Fynbos and Fire Eco-Adventure

It has been a season of fire along the Whale Coast. On 20 December a fire swept through Fernkloof Nature Reserve. From a biodiversity point of view the fire was desperately needed. It was a pity that a large section of senescent mountain fynbos was not allowed to burn.


However, it presented WCC with the perfect opportunity for an eco-adventure to discover the relationship between fynbos and fire. We also learnt how fire is managed, what it costs and who pays for it. The short route through an unburnt area provided sightings of amazing examples of restios, the definitive species of fynbos. There were 2 adventures.


A fundraiser for the Hermanus Botanical Society was held on Sunday 24 January. The money raised will be used to repair infrastructure in the reserve that was damaged by the fire and to start a rehabilitation project at the waterfall. The following evening was the normal monthly WCC eco-adventure.


The edutainment started at dusk with a talk by Pat Miller on fynbos adaptation to fire – indeed so perfect is the adaptation that fynbos needs fire to renew and thrive.
Anina Lee introduced the adventurers to the basics of the Restionaceae and a few simple rules for their identification.


A walk along the lower contour allowed Pat to illustrate how some proteas protect their seeds until a fire causes their release into receptive soil, newly fertilised by the ash of the fire.


Taking a closer look at some restios and the need for fire in 20-year old fynbos.


Out of the ashes – new life.


As darkness fell, a magic show of lights by Denfred greeted us at the waterfall.


A bubbly celebration of fynbos, fire and 2 birthdays.


Giorgio Lombardi, ended the evening on a high note by putting the management of fire in perspective – balancing the needs of the environment and humans and the enormous cost of doing so.
We thank everyone who supported this eco-adventure initiative and made it a success.