04 March 2011

Walk above Llandudno

Thursday afternoon we went for a sunset walk from Suikerbossie up Hout Bay corner to Llandudno Ravine. The views are spectacular - first over the Houtbay valley:

And once you've ascended Hout Bay corner, views over Little Lions Head and Llandudno. There are a few places where one has to scramble or climb - with the aid of stainless steel handles - so the Mickey dog needed some help.

Much to our surprise we came across a Himalayan Tar - obviously one which the rangers missed out during the relocation programme a few years ago. It was a male, and totally unafraid of our presence. Min gepla. I didn't know whether to look at the tar or the bird of prey sitting on the rock above!

I noticed the tar browsed a few leaves of the Wild Camphor, Tarconanthus camphoratus. So much for the plant producing aromatics and secondary compounds as a defence against animals!

Once we rounded the corner we were on the exposed west side. I noticed a distinct increase in succulents (Cotyledon, mesembs and Tylecodon grandiflora, in flower) and some shrubs, notably Coleonema, were looking stressed, with yellow leaves, all rolled up. March is a tough month for fynbos.

I made a bee-line for the shade in Lekkerwater Gulley, where we enjoyed a sunset drink of water and some fruit. I'd love to go back and continue to Judas Peak next time, returning via Myburgh Ravine.

Looking back along Eureka Face towards Karbonkelberg and beyond.

Looking in the other direction, towards Oudekraal are steep slopes clothed in fynbos, as far as the eye can see, with a totally unspoilt coastline. It is wild and inaccessible - untamed Nature.

Peter Slingsby, who has created such an informative map series of the Peninsula, writes:
These very very empty slopes - perhaps the least frequented parts of the whole of the Cape Peninsula - are mostly private property and not conserved as part of the National Park.

May we hope that this truly untracked wilderness within the City boundary remains forever for future generations as a tiny glimpse of this whole Peninsula as it was before 1652.

I feel incredibly fortunate to live in a City with such natural beauty and biodiversity - right on our doorstep.


  1. Heilige kuh!!! I mean...tar.

  2. Ok, second try with a comment... I was just saying that your luck was amazing, just spotting such a rare animal there, and rambling about how these great pictures make me all-things-Cape-Town sick...

  3. Thanks for your perseverance, Vince!

    I had such a strange mixed reaction to the tar: what are YOU doing here? (you alien unwanted one - Himalayan tars were causing damage on the mountain and outcompeted local antelope such as klipspringer, steenbok and duiker - but I was also awed by his beauty and presence.

    I find it sad that the distinction between 'alien' and local clouds my vision - so negatively.

    Only today I was at a client's farm, walking through heavily infested fynbos and as I'm walking, I notice every cell in my body wants to remove the pines, hakeas, rooikrans - we are talking major trees, removing a forest! - why? Because they are alien, invasive, they alter the fire regime and result in loss of species diversity.

    To me it just looks like trashed / disturbed land in need of help. But it still bothers me that I can't appreciate the alien trees in their own right.

  4. What a beautiful place to see. I would love to climb up Llandudno too. I wanna take my dog there too. Can you suggest dog friendly cottages in llandudno of where we can stay?