Being aware that we’re in an era of the “Sixth Extinction” let’s pay tribute to this the 25th annual International Day of Biodiversity. The Western Cape region is known as a hotspot for biodiversity particularly for it’s fynbos ecosystem. No better way to describe it’s rich heritage is Cape Nature’s latest biodiversity report in this Vimeo link below.
I’m on the move again and apologies if posts and replying to comments becomes a bit haphazard over the next few weeks.
Leaving Cape Town the scenes from the plane window show a grim picture of the drought stricken and parched land. In complete contrast are the rich agricultural fields of the South Downs, East Sussex in England where we are based for the next few days. Hiking on the Wealdway and South Downs trails brings a new vista of awe at every turn!
Returning home after some weeks away, the first order of the day is catching up on local events and life round the neighbourhood. These scenes at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, are of the area impacted by a ravaging fire in early March and are so devastatingly familiar. This is an area where we often cycle and part of the cycle track goes right through the middle of this desolation and we’re gripped both by a sense of loss and awe. That the fynbos vegetation which forms part of this extraordinary Cape Floral Kingdom, is sustained and flourishes in such nutrient poor soil is remarkable. Stripped of the green foliage, the revealed soil looks much like beach sand (from quartzite). Parts look like wastelands, but in some areas green shoots are already appearing attracting browsers like buck and zebra. The geophytes, such as the red Candelabra lilies (Brunsvigia orientalis) are flowering profusely and against the burned vegetation look quite stunning. With climate change affecting local weather patterns, predictions for Cape Town are that total rainfall will decrease by between 10% – 30% over the next 50 years. Fire frequency and intensity will undoubtedly increase, putting post fire vegetation reseeding under further pressure. We’re hoping this year that the seasonal rainfall over the winter months will break the current drought cycle.
Two different views comparing the barren landscape ravaged by fire with scenes showing the growth and colours of the regenerated vegetation.
Cape of Good Hope from Hoek van Bobbejaan.
The salt pans at Walvis stretch out in riveting colours – 3500 hectares and the pans are productive producing in excess of 700,000 tons of salt per year. It’s a great place to hang out with the birds and surprisingly jackal.The Etendeka Plateau rises to 1500 meters and the view stretches over the Inselbergs. Wild lion and desert elephant roam in this wide area.
Bordering Angola, the Kunene River supports a lush riverine vegetation –