Twelve Apostles Fire – 12 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 – 07 November 2018

“On a spectacular spring morning we set out to walk the Twelve Apostles spine as well as get the overview of the Apostles’ eastern slopes which we’d also done immediately after the fire was extinguished in mid-October 2017.

I shared a comparison image yesterday and it clearly shows the transformation from a charred mountain to that of vibrant greens from afar. Of course, anyone that’s hiked in the southwestern cape knows that what appears simply green from a distance is in fact littered with a kaleidoscope of colours! Click through my images to get an idea of just what is blooming in these parts right now. As with any fire there is an awakening of species we have not seen bloom in the region for many years. The last fire in these parts happened before my time.

We’d had rain over the couple days prior, with cold temperatures of 5 degrees Celsius on Table Mountain just 24 hrs before. Everything as usual was fresh and sparkling, and the conditions were calm with beautiful visibility across the Cape Peninsula. It made for the perfect hiking conditions for our 10.5 hour trek.

As expected the mountain is looking spectacular and a new wave of colour has hit these parts. Observations along the footpaths we tracked had us count 58 no. in flower (or bud) across 27 families, and the next couple months should continue this trend. Dominant species across the spine include Pseudoselago spuria, Wachendorfia paniculata and the vibrant yellow Bobartia gladiata. In damp areas you’ll find Sterretjies in abundance, along with the odd mass of Senecio or Aristea.

Here is a list by Family with the number of represented species in flower (and in bud) within each:

– Iris (13)
– Daisy (10)
– Bellflower (3)
– Snapdragon (3)
– Citrus (2) 
– Erica (2)
– Geranium (2)
– Ice Plant (2)
– Orchid (2)
– Pea (2)
– Aloe (1)
– Carnation (1)
– Crassula (1)
– Protea (1)
– Ranunculus (1) 
– Agapanthus (1)
– Hyacinth (1)
– Stargrass (1) 
– Cyanella (1) 
– Bloodroot (1)
– Oxalis (1) 
– Penaea (1)
– Fibre Bark (1)
– Polygala (1)
– Stilbe (1)
– Mint (1)
– Phylica (1)
*based on what we saw over a 6.5 hour duration, covering around 10 km of footpath across the burn zone.

Wonderful Klipspringer sightings in two of the known five territories we hiked through certainly stood out in terms of wildlife observations. Dassie shrieks caught our ears, Mongoose and Caracal scat was spotted as usual, and Cape Girdled and Black Girdled Lizards, along with Southern Rock Agama are common sights in these parts too.

Next we’ll look at the findings…

Original post HERE

12 Apostles Fire - Oct 2018 - Justin Hawthorne 00

The vibrant young fynbos can be seen on the upper eastern slopes of the southern Twelve Apostles range, with the dense indigenous forest covering the Orange Kloof basin and adjacent ravines.

12 Apostles Fire - Oct 2018 - Justin Hawthorne 01

A beautiful Painted Lady.

12 Apostles Fire - Oct 2018 - Justin Hawthorne 02

A Wachendorfia stands taller than the dense restios in the damp flats, with charred evidence ever present.

12 Apostles Fire - Oct 2018 - Justin Hawthorne 03

The slower regeneration on the lower granite slopes behind 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa is evident, with contrasting vibrant blues of the Atlantic Ocean.

12 Apostles Fire - Oct 2018 - Justin Hawthorne 04

The fire affected region as seen far in the distance from behind the De Villiers Dam wall.

12 Apostles Fire - Oct 2018 - Justin Hawthorne 05

Grootkop – centre of shot.

12 Apostles Fire - Oct 2018 - Justin Hawthorne 06

Contrasting scenes: mature fynbos in the foreground, untouched indigenous forest evident in the ravines and the rest is vibrant greens of young fynbos.

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12 Apostles Fire - Oct 2018 - Justin Hawthorne 16

Agapanthus africanus.

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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

8 Month Update can be viewed HERE

9 Month Update can be viewed HERE

10 Month Update can be viewed HERE

11 Month Update can be viewed HERE

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