All the small things: What’s so important about the Western Leopard Toad?
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When it comes to conservation, toads are (arguably) not the sexiest of subjects. Competing for bandwidth among some of the most beautiful and dramatic species of the world (the snow leopard and mountain gorilla at the ultra-seductive end of the scale), these unassuming amphibians tend to be overlooked. In a captivating conservationist’s debate on how we should tackle the issue … Read More

The majestic Clanwilliam cedar tree: Why we owe it a second chance
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Not so long ago, I had the privilege of sitting in the dappled shade of a magnificent Clanwilliam cedar tree. The 12 o’clock sun was baking, and we were scrambling uphill, rock-hopping, missioning, endlessly, until among the stark, Cederberg sandstone came a brief moment of respite: a cool, flat rock under a mushrooming green canopy. Not many people know that … Read More

The Himalayan Tahrs of Table Mountain
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Have you ever seen a peculiar, goat-like mammal trotting the slopes of Table Mountain? If so, you’ve stumbled upon the infamous Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), a large ungulate (“hoofed animal”) native to Northern India, Southern Tibet, China and Nepal (ref). The story of how these exotic, ‘wild goats’ found themselves on Table Mountain is a colourful one. Way back in … Read More

Why is Table Mountain flat?
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Let’s face it: it’s one of those questions our children will probably ask us, and their children will probably ask them – and it would be rather nice to know what to say. The geology behind Table Mountain is something we don’t often engage with, yet it’s because of this peculiar, flat-topped phenomenon that Cape Town is home to a … Read More

Introducing our rare red orchid and her remarkable pollinator
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Known to most as the Western Province rugby emblem, the red disa (Disa uniflora) is an enigmatic gem of the Cape. It is found alongside remote mountain streams in the Western Cape and on the upper slopes of Table Mountain. Here it survives the dry summer months by gaining moisture from the Mountain’s famous ‘table cloth’. This is a cloud … Read More

A Table Mountain Glossary: Mysteries behind the mountain’s many names
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We spend our lives gallivanting up and down the mountain, crossing off poorts, pathways and landmarks as we go, often with no idea of how these sights came to be named. There are a wealth of fascinating theories out there, a few of which should be taken with a rather generous pinch of salt, and others that play a very … Read More

Table Mountain Ghost Frog
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In this month’s Introductory Series we introduce you to another of Table Mountain’s rare and mysterious species, namely the Table Mountain Ghost Frog, a rare and secretive creature of darkness. Few people will be lucky enough to ever see a Table Mountain Ghost Frog (Heleophryne rosei). This extremely rare frog is restricted to an area less than 8km2 (a total … Read More

The secret garden: 6 special spots in Kirstenbosch
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Kirstenbosch is no secret, that’s for sure. It’s considered one of the great botanical gardens of the world and without a doubt one of the Mother City’s most popular tourist attractions. Despite the status and grandeur it’s built up over the years, if you spend some time exploring its deeper nooks and crannies, you’ll find a secret garden: a warren … Read More

We’ve found Wally’s Cave. But who was Wally?
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That unmistakable picture postcard view of Table Mountain framed by the craggy, silhouetted edges of Wally’s Cave has manifested itself across Cape Town’s blogs and newsfeeds in recent years, most often followed by a barrage of comments such as ‘Is this the mysterious Wally’s Cave?’ and ‘How does one find this place?’ Well, we found it one evening not so … Read More

Why are there five dams on top of Table Mountain?
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The idea of a dam on top of a mountain seems to defy logic, doesn’t it? Well, one only has to explore the upper reaches of Table Mountain to discover that it’s entirely possible. Our Mother City’s magnificent mount has five dams dotted across its tabletop, the first of which was built way back in 1890.   This is how … Read More

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