The strong Southeaster is draping the high peaks of the Peninsula with bright white clouds, and clings wraith-like to the upper Cape Point lighthouse, showing clearly why the positioning of this original lighthouse was a visual disaster! Bits of blue sky peak out intermittently and glimpses of a rough and unfriendly False Bay don’t yield any whale sightings.
As we start the long uphill from the Info Centre, destination Kanonkop, a pair of teenage male ostriches streak away across the lawn, the only wildlife we will see today of any substantial size, and it’s heads down as we keep a sharp eye out for snakes on the trail. They have been particularly active across the Peninsula this new season and the thick undergrowth is a perfect hiding place. A tiny, matchbox-sized tortoise struggles across the path, the indentations in the sand like towering dunes for this precious little creature, but it makes it safely into the dry grass where it can ponder its next move. A little further on, we cross a tar road where a much bigger tortoise – perhaps the parent – shows us how fast they can actually run on those stubby little legs.
The absence of fresh droppings indicates that the eland we saw last time are nowhere in the area, and we settle for the plentiful flora to satisfy our visual enjoyment of the trail winding up onto the plateau. It’s soft and sandy, and more effort than usual is needed to put one foot in front of the other. The breeze at our backs and the ascent into the mist is welcome. Bright yellow is the colour of choice at the moment, with the pristine white of Cape Snow running a close second, but a surprise is the many specimens of blue disa graminifolia along the way – they flower from February to April, so very interesting. (Turns out it is disa purpurascens, Early Blue Disa, so appropriate flowering.) A tiny Cape sand frog clambering in a bush is another fascinating observation – nowhere near visible water although a stream tumbles further along.
With the cannon high up in the mist and no view across the bay, we stop short of our destination to enjoy a much needed refreshment break (speaking for myself) before retracing our footsteps on the much easier downhill, reaching the cars after a good 6km in bearable conditions! A marvellous trail, with quite a number of other users today. (For the first time ever, I forgot my phone and so had no camera! These pics are by Lyn Mair.)