On Sunday morning, after packing up and tidying up and locking up and filling up at the local petrol station, we drove eastwards in the direction of what we hoped was the Salmonsdam Nature Reserve.
As it turned out, we were on the wrong road. Fortunately, our navigator got us back on track… well, onto a farmer’s private track. We know this, because there was a sign saying ‘Private road’. And because we met the farmer, standing at the side of the road, sternly wagging his finger at us. We stopped next to him to apologise, and to explain our dilemma in more-or-less fluent Afrikaans, and followed his directions across the rest of his farm and onto a dusty gravel road further south. Phew.
Some kilometres further along, we took another, even bumpier, gravel road, leading us upwards into the mountains, until we eventually reached the entrance to the Salmonsdam Nature Reserve.
“Salmonsdam Nature Reserve lies 20 km east of Stanford, at the foot of the Perdeberg mountains. Stanford is a small village 17 km east of Hermanus on the south-western Cape coast. Salmonsdam’s mountainous landscape is renown for its bird life, mountain fynbos and beautiful waterfalls, and attracts bird-watchers, hikers and other nature enthusiasts. According to local tradition the area was named after Captain Robert Salmon of the ill-fated HMS Birkenhead, which sank at Danger Point in 1852 with a loss of 454 lives.” (Cape Nature website)
And there you have the link between Danger Point, the HMS Birkenhead and the Salmonsdam nature reserve! Wouldn’t that make an excellent Trivial Pursuit question? It also explains why we actually couldn’t see a dam with salmon anywhere in the reserve. It wasn’t actually named after a dam with salmon. Ah!
We reported in the reception, showed off our WildCard (yes! awesome! free entry with a WildCard!) and got some advice on walking trails. As it had taken us far longer than anticipated to get to the reserve, we were seriously short on time. Remember those movie tickets for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II? They were for 17h00, which meant we had less than 2 hours for our walk, if we wanted to make it back to Cape Town in time to have a shower and a change of clothes. Which seemed like a good idea, given all this dusty gravel road driving.
But it was definitely worth it. We took along our thermos of tea, some sarmies and the remains of a take-along chocolate cake, and we had a lovely picnic at the foot of a delightful waterfall. Torrents of water came gushing down the mountainside, tumbling into a pool, and tinkling and splashing along a pretty stream, all the way into the valley.
I hope we’ll have another chance to go hiking here – and that we’ll have a bit more time to explore the terrain properly.
Enjoy the pics!
And that was the end of our wonderful weekend in Stanford and surroundings.
Here are the links to all the posts in this series, in case you’ve missed any: