SOUTH AFRICA DIGGING DEEPER IN THE CEDERBERG
TO UNDERSTAND THE ECOLOGY OF A PLACE, YOU MUST FIRST UNDERSTAND THE ROCKS .
Indeed, the wildlife here is quite unlike anywhere else. Beyond Christiaan, there is movement in the bush and I see three heads turn in my direction, startled by my presence. Against the bare branches of the low fynbos, the zebras’ camouflage makes perfect sense – they are near invisible in the dusk light. “Cape mountain zebras”, mutters Christiaan. “They
are the smallest of all zebra species and only found in this region. They are one of the unusual endemic species that we find in the reserve. I think they are the most attractive of the zebra species, personally.” Looking pensive, he stares at the immobile zebras. “There used to be far more wildlife here, but humans drove most of it away or to extinction. The Cederberg was
once home to three now-extinct species – the black-maned Cape lion, the quagga and the bluebuck.” “It is not just the animal species here that are unique,” says Christiaan, interrupting my thoughts. “This area is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom and, as such, is home to more than 700 plant species. The ground is carpeted with countless different varieties,
with each season bringing a fresh cast of regulars. The crazy thing is that some of these plants are only visible for one month of the year. As a guide, it makes our jobs almost impossible.” The following morning, rain has yet again poured down on this arid landscape, announcing the changing of the seasons.
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