Twelve Apostles Fire – 5 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 – 21 March 2018

“There was a gale force south-easterly wind battering Table Mountain on the day I’d set aside to observe regeneration in my planned area. I altered the route in an attempt to get shelter, partly for us to hike in a bit of comfort, but primarily to be able to photograph the flora!

Not much has changed along the drier west-facing slopes of the Twelve Apostles since my previous update in February, with slower regeneration compared to the wetter plateau and cooler east-facing slopes.

These slopes are rocky and steep, but slowly the vegetation is reestablishing itself. Dotted in greenery with a variety of species including Protea nitida, Protea cynaroides, Protea speciosa, Coleonema album & Rhus laevigata which are all coppicing. Bobartia indica is still putting on quite a show with all the yellow as this geophyte thrives in the open landscape. Protea acaulos is germinating in the rocky landscape and Asparagus lignosus too, with Watsonia’s promising to put on a prominent display come spring.

Here’s a list of what was in bloom in the burn area hiked:
– Bobartia indica
– Lobelia coronopifolia
– Erica cerinthoides
– Salvia africana-caerulea 
– Gladioulus brevifolius
– Berkheya rigida
– Crassula rupestris (on unburnt ledges)

Hiking elsewhere you’ll see Haemanthus sanguineus, Nerine sarniensis, Disa ferruginea, Tritoniopsis triticea among others in flower.

Animal activity is common with mongoose tracks and scat, klipsringers sightings on the Apostles Spine, and more notably the frequent evidence of porcupines.”

Original post HERE

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 00

Scanning over the burnt slopes of the Twelve Apostles from an unburnt terrace.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 01

Erica cerinthoides (The Fire Heath) adds amazing colour to the landscape, especially so when adjacent to charred wood.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 02

Coleonema album.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 03

Overlooking Llandudno, with the burnt ridge in the foreground at Lekkerwater Ravine.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 04

A fire surviving succulent of the Aizoaceae family.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 05

A fine example of indigenous Afromontane forest able to withstand fire.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 06

Beautiful colour and detail remains with these dead Black-beard Sugarbush Proteas.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 07

Burnt stands of Conebushes across the range.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 08

Arum Lilies and Taaibos coming up.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 09

Bobartia indica.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 10

Bobartia indica.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 11

Bobartia indica.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 12

Bobartia indica.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 13

Watsonia’s in the foreground with a Conebush (red-tipped leaves) behind.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 14

Common Ground Sugarbushes.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 15

Asparagus lignosus.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 16

Berkheya rigida.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 17

Salvia africana-caerulea.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 18

Lobelia coronopifolia.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 19

Porcupine quill.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 20

Impressive buttresses of the Twelve Apostles.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 21

Evidence of the wind strength!

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 22

Reentering a burnt section of the route.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 23

Beautiful views to the north.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 24

Llandundo Ravine (burnt) and Buttress (largely unburnt apart from the top).

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 5 Month Update 25

Always a magic sight as the sun begins to fade.

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

3 Month Update can be viewed HERE

4 Month Update can be viewed HERE

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5 thoughts on “Twelve Apostles Fire – 5 Month Update

  1. Pingback: Twelve Apostles Fire – 6 and 7 Month Update | Justin Hawthorne

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  4. Pingback: Twelve Apostles Fire – 10 Month Update | Justin Hawthorne

  5. Pingback: Twelve Apostles Fire – 11 Month Update | Justin Hawthorne

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