December 17, 2015
Cape Peninsula Fire: Part III – The Phoenix
Posted by Evelyn Mervine
Earlier this year back in March, as I blogged about here and here, a large forest fire raged over much of the Cape Peninsula region of South Africa. Shortly after the fire was extinguished, my husband and I went on a hike in the Silvermine Nature Reserve, one of the areas badly affected by the fire. We found ourselves walking through a surreal, ash-covered landscape filled with charred vegetation, with occasional spared pockets of greenery.
Originally, I had hoped to hike in Silvermine every month or two after the fire, to document the re-growth of the vegetation and other changes to the landscape. However, the reserve was closed shortly after our hike back in March. The reserve was closed to protect the environment, including the recovering vegetation, and also to protect people from hazards, such as partially-burned trees and damaged buildings. However, in October a portion of the reserve was opened up for hiking again. So, in November my husband and I organized a few friends, and we went on a half day hike at Silvermine. Today I want to share some pictures from that hike with you here.
The Silvermine area is slowly but surely recovering from the fire. Animals are returning to the reserve, and the vegetation is also recovering. During our hike back in November, we found the flowers amazing, especially the gorgeous pink watsonias. There are always flowers at Silvermine, particularly during flower season, which has its peak in September and October. However, the flowers this year are the most impressive that I’ve ever observed at Silvermine during my 5 years of living in Cape Town. Because of the fire earlier this year, the flowers are more visible and stand out in vivid contrast against a charred backdrop of burned vegetation. In addition, the vegetation at Silvermine is different this year because opportunistic plants, including some flowers, are taking advantage of the extra space and sunlight.
Without further ado, enjoy some pictures of our stunning November hike at Silvermine:
Last but not least, there’s a new (non-melted) green trash can:
Certainly, Silvermine looks very different now compared to when we hiked there after the fire in March. The landscape will continue to change as the vegetation continues to grow back.