Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Silvermine Amphitheatre walk

I joined Lyn and more of her friends for another hike at Silvermine, starting this time on the west side of Ou Kaapse Weg.

The well known Amphitheatre hike follows the elevated  rim of mountaims which form a horse shoe around the reservoir below.

Solitary and petite, Agapanthus africanus graced the path at irregular intervals, still holding some of the rain we enjoyed overnight.

On the northern side of the rim leucadendrons and pink ericas dominated the vegetation.

I don't know this erica, apparently just opening.

The Constantiaberg brooded in the background all morning - in front of us, behind us, in front of us again.

I think these are all Watsonia tabularis. As usual they occurred regularly throughout the walk.

Below, this seemed to be a secondary inflorescence unfolding fanlike from the main stem.

                                                 Watsonia borbonica.

The rain in the night had filled each of the irregular and frequent bowls in the sandstone - so typical of these mountains - with fresh water.

Another pink erica. One day I will learn the pink ericas.

Crassula coccinea in its ra-ra glory.

Furry-flowered Erica cerinthoides.

    The white highlights are Erica mammosa, and this valley was fluttering with tiny sunbirds.

Coffee and croissant break. My coffee at last resides in a decent thermos. My shoes are known as The Canaries. But they do not sing. Because they are not caged. Uh...nevermind.

Moss pockets, often, and perfect.

Low cloud came and went over a remaining stand of alien pine trees on the ridge. 

A solitary vygie in a moss island on the flat ledge of sandstone.

A late Liparia splendens - mountain dahlia.

                 Leucaspermum growing like trees in the naturally treeless fynbos.

Stunning: Gladiolus liliaceus. It opens towards evening and the colour turns lighter as its scent grows stronger for its nocturnal pollinators. I had never seen one.

This red-tinted leucaspermum with velvet-soft leaves is everywhere.

Lobelia coronopifolia.

                                                 Perhaps Lobelia seritacea. 

And suddenly, rising higher on a ridge, a new view, far over Noordhoek and all the way to the lighthouse beyond Kommetjie.

A late Thereianthus bracteolatus.

 Tritoniopsis unguicularis.

The rocky southern edge of the rim. 

           And over the other shoulder, Fish Hoek and Simonstown, to the south east.

It used to be Peucedanum ferulaceum, but I am told at iSpot that it is now classified as Notobubon ferulaceum.  The little beetles may be in the act of pollination. Avert your eyes.

An Orthnithogalum. Unless it's an Albuca again.

Pelargonium cucullatum growing up through Phylica dioica.

A late Protea cynaroides.

                                            Pretty Chironia baccifera.

And back down on the jeep track near the reservoir we look into the middle part of our horse shoe-shaped hike...

I left my fellow hikers as they were preparing for a dip in the cold waters of the fynbos water-fed reservoir.

It may be the most beautiful city. Because this really is in the middle of the city. 


  1. Love your photos and descriptions! Thanks for showing the beauty and incredible diversity of my newly rediscovered city.

  2. Ah, the Amphitheatre... I have to say the first picture made me think of Hobbits climbing a hill, not sure why...

    The canaries look in good shape, the thermos cup is tempting and, well, Pink Floyd were wrong, the song should have been How I wish I was there. ;-)

  3. Marie, I wish you could walk with us EVERY Tuesday - I love to see our walks so beautifully documented - thank you

  4. So lovely. This walk is *always* rewarding. Where did you manage to find a flask that works properly? I need one!

  5. i could not bear to avert my eyes from any of the photos. well done, once again.

  6. Just gorgeous - especially the agapanthus and the watsonias with the raindrops. Homesick now...

  7. Beautiful pics from an observant eye. Such a treat! That pinky red erica with tubular flowers with anthers sticking out (exerted) is Erica coccinea. Because it has its leaves in tiny whorls or clusters. E.plukenetii has similar shaped flowers, but the longer linear leaves are arranged um, er 'normally' on the stem. Not bunched into clusters like the former. Hope this makes any sense!

  8. I've always known it as erica coccinea, though I am no authority. And perhaps eric hirtiflora are the small pink ones:
    This site seems to confirm it:


  9. Sorry, I should have read the other comments and seen that Marijke had already ID'd them. Oh well...
    Nice blog.


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