Eight of us set off at 07h30 from Hout Bay’s Sandy Bay parking area venturing along Rocket Road to above Oudeskip, down past the old historic block house (built after the wreck of the Maori in 1910) and along the coastal path along which we saw some interesting locally indigenous spotted aloes (the Common Soap aloe, Aloe maculata). Sadly the extensive Rooikrantz invasions since the previous fire have still not been cleared and the effect of biological control agent is limited.
Our first stop was brief, lingering a while just above The BOS wreck from where we scrambled up Duiker Ridge (nailing a few ‘outlier’ rooikrantz, pines and hakea on the lower slopes) for well earned ‘elevenses’ at the top of the Ridge sheltering in the lee of the Southeaster with lovely clear views northwards!
From here we slogged up the final leg to the old Karbonkelberg WW2 radar station (manned originally by women science graduates!) and descended to the view spot below the beacon. Next leg was a descent to the ‘vlakte’ where the seasonal pan was full to the brim (but no one volunteered a swim!); before reaching the little Afromontane forest. Pat Holmes showed us a very special member of the Proteacea family, Serruria collina, called the Lost Serruria as interestingly it has been lost a few times, and Margaret Kahle tells me that it was first collected on Karbonkelberg in 1809 and again in 1830 an then lost until one of the Tokai hack groups rediscovered it there more recently … it has also been found sporadically near Fishhoek!
After climbing Suther Peak and being treated to another Peninsula special in flower (but not as rare), Aloe succutrina, we did the high level traverse with Stefan Braun leading us through the fun cracks and caves before selecting a sunny sheltered spot for lunch! Then homeward bound, down the long Suther Ridge descent back to our cars. Thanks all for yet another lovely day on our glorious mountains (apologies to those who missed out due to poor weather on Thursday), and thanks to Pat and Margaret for the botanical musings and Stefan for the photos!