Clouds, Powerlines, and Pretty Dead Trees

Before I start, let me alert you to a guest post I wrote for a blog called “Notes From Africa”: What Your Cat Wants to Know: An American Ex-pat Perspective. It’s a departure from my normal subject matter — please check it out and browse through Lisa’s lovely blog while you’re at it. Thanks again, Lisa!

Easter Monday was the first nice day we’ve had here in weeks. The air was balmy, the sky was azure, and the clouds looked like that gauzy cotton that people stretch across doorways on Halloween. Hiking was necessary.

We considered going to Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, a park in southern Joburg that we visited a few months ago. But while searching online for a Kliprviersberg trail map (which I never found), I stumbled upon a listing for Kloofendal Nature Reserve on the western outskirts of the city. Joe had heard of Kloofendal but never been. We decided to give it a try.

I’m ceaselessly amazed by how many beautiful places there are within the Joburg city limits. Kloofendal is smack in the middle of sprawling suburbia, but we felt a thousand miles away from everything. The heavy power lines (which seem to drape across every Joburg park) were the only reminder that we were steps from civilization.

Here are a few pics.

A 120-year-old gold stamping machine is on display near the entrance to the reserve. Kloofendal was founded on the grounds of an old mining operation and the shafts have been restored and turned into a national monument. You can tour the shafts by appointment and on special open days. 

I love this sign. But the only animals we saw were birds.

The most interesting part of the reserve’s landscape is the dead trees. Blue gums are an invasive species in South Africa and there is a campaign to poison them in the reserve. The tree carcases are eerily beautiful.

Dead tree and powerlines.

I decided to take a break on one of the dead trees. Do you see the line of carcasses behind me, and the bright green bushy things growing beneath them? The bright green bushy things are baby blue gum trees. Oops. I’m not sure this eradication campaign is working properly. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)

Leonotis leonurus, also known as lion’s tail. We walked through several huge stands of these. The plants are taller than I am.

Cool rocks.

It was a good day. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)

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  • Reply Tilly Bud April 26, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    We had a massive blue gum in our Alberton garden. We would annually have to call in a plumber to fix the pipes its roots had broken, but I loved it. A magnificent tree. I was sad to see ten years later that the new owner had destroyed it.

    • Reply 2summers April 27, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Yes, they are very pretty trees. I don’t know if Kloofendal is going to be able to get rid of them anyway — they seem determined to stay.

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough April 27, 2011 at 12:36 am

    The dead trees against the sky are beautiful and the lion’s tails are fascinating to look at. Nicely done, and I enjoyed your post on Lisa’s blog, as well!

    • Reply 2summers April 27, 2011 at 10:21 am

      Thanks Kathy! The lion’s tails were actually in full bloom a month or so ago. I wish we had gone to this reserve then — they must have been stunning.

  • Reply eremophila April 27, 2011 at 1:29 am

    So glad you got some sunshine and had a great walk!
    Yes, weed species are a global problem. Mostly spread by the worst pest of all – humans.

    • Reply 2summers April 27, 2011 at 10:24 am

      Indeed. I never thought much about alien species when in the U.S. I’ve become much more aware of the problem since moving here.

  • Reply lisa@notesfromafrica April 27, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I lived in this area until I was about 5 years old! Can’t remember much about the place, except that it wasn’t that built up yet, and we used to go for walks to a dam/lake close by. I think the area was fairly grim at that stage – still mining going on. It’s nice to see that the area is being rehabilitated.

    Beautiful photographs – I like the upward angles of a lot of the shots.

    • Reply 2summers April 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Yes, I was shooting upward a lot because the sky was so beautiful. Funny that you used to live there. It’s quite developed now — tons of housing divisions and strip malls.

  • Reply Greg April 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Beautiful series of shots. It looks like a great area for a hike. As soon as the sun comes out again here, I am determined to get outside. Unfortuately, it seems to have been raining since we arrived back from SA!

    • Reply 2summers April 27, 2011 at 11:58 am

      That’s how we felt until Monday! Rain, rain and more rain. We’ve had some nice days this week though.

  • Reply amblerangel April 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Great shots! love the first one with the sun that looks like a star- cool.

  • Reply acleansurface April 28, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    I really enjoyed your photographs!

    • Reply 2summers April 28, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      Thanks so much and thanks for reading!

  • Reply ian_gappie May 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    wow. the lion’s tail is fun to look at. 🙂

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