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Cape Town wildlife XI

This is the eleventh post in my monthly series on the fascinating nature I encounter here in South Africa.

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve now been in South Africa for a whole year! Table Mountain, recently voted as one of the 7 new wonders of the world, towers over Cape Town and the entire city is arrayed around its base. When you live somewhere (as opposed to visiting on vacation) you somehow never get around to doing the major tourist attractions, so we’d never been up it. Then we had a visitor, which meant we also got to do lots of sightseeing around the city, including a trip up the mountain. It’s pretty spectacular, and I thought it deserves its own post, so you can enjoy it too…

Table Mountain is named for its 3km long flat top, which means once you get up the mountain, you can walk along the top without having to do any climbing (yay!) There are paths to walk up the mountain, but we opted for the cable car.

table mountain
The cable car is torture if you, like me, hate heights and get motion sickness, as it has big glass windows and rotates as it climbs. It’s worth it though…

table mountain
Hello Cape Town! The mountain you can see here is called Devil’s Peak and I can see the other side of it from my kitchen window 🙂

The Cape Peninsula has its own ecosystem and a massive amount of biodiversity. The plant life is called fynbos and occurs nowhere else on Earth.

table mountain
Beautiful flowers sprout from cracks in the rocks

table mountain
Naturally-occuring bonsai trees

table mountain
Lovely succulents

And there’s lots of wildlife up here too…

table mountain
Speckled Pigeon

table mountain
Red-winged Starling

table mountain
Black Girdled Lizard

table mountain
Southern Rock Agama

table mountain
My favourite, a dassie! (Click through if you didn’t read about them in my October post.)

table mountain
I included this dassie photo so you can see how sure-footed they are climbing and running among the rocks – those feet really are adapted for mountain climbing.

table mountain
Hummingbirds are native to the Americas. The African equivalents are called sunbirds and they are similar in size and colouring to hummingbirds. This is a female (hence the drabness) – I hope I’ll be able to show you some photos of a more colourful male at some point!

table mountain
Although they don’t really hover like hummers, sunbirds do have similarly adapted beaks so they can reach down into the base of flowers for the nectar.

We spent 3 glorious hours walking around on the mountain top, looking at all the different views and unusual plants, watching the wildlife, and taking in the unspoilt atmosphere. We all managed to get very sunburnt despite our sunblock, but it was well worth it – I definitely agree that Table Mountain should be known as a wonder of the world!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s photos – please leave me a comment if you liked them.


  1. Roberta N Abrams said

    just started looking on website today. can’t stop, but i guess i should for dinner soon. i love the crafts, but those photos were really wonderful. i’ve printed out a bunch of patterns, so i’ll be busy for a while. i hope to have money left at the end of the monh to send in. i do appreciate the patterns, i’m on social security and the money’s not too great. thank you again for the photos and patterns.
    roberta n abrams

  2. Kathy Bartholomew said

    After receiving your email about my new email not confirmed, I had to check out the archived months I missed. You take beautiful pictures of your homeland. These pictures should go in a book about traveling to South Africa. It looks so peaceful. Thanks for these pictures and the stories.

  3. Thank you for another great wildlife post! I really look forward to these!

  4. Jana said

    You make me “homesick” for South Africa! Though I never lived there, the visits that I spent there with Rachel and Chris made me love the place! I hope I will be able to return there some day. Africa really IS the foundation of the world!

  5. Meg P said

    I had no idea about hummingbirds vs. sunbirds. Thanks, as always, for the beautiful pics!

  6. Monica said

    Lovely pictures! I really enjoyed getting to learn about this new wonder of the world! It’s great to get a personal re-view of it! 😀 Thanks for sharing!

  7. Bean Bell said

    I really like these posts and had no clue there were Sunbirds. I also giggled when I saw the Dassie tushie *hee*

  8. camelama said

    Love the Sunbird, thanks for the photos!

  9. Simone said

    Lovely wildlife! the dassies look like a relative of the Maras in South America.
    Endemic plants?? *swoon* that is facinating! It reminds me of the Teide mountain on Teneriffa, also with a lot of endemic plants, but less lizards. ;D

  10. Chrisie Merriman said

    So beautiful! Thanks for sharing! I’ll probably never make it out that way for a holiday, so it’s lovely to see pictures at least. 🙂

  11. Marietjie said

    Luv your photo’s.

  12. Merry Thornsburg said

    Thanks June for the wonderful tour up Table Mountain…what gorgeous scenery!

    You really are in a BEAUTIFUL part of our world!

    I think you would be a great tour guide too…thanks again for sharing your adventures with us!

    Where is the LOVE button?
    Merry ?

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