Monday, 8 February 2010

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve and Goodbye

This weekend we hike in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, which lies near to the town of Stellenbosch. The Jonkershoek mountains, with their high peaks and deep kloofs, form part of the larger Boland mountain range (part of the greater Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve).

The Eerste, Berg, Lourens and Riviersonderend rivers all have their sources high in these mountains. The mountainous topography has a significant effect on the rainfall (can be as high as 3.6m per year!), which is of the highest in South Africa. Snow is not unusual on the higher peaks during the winter months.

The natural vegetation of the Jonkershoek area is mainly mountain fynbos. More than 1 100 plant species are known to occur, of which a number are rare and/or endemic to the area.

Mammals include leopard, honey badger, baboon, klipspringer,mongoose and numerous smaller animals like mice, shrews and rats. Most of these are shy, however, and seldom seen.

Large raptors such as black eagle(which we spotted) , the occasional fish eagle and spotted eagle owl occur, while kingfishers and typical fynbos birds (sugarbird, orangebreasted sunbird and protea seed-eater) are more abundant.

There are a number of beautiful hike in the area, from a gentle amble to the 'big daddy hikes" we did.

You can take a walk through the wild flower garden, which will only take you about 30- 45 minutes or if you really are adventurous and have a reasonable level of fitness, you can do the Swartboskloof hike, which is 18km.

This trail leads via Kurktrekkernek to Witbrug.

Hikers face a steep 4.5km ascent followed by a fairly level top section

with panoramic views

and then a steep 2.6km descent down Kurktrekker to join the Tweede Waterval route.

Yesterday I said goodbye to a very close and special friend, Angie. She has gone home to Waco Texas to resume her life as a nurse and to be near her family. I will miss her so much, her infectious laugh, her giving spirit and her total commitment to her faith, has been an inspiration to me for the last 2 years. It was not a goodbye, because a friendship like this will never end just because of the distance between us.

She is going to hate me forever for publishing this photo, but I can't resist showing just how happy I am when I am with her. Just a note - it was very windy at the top of the mountain - hence the wild hair!

You've been so kind and generous
I don't know how you keep on giving
For your kindness I'm in debt to you
For your selflessness, my admiration
And for everything you've done

I want to thank you
For your generosity
The love and the honesty
That you gave me

I want to thank you
Show my gratitude
My love and my respect for you
I want to thank you

"Kind & Generous" Natalie Merchant


browniegirl said...

A beautiful post Rose with stunning photos and I just love the one of you and your lovely friend. Friendships like that are everlasting. You do look so happy with her.

Have you been to see all the information about the conference yet? Are you planning on joining us? Would be really great.
Have a good weekend xxx

Rose&Thorn said...

Thanks Brownie! As you say, some friendships are forever, not matter the distance between you.

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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