This blog comes from Cape Town: One of the world’s most beautiful cities at the south-westernmost tip of the African continent.

Planting a Wild Food Garden at Moya We Khaya

Planting a Wild Food Garden at Moya We Khaya

It is well known that growing your own food is one of the greatest moves that we can make towards eating truly green and sustainably. It cuts the food miles and puts people in control of their own diet destiny in a world where often some of the most ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ large scale supermarket brands still contain ingredients sprayed with vast numbers of chemicals and shipped across the globe, generating a huge carbon footprint. Many people have taken the initiative in the face of these challenges and gardens and allotments brim with lovingly tended carrots and cabbage destined for local dinner tables.

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Frenchmen on the Moon: Encounters with Klipvis in the Tanqua Karoo

Frenchmen on the Moon: Encounters with Klipvis in the Tanqua Karoo

Since I begun my studies in Botany I have found myself using all sorts of weird and wonderful objects for the purpose for which they were not intended in the name of scientific research. I have processed seed collections using a toilet brush. A car floor mat is also an excellent and most useful tool for this. In this spirit about 18 months ago I was on the hunt for corner markers for vegetation survey plots that could be hammered successfully into concrete hard Renosterveld clay soils.

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Out of the Ashes: Post fire in Table Mountain National Park

Out of the Ashes: Post fire in Table Mountain National Park

In March 2015 the Peninsula burnt. The biggest veld fire since 2000 raged across Table Mountain National Park. People lost homes and businesses. Bees Marais, one of the country’s top helicopter rescue pilots, tragically lost his life in the line of duty while fighting fire at Cape Point. The blaze and the acrid smoke cloyed the air all over Cape Town, turning the sky scarlet and orange as the sun went down each day.

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Swaziland: Time for Healing

Swaziland: Time for Healing

I dedicate this post to my Mother. After several years of breast cancer she sadly passed away in February. The following month was spent at my family home in England sorting out all to be done. As spring arrived in our rural corner of the Westcountry’s Dorset I begun the long journey southwards to Cape Town once more. While sitting in Doha airport in the dark and early hours of the morning, a plan was hatched. We were going to Swaziland for Easter.

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Kenilworth Racecourse: Refuge for a flora on the edge

Kenilworth Racecourse: Refuge for a flora on the edge

The City of Cape Town is one of South Africa’s largest urban areas. It is also one of the country’s greatest conservation challenges. The Cape Peninsula, at the south-western tip of the African continent, on which Cape Town has been built happens to be one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The Peninsula is home to a total of 2285 plant species, of which 7% are endemic and therefore occur nowhere else on earth.

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Cape Town is situated on the rugged and mountainous Cape Peninsula from the iconic profile of Lions Head, Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak in the north to the Cape of Good Hope in the far south. Table Mountain was voted to be one of the new Seven Wonders of the natural world.

What makes the Cape Peninsula so special?

 The Cape is characterised by a type of vegetation known as fynbos: A Mediterranean climate shrubland that is both fire prone and fire dependent. Fynbos is most well known for its phenomenal plant diversity with a total of over 9,000 species of vascular plants in an area less than the size of Portugal. The Cape Peninsula has a total of 2285 plant species and Table Mountain alone has almost 1,500 species in just 57 square kilometres.

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Taking Action

There are many environmental organisations based in Cape Town and beyond that require the services of volunteers to undertake their work. So if you have a little time to spare please get involved.

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