Welcome, guest - Login

Frolicking in the Fynbos

by Sean Privett in May 2013 - Hiker's Circle

The recently launched Fynbos Trail is a unique nature experience in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom. This three-day, two night 26km trail takes walkers along a beautiful section of recently cut trail in the Walker Bay region meandering through hidden pockets of indigenous forest alive with birds, to Tolkeinesque dells of dense lichens, tumbling waterfalls and streams and, you guessed it, through exquisite fynbos.

It’s a true voyage of discovery, led by passionate, expert guides Sean Privett and Billy Robertson who point out the various endemics and rare species and explain the role that the various birds, ants, fire and other participants play in the symphony that is fynbos. More than 800 fynbos species have been identified along the route and, whatever time of year you walk there’s always something in bloom.

As you walk, you learn about the remarkable diversity and fascinating ecology of the proteas, ericas, reeds and wonderful bulbs, gaining an understanding of their preferred habitats and many stories of co-existence and survival.

There are swimming opportunities in the dams and pools on each day and the views of Walker Bay, across to Dyer Island and over the rolling hills are stunning. But it’s not just the natural beauty that makes this trail so special. It’s the people along the way, the beautiful accommodation at Fynbos Retreat and Bodhi Khaya, the meals and hospitality, planting a tree as part of the Stinkhoutsbos Forest restoration project on Flower Valley, local wine tasting and a celebratory lunch at Grootbos on completion of the journey.

The trail starts at the Growing the Future Sustainable Agriculture and Life Skills College on Grootbos Nature Reserve, where one gets firsthand experience of an innovative social development project. Here eight women are taught each year about growing vegetables and fruit, beekeeping and animal husbandry. Hikers get to collect some of their own fresh produce which is enjoyed in the meals along the trail.

Leaving the organically grown veggies behind, the trail meanders through coastal strandveld gradually ascending to Steynsbos, a milkwood forest dominated by ancient milkwoods, some thought to be over 1000 years old. It’s also a refuge for animals and birds.

During the course of the next three days the trail criss-crosses through a mosaic of fynbos and forest, with a remarkable diversity of plants, each with their own story to be told. Day one ends at the secluded Fynbos Retreat overnight stop for a swim in the beautiful dam, freshly made pizzas, Lomond wine tasting and a relaxing evening around the fire under the night sky.

"I think that Fynbos Trail has the potential to become one of the best and most recognised in SA, being the place people come to who are really interested in understanding what the Cape Floral Kingdom is all about." says Frank Dwyer from Slackpacker SA.

Day two starts with a hike down through a beautiful valley, characterised by an amazing diversity of fynbos, and then into the lush, green Witwoetskloof forest.

This is a completely different world to the fynbos above. You walk on boardwalks and over bridges under the canopy of the magnificent ancient trees such as hard pear, Cape beech, rooiels, white stinkwood and assegai trees that line the river to a waterfall where the adventurous can enjoy a natural shower. After a coffee break at the waterfall you will leave the valley via a steep climb out through the limestone hills of the Agulhas Plain. This limestone fynbos is a unique aspect of the region's natural landscape so it’s a real privilege to encounter some of the rare endemic species. The path then winds up the slopes of Grootberg (which the energetic can summit and at 410 m is the highest point of the trail) and down into Flower Valley.

This world-renowned conservation initiative was established by Fauna and Flora International in 1999 and is home to the fynbos sustainable harvesting program, where wild fynbos is sustainably harvested for making bouquets for the local and export market. The afromontane Stinkhoutsbos Forest on the property was badly damaged by the huge fire that swept through the region in 2006, and, as part of the restoration work being undertaken at Flower Valley, each hiker is given the opportunity to plant an indigenous tree in the forest.

The trail then winds up through Flower Valley reaching the exquisite and tranquil setting of Bodhi Khaya Retreat in the afternoon.

After a comfortable night at Bodhi Khaya the trail heads up the Baviaansfontein Valley through more indigenous forest and fynbos-clad hills to the upmarket and superbly located, Grootbos Garden Lodge where you celebrate the end of the trail with a leisurely lunch and a bouquet of freshly picked fynbos.

While the trail can be undertaken as a self-guided option, the fully guided, slackpacking option is recommended in order to fully appreciate the natural wonders of this region. There are two or three night options to choose from. Hikers will encounter beautiful fynbos and flowers at any time of the year.

For more information see walkerbaytrails.co.za or email


Add comment

Share

Submit to Digg
Submit to Stumbleupon
Submit to Delicious
Submit to Technorati

Images

More images »

Subscribe

Earn Money

Refer advertisers and earn 5% of adspend! More »

Full Circle Job Shop

Latest Tweets

# Q4: "How long are the OPENING SPECIALS for UNIT SELF-STORAGE available for?"

.@ looking fresh at CP1 in the chase group about 4min behind the leaders. pic.twitter.com/Cf1xIwAVz0

Retweeted

Fujiyoshida, 18.2k, 7th-9th was Grant, Foote, and Sandes. pic.twitter.com/PgAiHBlN19

Retweeted

Dont forget to watch irunfar.com/2014/04/2014-u… for live coverage of # they are currently interviewing @

Retweeted

# Question 3: "What are the garage doors at Unit Self Storage made of?"

# Q2 -Name 2 architectural touches to ensure that the buildings are visually pleasing in the new storage facility?

# - Who’s footsteps has Tarryn Unite-Penny followed in setting up her new storage facility? pic.twitter.com/9NhKVTiEHc

Reminder about our competition with Unit Self-Storage! See our Facebook page for the comp question and details #

COMPETITION: TIP - see our latest issue for all details on Unit Self-Storage!

COMPETITION!! Unit Self-Storage:: Who’s footsteps has Tarryn Unite-Penny followed in setting up a new storage facility in Southern Suburbs?

Full Circle Print