Protea speciosa - since I saw it at Silvermine for the first time, I'm seeing it everywhere. Funny that. The white hairs on the leaf margins seem distinctive.
And then I made a short detour to the De Villiers dam, which is looking rather surreal in its half-empty state. Ghostly white sandstone rocks.
The water is a beautiful tea colour, on account of the phenols and tannins found in fynbos. These chemicals leach out of decomposing plant matter in seeps and streams, giving the water its characteristic brown colour. Having grown up in the Cape, I will always associate pristine mountain streams with brown water.
Then Mickey and I headed down the mountain, on the jeep track.
These miserable Knysna Yellowwood trees were planted decades ago - presumably by foresters. Podocarpus falcatus is not local to our area and is locally invasive in the lower forest, growing like hairs on a dog's back. They are displacing local forest species, including our local yellowwood, Podocarpus latifolius.
I find it extremely irritating and embarrassing that Table Mountain National Park does nothing about their removal, not to mention the thousands of other invasive aliens - and this is supposed to be a World Heritage Site!
I like pine forests because they are incredibly silent - the needles absorb any sound underfoot and they are almost devoid of wildlife, except for the odd bird of prey. All the forests on Table Mnt are being systematically felled - soon there will be none left.
I am a great biodiversity fan and support the removal of aliens (including pines) on high mountain slopes. But to remove every single tree and bit of shade on the urban edge, in areas which are highly transformed and have little conservation value anyway - in the name of CONSERVATION - is ridiculous.
There has been a huge public outcry in Cape Town about the wholesale removal of these forests in recreational areas - to absolutely no avail. The managers at Table Mnt NP reign supreme. Unfortunately this kind of hard-core fanaticism does not win support for Cape biodiversity - on the contrary, it alienates people.