Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cape Point in late May

I am still not used to this weather of clouds unraveling and knitting up again within minutes, and rainshowers so dense the roads disappear, and then skeins of mist parting so that you see the spine of the peninsula again in receding and paling grey. It is wonderful.

At Cape Point today we walked in fine mist and picnicked in the car, looking out at the calmest water we have seen on False Bay. Ibis and ducks and cormorants sat on the smooth beach. A seal rolled in the turquoise water. Baboon handprints were pressed into the sand.

Near Olifantsbos the restios grew thickly. In the black aftermath of a controlled burn on the other side of the road green bracken fronds were already pushing up above the still-smoky and damp soil. Two ostriches pecked their way delicately through here, snapping up the fiddleheads with each step.

In the unblooming landscape a stream of welcome white flowers appeared. Swamp daisies, apparently, Osmitopsis asteriscoides.

It is all very green, and this is just the tip of the emerald iceberg. The rain only started two days ago, after dry, warm weeks. Waterfalls have not yet filled, the soil is still absorbing. But every excursion from the car brought the sweet clicking of the small, invisible frogs, scattered like a minutely planned but apparently artless soundscape from one end of the city to the other

The sun sets just after five. It still feels strange to me, as my Cape Town life is very unbalanced, bringing me into intimate contact only with summer. I know long, light evenings, birdfilled and leisurely.

By six this evening, we were gathered indoors around a fire, in a house wrapped in darkness.


  1. Ostriches? OMG! What a wonderful place, even if night does start a bit early for my taste. Love the picture of the Frenchman!

  2. Mysterious landscape visage, accentuated by mist and dampness--appears slightly sinister..

    Evocative images and narrative.. What a great team you are.

    Estorbo is lucky to have you (and he knows it), but so are others.

  3. "...the tip of the emerald iceberg" may just be the most beautiful sentence written about Cape Town's green season ever.

  4. So atmospheric... Favourite part - 'baboon handprints were pressed into the sand' - my kind of place : )

  5. i love the "flip-side" of your usual impressions of south africa. i get to look inside an entirely different window.

  6. Loved the "skeins of mist" phrase. So beautiful and poetic. Marie-I see a good subject for your next book!

  7. I want to go to there. Such a landscape.

  8. One of my fave places on earth. Love to go to Cape Point in summer, choose an empty beach, smell the kelp, watch the seals in the water, wild tortoises tottering around. And hope that our picnic is not raided by a pack of baboons which has happened on several occasions! And how they love French cookware those baboons as they always seem to run off with whatever has been cooked in a French ramekin or quiche dish and leave the plastic containers behind!


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