A circular walk

Early morning sunlight bathed the proteas in golden warmth, illuminating the brilliance of the Orange-breasted Sunbird sipping their nectar. Nearby, a Cape Sugarbird flitted, its spectacular tail feathers clicking in the quietness of an unusually windless moment in Cape Point Nature Reserve. Dark clouds loomed, providing the ideal background to capture these beauties in the wild. The Reserve provides much more than just hiking opportunities, and every visit should encompass a little of everything – walking, birding, close examination of the vast variety of fynbos, deep breathing of the purest air imaginable and watching the untameable sea in its relentless onslaught against this marvellous chunk of rock we call the Cape of Storms.

A favourite hike is the circular route from Buffels Bay up the steep road to the plateau, then a sharp left towards the Point, where we meander between proteas, mimetes and metalasia. Bright yellow ericas, pink everlastings and delicate blue lobostemon delight the eye, and a gushing rivulet provides music for the ears. Behind us, a sheet of rain threatens to catch up with us, but urgent requests for intervention result in a shift of direction and only a few drops dampen us (it never harms to ask!). Soon we are back in bright sunshine and the red cliffs of Rooikrantz lie ahead – famed for its ledges where record fish have been hauled up by rod fishermen over the years, and also the site of tragedy for the unwary, a reminder that Nature must at all times be respected – we are not her master.

We stop for coffee just below the lookout point, hoping to see whales – it is the season – but apart from a distant spout, they remain below the surface and we have to be content with the spectacular curtains of spray thrown up over the rocky shore by the impressive swell.

Baboon prints in the damp sand alerted us to their presence, as always, and we came across the Buffels Bay troop relaxing on the lawn, no doubt waiting for a chance to snatch a snack from a group picnicking nearby. I still had the total baboon experience, though. As I was removing my hiking boots and retrieving lighter shoes from the car boot, a little rogue flashed out of the bushes and leapt into the boot, dragging at a bag. Without thinking (and I should know better), I hit the baboon with my boot and it immediately revealed a mouthful of yellow teeth as it displayed its displeasure. My immediate thought was Oops! but fortunately it jumped out and sat down nearby to sulk. It may have been a different story if there had been food in the boot!

Reluctant to leave the Reserve after such an enjoyable hike, I took the opportunity to stop off along the main road at the rocky outcrop just before the turnoff to Olifantsbos. My intention was to spot the Sentinel Rock Thrush that lives in the area and I was thrilled to see it immediately, silhouetted against the now blue sky although some distance away. It hopped down among the rocks, but I was fortunate to find it again and left for home feeling satisfied with the morning’s achievements!

(Note: The trail along the shoreline back to Buffels Bay involves a bit of scrambling and is not recommended for anyone who struggles with their footing, but retracing of the trail with a start at the Information Centre can be recommended, as this is a very worthwhile area to walk in and can be adapted to one’s ability. )

One thought on “A circular walk

  • Jul 13, 2022 at 8:59 am
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    Thanks again Pamela so brilliantly written as usual.Brian

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