Hiking the Table Mountain Aqueduct

Our long, but beautiful hike to see the Disa in bloom in the Table Mountain Aqueduct. This is one of our favourite hikes in February when the Red Disas (Disa uniflora) along certain streams are in bloom. The Red Dia is also known as the Pride of Table Mountain! There are about 70-odd Disa species found on the Cape Peninsula (of which I have only seen about 5). It loves damp, semi-shaded riverbanks.

We started at Cecilia Forest and walked the loooong up with lots of steps, before we joined up with the Constantia Neck jeeptrack, then past the overnight hut and onto the Dams on top of Table Mountain where we had a bit of a stop.

We crossed the dam and came across the Orb spider – The spider sits head down with its legs positioned in pairs, forming a cross with the two anterior (front) pairs resting on the the web decoration or stabilimentum (plural: stabilimenta is a conspicuous silk structure included in the webs of some species of orb-web spider.) I could not believe how it rocks that web when he thinks there is prey close by. It wasn’t easy getting a picture of it.

From there we walked past the Table Mountain Museum and had a very quick stop as we have all been there already, before heading up the Aqueduct to find our beautiful Red Dias Flower.

We stopped at our regular spot to rest and admire the Red Disa (Its peak flowering time is mid February, when it can often seen visited by the Mountain Pride butterfly (Aeropetes tulbaghia) – its sole pollinator),

before heading all the way up to the Aqueduct. Last year there were definitely more but it could be the drought we are having in Cape Town that has affected them.

From her we head down Smuts Walk with some beautiful views…

…then down Skeleton Gorge (not sure if I prefer going up or down). Once down we took a slightly wrong turn and ended at the wrong part of Kirstenbosh and had to walk up to the top gate to get out. From here we got a lift in another car back to our starting point around the corner at Cecilia Forest.

A full day of hiking but I am sure we will be back along those paths. We really are spoiled with the beautiful selection of hikes Cape Town and surround has to offer.

Only a few more days and I am taking a group of 13 to the Hottentot’s Mountains… it will be my son’s first 2 day, overnight hike.

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