno ravine.

The Slopes Of Table Mountain Burn can be viewed HERE

The Night Scene Above Hout Bay can be viewed HERE

The Burnt Western Slopes can be viewed HERE

The Fire And Forest Divide can be viewed HERE

1 Month Update can be viewed HERE

2 Month Update can be viewed HERE

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14 thoughts on “Twelve Apostles Fire – 3 Month Update

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