Twelve Apostles Fire – 8 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 – 15 June 2018

“The regeneration up on the Apostles Spine is remarkable! Well, although it is rather expected, one can still get excited when thinking back 8 months when the area was a typical post-fire moonscape.

Southwards of Grootkop, large areas of the mountain are almost entirely covered in greenery with barely any soil visible. This is typically the case on the wetter plateaus and south facing slopes.

There is a noticeable difference when you see the lower granitic slopes above Victoria Drive, or the north & west facing slopes along the Twelve Apostles. Here, on the harsh & dry slopes, regeneration is far slower and with heavy rain there is more chance of wash-away of topsoil or landslides.

Winter rains have been good thus far, and another storm is currently battering the Cape of Good Hope. Streams are flowing, soil damp under foot and the typical fresh, crisp air high on the mountain certainly ensures your jacket gets used.

For this update we set off on a cold winters morning, and had 8 hours of pure solitude – 5 of these hours spent smothered in cloud. There is a wonderful variety of plants in flower across the mountain. Many of which I’ve shared previously – Bobartia indica, for one, is still abundant 6 months in.

Just before reaching the main Apostles Path we bumped into a beautiful pair of Klipspringers which dashed off immediately and disappeared into dense cloud. Visibility was poor for the large part and the air temperate cold, however without a strong wind blowing it was a pleasure. Light rain, repelled by the waterproofs, didn’t dampen the spirits and we timed our Llandudno exit perfectly with sunset.

I highly encourage anybody keen on viewing this region to take a hike. Lace up the boots, go prepared for the elements, and hike the Twelve Apostles path to enjoy the beauty of the Cape Floristic Region. Be aware that Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine is currently closed so circular hike options are limited. More linear routes work best at present: Linking Suikerbossie with Theresa Avenue for example.

Signs of animal activities were dominated by porcupine, klipspringer & caracal.

Here’s a list of what was in bloom in the burn area hiked:
– Bobartia indica
– Lobelia coronopifolia
– Gladioulus carneus
– Salvia africana-caerulea 
– Anemone tenuifolia 
– Erica cerinthoides
– Watsonia borbonica
– Aristea capitata
– Agapanthus africanus
– Pelargonium myrrhifolium var. myrrhifolium
– Bulbinella alooides
– Gladiolus priorii
– Moraea neglecta
– Moraea bituminosa
– Gnidia pinifolia
– Crassula capensis
– Ornithogalum thyrsoides 
– Cyphia bulbosa 
– Lobelia pinifolia
– Babiana villosula 
– Corymbium africanum 
– Oxalis purpurea

Flowers shown, such as King Protea & Brachysiphon fucatus, are in small unburnt areas within the range.”

Original post HERE

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 8 Month Update 00

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 8 Month Update 01

Painted Lady.

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A King Protea blooming in an area that survived the fire. Across the range there are many pockets of surviving vegetation, protected mostly by rock.

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Lion’s Head and the northern section of the Twelve Apostles.

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Lost property.

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Gorgeous rock formations, enhanced by thick cloud.

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#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 8 Month Update 12

A good example of what regeneration high on the mountain, on north facing slope looks like. In other areas, especially on steeper, or lower slopes, it is not as accelerated.

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Beautiful sight!

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No views? No problem!

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Brachysiphon fucatus on an unburnt ledge.

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Moody atmosphere on the mountain flats.

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On a clouded summit.

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#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 8 Month Update 21

Bobartia indica can still be seen widely across the Apostles. This has been the case for the majority of the post-fire period thus far.

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Possibly the reason why nobody else ventured up the southern Apostles that day…

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Dropping below the cloud soffit we were treated to this beautiful view just before the sun went down.

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

5 Month Update can be viewed HERE

6 and 7 Month Update can be viewed HERE

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3 thoughts on “Twelve Apostles Fire – 8 Month Update

  1. Pingback: Twelve Apostles Fire – 9 Month Update | Justin Hawthorne

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

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

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