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Sneeuberg Snow Protea Hunt

Leader: Stephen Gibson 8 February 2018 Sneeuberg Snow Protea Hunt

Our group of six had a very successful and enjoyable meet in the Cederberg to climb the Sneeuberg and hunt for Protea cryophila in flower over the weekend of 3 and 4 February 2018. Most Proteas flower at sensible times of year from Winter through Spring but snow proteas flower, somewhat ironically, in the hottest time of the year. It can be dauntingly hot in the Cederberg in February so we were preparing ourselves for dry stream beds and carrying plenty of water. As it turned out Saturday was mild and we found a good stream with divine pools only a kilometre from Sneeuberg Hut – exactly as marked on the Slingsby map. There was almost no water near the hut so we filled up large containers and carried what we needed for the evening and the next day.

Saturday was a day for trail runners. We met a runner coming down towards Eikeboom, and we saw him again with a partner at 8pm, running past the hut. We also bumped into Ryan Sandes and friends at about midday on Saturday. They had already run up and down the Sneeuberg and were on their way back to Eikeboom.

Saturday night was still and cool and those who slept outside slept well, while those who slept inside had to deal with a persistent Spectacled Dormouse, which was intent on raiding packs. We set out for the peak and the Proteas at 6am on a perfect morning. We walked towards the Maltese Cross and then headed up to the nek to the southeast of the peak. Near the nek we started finding the proteas and noticed that many of the flowerheads had been destroyed. Baboons were suspected, as they like to eat Protea buds, but there was none of their usual evidence lying around. We spent some time finding good looking blooms and photographing them before heading up to bag the peak and then back down to the hut and home.

Stephen Gibson


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