Today a friend and I hiked a good few kilometres in the vegetation that fortunately (at least presently) remains wonderfully untouched in our hometown of Montagu, which is situated approximately two hours from Cape Town.
Aside from being a popular tourist town – found along the famous Route 62 – this sleepy village offers some amazing natural vegetation (including the national Protea flower and varieties of fynbos) and breathtaking mountain views of the majestic Langeberg mountain range, which literally encircles this unique town.
Last year, I did a write-up on Montagu’s iconic Kogmans Kloof Pass (which you can find on my site) so it is quite fitting that little under a year later, I head back to my roots, so to speak, and share some beautiful shots captured in and around my eternally beloved dorpie. (This post will serve as a lovely and unexpected ‘filler’ during the last few days of my Easter break.)
I spent almost my entire childhood near Montagu and, although there are so many places that I know off by heart, today’s hike was again a reminder of how much of Montagu and its natural beauty I have yet to explore. This is something I hope to amend in the coming months (and even years) – but I hope you will enjoy the photos we* captured on this particular hike.
* (My friend played nature photographer on the day – and did a stellar job, especially as he had to additionally handle my photo requests/suggestions – as I was careless enough to believe I had left my smartphone behind… Turns out it was safely stowed away in the cluttered depths of my bag the entire time!)
There was no set trail once we passed the two municipal dams, which provide the town with its drinking water, and we did have to ‘brave the bush’ to get as high as we did in the end.
Sadly, we could not quite reach our intended destination (a lush cliff valley found in the classic ‘Cape fold’ mountains) due both to this and time constraints – but we did manage to cover almost 7km there and back in roughly two-and-a-half to three hours, and were blessed with gorgeous autumn weather (that might have been a little on the hot side, especially without a reviving breeze for much of the excursion), some amazing scenery of surrounding farms, the town itself and above all, the natural, untouched landscape.
Fauna were on the short side, although we saw and heard birds (including the hauntingly beautiful cry of a resident Fish Eagle, known as a ‘Bald Eagle’ in the States), came across a few lizards, a lime-green praying mantis scurrying away and some clear evidence of porcupines and buck, if the discarded quills and neat heaps of droppings were anything to go by.
I am a huge lover of South Africa’s national flower and, although I bemoaned the obvious lack of field flowers and/or flowering shrubs (this made sense given the season), we were fortunate to see Proteas, both new and old and, at one point of our hike, the bushes hemmed us in like a mini-forest.
We also discovered some pretty amazing-looking, sizeable boulders. These are strangely unique to the Klein Karoo’s more hilly areas. We even climbed up and rested on one or two to catch our breath or alternatively, take in the spectacular scenery before making our descent. 🙂
Climbing a koppie (small hill or knoll) was also something we notched on to our belts today. I think that’s probably the first and last time I will scale a koppie, especially as I only had sneakers to hike in! 🙂
Overall, it was a really fun and pleasant hike, which would have been far less strenuous (especially for my friend, who played the true gentleman and forged a path through some dense undergrowth and prickly shrubbery for me) if we had had a somewhat clearer path.
Still, therein lies the beauty of Montagu: the best things in life exist here unblemished, much as they would have done hundreds of years ago.
Long may it continue – for we are merely passing through! 🙂
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