Since coming home from South Africa I have found myself constantly missing the beauty of the city. My home town of Saint Clair Shores easily fits the picture of an American suburb with its cookie cutter houses and slow paced lifestyle. It certainly doesn’t compare to walking to work with Table Mountain in the background. Being starved for the natural beauty of Cape Town has me reminiscing of my visit around the Cape Peninsula with Hamish on my last day of work.
Part of our trip around the peninsula took us to Cape Point, preserved as part of the Table Mountain National Park system. What used to be covered with a few family farms could have been developed andmade into a metropolis and tourist destination. Thankfully, South Africa saved this unique portion of the fynbos. Meaning “fine bush” in English, this environment draws its name from the low lying brush that decorate the landscape. As the smallest and most dense floral kingdom of the world, the fynbos of the peninsula alone contains over 1,100 of native plants, some of which can only be found in this region. In fact, some of these plants have such specialized habitats that even within the protected fynbos they remain rare. For example, the flower in this picture (I wish I could remember its name) grows strictly in coastal fynbos with the perfect amount of moisture available.
Aside from the incredible flora of the fynbos, amazing animals also inhabit the area. While they may ruin a nice picnic in the park, the baboons of Cape Point are unique in their diet. Unlike most other baboons, the ones here have adapted their diet to include shellfish. Our trip to Cape Point did include a baboon troupe sighting, but the highlight really was spotting a cape grysbok. Although Hamish had seen this elusive antelope before, this was his closest encounter yet. A small forager, the cape grysbok (shown in the photo) feeds solitary in thick brush making it an exciting find.
Traveling around the Cape Peninsula, and in particular visiting Cape Point, made for the perfect ending to my internship. I had the opportunity to experience the best of the fynbos and learn why conserving this floral kingdom matters. And of course I have wonderful photos to appease my longing for the Cape region now that I have returned to suburbia.