Sunday, November 8

Elephant Stone

I went up to Silvermine National Park so I could hike to the Elephant Eye on Constantiaberg. I took many pictures.
Africa: The Mighty Ducks
Silvermine is located "way up" in the mountains on the cape where the European plantations never reached, so the native fynbos has survived there. Fynbos is apparently a biome unique to this small region of the world - found nowhere but along the cape.
Africa: Revenge of the Fallen Africa: The Clone Wars
It isn't too far of a hike (but I don't remember the actual distance since it was in kilometers...) from parking lot across the rocks and slopes of the Silvermine ridge to reach the Elephant's Eye. One has to cross the top of the valley (seen below) just above the tree line. Then, one will reach the lookout.
Africa: The Legendary Journeys
In my travels thus far, the lookout provided the perfect panoramic view of the Southern Suburbs, winged by the Cape Flats and False Bay.
Africa: Warrior Princess?
 Africa: Indahouse
 Africa: A Space Odyssey
 Africa: Diaboromon Strikes Back
From the lookout, the Elephant Eye cave is a relatively short walk, though the slopes are sheer and the path is not so wide. Fortunately, one is protected from falling by barbed wire fences. It is as if everyone in South Africa wants to have normal fences but the fence-makers only know how to make barbed wire.
Africa: The X-Men United
 There's nothing particular special about the above picture, but for some reason the perspective looks unnaturally warped to me.
Anyway, that's the eye. Why an elephant you may ask? Well, if you squint and turn your head a bit, it looks more like an elephant. This angle is key, though. It can be seen from several miles around if you know what to look for, but then it just looks like cliff side hole. Here, you can see the dome of the big head and the center rib of rock running past the right edge of the socket, which strongly resembles the start of a trunk.
Africa: Taking it to the Streets
The inside is really more interesting. Plants surround and fill the small cavern. It doesn't go very far back, unfortunately. Its been a long time since I've gone spelunking in some quality American caverns. I rather miss it.
I'm rather proud of this one, since it manages to feature the fynbos shrub on the side of the cave outline, as well as a slanting transition from sea to beach to town to forest
... and that was the key photo of the trip. Within the cave is a great spot to relax in the comfort of shade and listen to the climax of Fire Upon the Deep.
 Africa: Red, White, and Blonde
 On the way back, I got a glimpse at the mini-highlands of Silvermine, featuring the reservoir, a popular local Braai site.
 Africa:The Undiscovered Country
It looks like I'll be afforded many opportunities to go hiking in this region in the near future. I've unfortunately forgotten my camera when I've gone to Kirstenbosch and Camps Bay, but I know I'll be returning to these spots, so I'll be sure to properly photograph them then.

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