05 August, 2015

Cape Agulhas and the Two Oceans Hiking Trail

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Mid-July we went way down south. To Cape Agulhas. The southernmost tip of Africa. Next stop Antarctica, which is appropriate since its mid-winter. We stayed in a chalet at Agulhas National Park.

Looking at the sea from our chalet
at Agulhas National Park


Despite the car, with lunch and a walk at Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, we arrived in good time, still light and we could enjoy the sunset.

Sunset at Agulhas

Next day we went on the Two Oceans Hiking Trail. We walked along the shore and wound thru the dunes. Driving the landscape looks deceptively flat, but on foot we wound up, and down. To limestone ridges then edging along valleys. On the shore we saw African black oystercatchers and perhaps a glimpse of whale. The chalets are graciously set back, close enough for a sea view, far enough that you can walk along the shore in nature.

African black oystercatchers, hiking trail
Willdenowia? restio, the line of chalets 

As always I came home with rocks, five pebbles from the beach, from BOTH oceans. I was intrigued by the way the waves scalloped the shore here.

Scalloped shore and pebbles at Agulhas

It is a fierce rocky shore. Agulhas (= needles) was named by early Portuguese navigators since they could rely on their compass pointing due north here.

Rough seas at Agulhas

Agulhas National Park was proclaimed in 1999. Those original 4 hectares are now 21 000 hectares. Accommodation includes the former farmhouses, some historic off-grid cottages and our comfortable (with an extra blanket please) chalets. Sadly off-road vehicles have trashed the environment and a Khoisan shell midden. The former trail goes diagonally across the picture. Bottom and left you can still see the exposed sand, top and right with kindness and care the vegetation reclaims its rightful space.

Rehabilitating damaged dune vegetation

Lowland and limestone fynbos with some renosterveld. In July Agulhas became a World Heritage site. Some I recognise, Metalasia muricata, and Erica coccinea?, a buchu. And some I don't a silvery thistle with tiny leaves.

Metalasia muricata with Erica coccinea?
a buchu, Phylica?

Red Lachenalia with spotted leaves. Yellow daisies and berries on bietou Chyrsanthemoides monilifera. An unknown bulb with sculptural leaves. Semi-parasite Hyobanche with pink furry flower spikes.

Red Lachenalia, Chrysanthemoides monilifera
mystery bulb, Hyobanche

Cape Agulhas is where the geographers answer the question - where do the two oceans meet? The east coast is the warm Indian Ocean with reefs and turtles. Ours is the cold west coast where the trawlers fish in the Atlantic Ocean, kelp forests, penguins and whales.

Indian and Atlantic Oceans

East and West coast at Agulhas

It was my 60th birthday and I chose to be in sight and sound of the sea. To spend the day hiking along the seashore and among fynbos. The bunch of flowers was a surprise there!

60th birthday at Agulhas in July

Pictures by Jurg and Diana Studer
of Elephant's Eye on False Bay

(If you mouse over teal blue text, it turns seaweed red
Those are my links.
To read or leave comments, either click the word Comments below,
or click this post's title)

26 comments:

  1. It looks like a lovely spot, and very reminiscent of Reins Nature Reserve near Mossel Bay. Many Happies for your day in July. Like RMan, a crab :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, we used to enjoy Reins. I believe it's closed now?

      Delete
    2. No idea. We were last there about 6 years ago...

      Delete
    3. now gone exclusive, 38 Private homes.

      Delete
  2. I never thought of you location as being "bathed in two great ocean!" That is a very interesting thought and must make for fascinating studies of sea creatures as well. I love the scalloping of the waves..I wonder what creates that? Some reefs nearby under the water perhaps. Do you know that I finally got out my Atlas—sometimes real paper is perfect—and studied where False Bay is! You live in an incredible part of this wide world and I consider it a privilege to see your photos and your travels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My good fortune that a London mother and a New Zealand father decided that Camps Bay, once seen, was where they wanted to live.

      Delete
  3. Happy birthday! What a lovely place to celebrate. You are fortunate to live within driving distance of some wonderful hiking trails. The wildflowers growing in the sand demonstrate the how special the ecology there. Nature will be quick to reclaim the trails made by the off-road vehicles.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy birthday! English roses for your birthday?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. mostly, I was surprised and delighted that my husband managed to hide a bunch of flowers in the Land Rover.

      Delete
  5. Birthday greetings on your unbirthday. It's a delicate balance between protecting nature and allowing access. Lucky for us the plant life usually bounces back if given half a chance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barriers across the road, erosion control, a nursery where appropriate plants are prepared, harvesting seed from adjoining plants ... then wait for nature to recover.

      Delete
  6. I love seeing all the wild flowers

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy happy birthday to you!!! What a beautiful place to go for a B day celebration, and to see two oceans...[I've swam in the Indian Ocean in NZ it was so warm, and different then our Pacific].

    I love the scalloped waves did you ever find out why?

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm also still mystified by the scallops. Will ask at the SANP forums.

      Delete
  8. Wie schön, daß ich Deinen neuen Blog gefunden habe, liebe Diana. Hatte Deinen Blog ein wenig aus den Augen verloren. Ich erinnere mich, Du sprichst Deutsch? Entschuldige sonst bitte, aber ich bin im Augenblick im Englischen nicht mehr so fit.

    Wunderbare Eindrücke sind das! Und ich lese gerade, Du hattest Geburtstag - meinen herzlichen Glückwunsch noch nachträglich und alles Liebe und Gute!

    Liebe Grüße
    Sara

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes I read German, but my keyboard is lazy English.

      Delete
  9. I am going to look up carob trees now! Happy 60th. What a way to celebrate. I am wondering where your London mother lived.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. my carob tree http://eefalsebay.blogspot.com/2014/07/mystery-tree-is-carob.html

      My mother was born in London, but grew up in Perranporth in Cornwall.

      Delete
  10. What a fabulous idea to be able to hike from one ocean to the other! I can just smell all that salt air. And a belated Happy Birthday to you. I didn't appreciate what a youngster you are :-). -Jean

    ReplyDelete
  11. Belated happy birthday! What a wonderful place you chose to celebrate it.
    It must be very strange for the sea creatures living at the very place where the two oceans meet and mingle.
    All the best :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. happy birthday, Diana. I can't think of a more perfect way and place to spend a special birthday. We are both lucky to live near such wild relatively unspoiled places.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hello Diana, I just wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. Why? Because you care about biodiversity and make us discover beautiful landscapes in South Africa. Here is the link: http://thammieetcompagnie.blogspot.fr/2015/08/sisterhood-of-world-blogger-award.html

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am a bit late but a belated Happy Birthday Diana! I love your new picture too. And my the trails and sights were stunning....I still marvel how close you are to the other end of the world. And that is an amazing sunset from your part of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I enjoyed sharing your birthday trip, Diana. A belated wish for 'Many Happy Returns.' P. x

    ReplyDelete