Napier Mountain

One of the numerous places off the beaten track in South Africa: Napier Mountain with its magnificent views that even on a hazy day (when the pictures were shot) reach 50 kilometer and further (with a 300mm lens). Imagine seeing 10,000 square kilometer below your toes while making a turn of 360 degrees. That includes the Southernmost tip of the African Continent and places like Elim, Struisbaai, Caledon and Arniston. And at the foothills in the valley is Napier. Another ‘attraction’ in the mountain is a walk to the Bat Cave. It’s a moderate hike but watch out for the bee swarms once you enter the cave.

A devastating fire

The last few weeks Cape Town was on fire and to be honest it was an overkill of news from the fire front with lots of repeats, nonsense and so on. It became global news but yes it was in Cape Town and it was only 5500 hectare. A few years ago there was also a fire; here near Stanford: 25,000 hectare. It got a five-liner in a Capetonian newspaper but than for Capetonians this area is somewhere ‘abroad’. The fire in the Klein Rivier Mountains was far more ‘devastating’ for people and animals alike. Except for the baboons (here only 14 troops) far more diversity in animal- and plant-life than in the Cape Peninsula.

Well here follows what we blogged at the time:

For the third time within one year we experienced a mountain fire. This is a fynbos area and there seems to be a fynbos specie which roots start to burn spontaneously .  Fynbos needs a fire every 10 years or so otherwise seeds won’t germinate. It’s a pure natural process but for human beings in a contemporary world very inconvenient. No electricity for 24 hours and no internet for 36 hrs; the latter due to the fact that Telkom forgot to turn a switch into adsl-mode… It’s Sunday you know and it’s Festive Season here in South Africa…. But the guys of the fire-brigade (virtually all volunteers) did a tremendous job and we all admire them greatly!!!

The picture shows the fire on Friday night and was taken about 10 kilometers from the nearest point of the fire with a 300mm lens. In total 25-thousand hectares went in smoke including 8 holiday homes and 3 boats. No people injured. Fires like this spread rapidly especially during drought periods and a bit of wind. The fire started Thursday at the other side of the mountain and Friday afternoon local politicians said to a journalist of a local newspaper that the fire was under control and just after that hell broke loose…… There are still journalists, so it seems, who believe in politicians….

 

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A devastating fire

For the third time within one year we experienced a mountain fire. This is a fynbos area and there seems to be a fynbos specie which roots start to burn spontaneously .  Fynbos needs a fire every 10 years or so otherwise seeds won’t germinate. It’s a pure natural process but for human beings in a contemporary world very inconvenient. No electricity for 24 hours and no internet for 36 hrs; the latter due to the fact that Telkom forgot to turn a switch into adsl-mode… It’s Sunday you know and it’s Festive Season here in South Africa…. But the guys of the fire-brigade (virtually all volunteers) did a tremendous job and we admire them greatly!!!

The picture shows the fire on Friday night and was taken about 10 kilometers from the nearest point of the fire with a 300mm lens. In total 20-thousand hectares (50,000 acres) went in smoke including 8 holiday homes and 3 boats. No people injured but the baboon population in the area has declined. Fires like this spread rapidly especially during drought periods and a bit of wind. The fire started Thursday at the other side of the mountain and Friday afternoon local politicians said to a journalist of a local newspaper that the fire was under control and just after that hell broke loose…… There are still journalists, so it seems, who believe in politicians….

P.S.: A week after the fire we pictured these depressing ‘black and bleak’  landscapes.

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Pincushion and a farm with a view

The larger Stanford area is the South African hotspot of Fynbos and most of the Fynbos flowers are exported around the globe. Partly the flowers are harvested from cultivated plants and partly in a environmental responsible way in the open ‘veld’. This month and the few following ones some farmers and their staff are full time enganged in harvesting and packing.

 

Stanford Hills Estate, just outside the village, is one of those farms. Next to grapes (for their vintage Jackson Wines) the Fynbos is the main source of their income. Embedded at the foot of the Klein Rivier Mountains the farm provides visitors a wide range of stunning views of the surroundings.

Flowers from Stanford

Stanford is in the heart of the Fynbos flora. Virtually all species (>90%) can be found in the local ‘veld’. Here are some of the flowers Yvonne pictured today. Nature is one big garden.

When Peter met Jami ………..

Peter was in “the restaurant business” in Hermanus.

Jami was (still is BTW) the ‘Flower Queen’ of Stanford.

One day Jami went for a drink in a restaurant in Hermanus.

And the result you can read here.