Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Eye on Life

Broad interest online magazine


Back to Elephant’s Eye Cave

Despite cloud cover, or maybe because of it in this fierce heat, we took ourselves off to the Elephant’s Eye Cave from the Silvermine Dam car park on Tuesday. We eschewed the scramble via the crags and chose the jeep track, which with its endless uphill was probably more taxing. We have done this hike many times over the last few years, and the vegetation has shown a remarkable recovery since the devastating fires that blazed up the slopes of the Tokai plantation, leaving the mountainside scarred and treeless. In addition, the severe drought took its toll. The photos are taken at intervals to show the changes.

Several days of howling winds, very humid conditions and threatening thunderclouds have left us bemused and bewildered as to which weather forecast to believe, and the best thing was to just do it! After all, past blogs have shown that this weather is not actually unusual in December and it is only our memories that choose to recall the good days over the bad. The clouds kept us a little cooler and the hike was manageable with only a few rests along the way for water and sweets, and as we all decided to do the full hike and not cheat by stopping at the firewatcher’s hut, can say that we did a proper walk without deviation. As we climbed higher, though, the clouds obscured the view (perhaps the main object of the climb) and a few of us perched on some suitable rocks just before the cliffhanger before the cave. As the breeze moved the mist before us, glimpses of the Tokai and Constantia valleys came and went, and further out across False Bay we could watch the waves breaking gently along the shore.

Very little remains of the plantation that once covered these slopes, but in reality this is exactly what was expected to happen. Perhaps it could have been replanted, but the current modus operandi seems to be to remove alien trees and allow the fynbos to recover. This never goes down well with those who enjoy picnics in a forest, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and most can’t be pleased any of the time. We have to live with the bureaucracy we have had forced on us.

Further down, vast vineyards patchwork the landscape, pale green at this time of the year, and fading to golden colours in autumn after the grapes have been harvested. The constantly changing view makes for year-round pleasure when hiking in this area, and the abundant fynbos affords the opportunity to discover something new throughout the seasons.

One thought on “Back to Elephant’s Eye Cave

  • Brian Moore

    The usual standard Pamela,many thanks. Bx


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