Gerd Spegel is an old guest and friend. I guided him twice on foot safaris in Zimbabwe and we had incredible adventures in the bush in those heady days past (and future!)
Since he was passing through Cape Town we decided to catch-up while we walked up Table Mountain on one of the more obscure routes. As we started-out the weather was perfect; cool with high cloud and gorgeous Watsonias (Watsonia borbonica) brightening our way with Table Mountain in the background.
However as we ascended the mountain the cloud descended and engulfed us and the wind whipped itself up to gale-force. It was a classic reminder from The Mountain that it is not a tame city park but rather a wild place that has been surrounded by tameness. The weather deteriorated rapidly and I was grateful that I know my way around the mountain because visibility dropped to about two metres as the rain poured down and the wind lashed at us. We headed to a cave for some protection from the elements, while we ate a snack.
It was a relief to get out of the storm, but the dogs disagreed and refused to enter the cave. They thought that there were evil spirits in there and preferred to remain outside in the eye of the storm. We humans were happy to be dry and a bit warmer and to watch the storm and spontaneous waterfalls cascading over the mouth of the cave,
We eventually had to face the elements once again and descended with the storm blowing straight into us. My waterproof boots filled with water that descended via my trousers and socks and so I squelched down. Once we reached the bottom the rain had eased off but it was still wet and very misty.
Gerd was most gracious and told me that he had a wonderful walk. And to be honest, the rain lent an extra dimension to the beautiful flowers on the mountain. I love the pincushion proteas and think that they are especially photogenic, but after the rain the challenge of photographing them justifies the rewards. Below is a close-up detail of Leucospermum conocarpodendron with droplets of rain.
And this close-up of an Aristea capitata flower really captures the beauty of the day. These flowers are arranged on a long stem and open sequentially, each flower opening for less than a day before dying. Talk about ephemeral beauty!