A hot, hot day

The real heat of summer is now starting to be felt, and each hike is approached with due cognisance of weather conditions, at least by me. I tend to wilt in the heat, like a flower lacking water, and each step becomes an effort as the sun bakes down on mad dogs and Englishmen. A strong southeaster was forecast for today at Cape Point, and so I was confident of keeping cool as the breeze blew in from the heaving swells along the False Bay coastline. Reality set in as we left the car park at Buffels Bay, bound for Venus Pools under the sheer cliffs of Paulsberg. The curve of the Peninsula forms a perfect barrier against the southeaster for this popular picnic and swimming spot, and it wasn’t long before those who started out in light jackets were stripping off and packing them away for winter.

A very high tide washing up to the dunes meant some heavy going along the short stretch of beach. Two dead seals lay among the piles of kelp and we averted our gaze rather than seek a cause of death. Mortality rates are currently quite high for a number of reasons, but nature must take its course. A number of crows perched on the dunes, perhaps there to do a clean-up. We negotiated the tricky grassy bits where the slope is 45 degrees and meandered along the shoreline until the rocks became impassable. A couple of tortoises scuttled away, and a lone bontebok cantered away as we approached, to stare balefully at us from the ridge. He was still there when we made the return trip, so obviously didn’t care for our company.

At least 6 fishermen were casting from the rocks on the other side of Venus Pools, where the high tide churned and flung spray high into the air before falling in rivulets down the angled rocks to fill the pool to the highest level I have seen on these hikes. I don’t remember ever going there at high tide, and it made a pleasant change to watch the rough seas surging in. As usual, we saw no fish being hauled in and I can only imagine they are there for a quiet day out, rather than trying to catch dinner. By now the wind had caught up with us and provided a welcome respite, but as we returned to the cars, again the lull took over and I even eyed the tidal pools with half an eye.

I couldn’t resist kicking off my shoes and paddling in the shallows across the last beach, enjoying the cool waters of the bay swirling through my toes and sometimes my knees. A perfect way to end off a long, hot walk in one of the loveliest places in the Cape Point nature reserve. So lucky to live here!

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