My first ‘proper’ walk since last year, post-Covid and finally conquering the fatigue. Such a pleasure to be back on the beaches of the Cape Point Nature Reserve (not a soul in sight apart from us and the bontebok) and even more so because a strong breeze from the south east brought relief from the weekend’s heatwave and total cloud cover. So cool that windcheaters were donned! The original plan was to take the track from Buffels Bay along the shoreline to Venus Pool, but in view of the prevailing wind, we took the beach trail from Olifantsbos towards Gifkommetjie. This involved quite a bit of soft sand plodding, and it didn’t take me long to hug the wave line where the damp sand was much easier to walk on. I expect to feel a stiffness indicative of a decent walk by tomorrow.
Although there are not many flowers at this time of year, it was a delight to find tiny mauve plants thriving in pure beach sand, so marvellously adapted to the harsh conditions and no doubt there to feed some small creatures as part of the food chain. Expanses of neatly clipped buffalo grass, looking more manicured than any garden lawn, were eyed enviously by those of us who struggle to maintain a suburban garden. The grazing of the bontebok and the ample fertilisation from their droppings must be the answer.
The sea was still churned up and a dirty brown from the wild waters of the weekend and mountains of kelp blocked the waves’ progress up the beach. Once the sea lice get started on it, the cycle of nature will break down the thick bamboo stalks while flocks of sacred ibis hold the lice in check. A perfectly arranged waste disposal team.
Some interesting rock formations occur on this part of the coast. Up on the plateau, there is a flat section of sandstone with ripples across it – evidence of an ancient river course – and down on the beach are fragments of conglomerate formed from the gravel millions of years ago. This is a rather over-simplified explanation, but one I can understand. The weight of the piece I retrieved is indicative of a high iron content. Geology has always fascinated me, but the time scales just boggle my mind and figures were never my strong suit. Suffice to say, the forces of nature that brought about the formations found on the Cape Peninsula demand the utmost respect and awe.
The more energetic among us took the high road back, up to the plateau, but I was happy to retrace our steps. Seeing everything from a different angle makes it seem like a whole new trail!