A breath of fresh air

Aah! The smell of salt in the air whipped off the waves splattering spume against rocks weathered over aeons! The tangling of your hair in the moderate gale blowing through the mouth of False Bay, an out-of-season unwelcome visitor fanning the flames of a wildfire in the Jonkershoek on the far side. Blue skies stretching from horizon to horizon, marred only by the dissipating smoke from the fire. The call of wide open spaces, where eland browse undisturbed on stunted shrubs and baboons bark from the krantzes.

The plateau of Cape Point Nature Reserve ranks perhaps top of the list for desirable walks on the Cape Peninsula. Tempered by the proximity of the sea, and consistently the windiest place in South Africa, it is seldom too hot for comfort. The force of the prevailing winds is a natural pruning mechanism keeping the fynbos close to the ground, and only the thickets of ancient milkwoods hugging the gullies bear a resemblance to treed areas.

The False Bay coastline is characterised by soaring cliffs, hanging remnants of uplifting of the seabed when continents formed, and the pushing tide as we approach full moon, coupled with the onshore wind, gave us spectacular displays of wild white water contrasting against the dark red rock – viewed from afar as these are inaccessible, inhospitable places where Nature is king and Man cannot tread.

A rivulet trickled down the rocks and formed a small pool where we sat, and in the clear water we watched tadpoles wiggling among young kelp growth wrenched from its anchorage by the surge. A mixing of life from fresh water and salt water – I fear the high tide will not be kind to the tadpoles. Always something to observe if you only look.

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